Music Features

The Best of Phoenix New Times' Longform Music Stories in 2020

A crowd outside of the now-closed Zia Records at Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road.
A crowd outside of the now-closed Zia Records at Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road. Zia Records


In this weirdest of all possible years, Phoenix New Times writers cranked out some awesome longform pieces about the Phoenix music scene, including profiles of individuals and bands, histories of clubs, and more.

As 2020 winds to a close, take a few minutes to catch up on some in-depth stories you might have missed.


click to enlarge Doug Clark of Mighty Sphincter plays guitar at Mad Gardens in Phoenix in the early 1980s. A young Michael Cornelius is taking pictures in the background. - JOSEPH CULTICE
Doug Clark of Mighty Sphincter plays guitar at Mad Gardens in Phoenix in the early 1980s. A young Michael Cornelius is taking pictures in the background.
Joseph Cultice


Placebo Records and the Story of Phoenix's Wild Early Punk Scene: An Oral History

It was hard to be a punk in the late '70s in Phoenix — there weren't many places to catch a show. That changed when Tony Beram began presenting concerts at Mad Gardens in Phoenix. Tom Reardon's cover feature chronicles the rise of the Phoenix punk scene as it centered around Placebo Records, the legendary label Beram helped found. Placebo partners and members of early Phoenix punk bands like Mighty Sphincter, Jodie Foster's Army, and Sun City Girls come together in the article to paint a picture of a long-gone era of local music history.


click to enlarge The first Zia Records in Tempe, which opened in 1982 and hosted some of its annual "Screaming Dog" sales. - TEMPE HISTORY MUSEUM
The first Zia Records in Tempe, which opened in 1982 and hosted some of its annual "Screaming Dog" sales.
Tempe History Museum


From A to Zia: An Oral History of Arizona's Iconic Record Store Chain

Zia Records, the beloved local record chain, celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, so it was the perfect time to look back at the history of one of Phoenix's enduring businesses. From its humble beginnings, when founder Brad Singer stocked the first store with records from his own collection, to its present-day status as a Valley mainstay, Zia has had a colorful history, one that is recorded in Benjamin Leatherman's feature.



click to enlarge Eddy Detroit has lived a life few would believe. - JIM LOUVAU
Eddy Detroit has lived a life few would believe.
Jim Louvau


The Many Lives and Wild Times of Phoenix DIY Legend Eddy Detroit

It's hard to describe Eddy Detroit, but Robrt Pela manages in his cover feature on the longtime fixture of the Phoenix music scene. Pela takes us through the artist's beginnings in Michigan to his life today, including gigs in London, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas; his stint as a tarot reader, and the impact he's made on the local community. You have to read it to believe it.



Billie Joe Amstrong of Green Day performs at the Silver Dollar in January 1993. - KELLY CLARK
Billie Joe Amstrong of Green Day performs at the Silver Dollar in January 1993.
Kelly Clark


The Silver Dollar: An Oral History of Downtown Phoenix's Notorious '90s Nightclub

One of the cool things about Phoenix music history is that every era has its highlights. If you were too young to party at Mad Gardens in the early '80s, maybe you got to be a part of the heyday of The Silver Dollar in the early '90s. Benjamin Leatherman's look back at the short life of the downtown club puts the reader right in the center of the action, overflowing bathrooms during a Green Day concert included.
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