Music News

Chronicles of Sheriff Joe: Local Bands Poke Fun at Arpaio

Don't panic, but members of local bands Andrew Jackson Jihad, Porches, and Treasure Mammal might be headed to jail this week.

Nope, they're not behind on child support payments, driving drunk, asking for public records, or committing other grievous violations of the law. They are, however mocking ol' Sheriff Joe Arpaio in song form. All three local bands (as well as joke-punk group Fathers Day) are contributors to The Chronicles of Sheriff Joe seven-inch compilation, which is being released this week and musically maligns the shurf's racially motivated and thuggish tactics in both serious and comic fashion.

If we've learned anything during Arpaio's 18-year reign of terror, it's that Joe has a penchant for punishing those who speak out against him. Therefore, here's a look at each artist's transgression and what kind of punishment possibly is in store for them.

Suspects: Sean Bonnette, Ben Gallaty, et al.

A.K.A.: Andrew Jackson Jihad

The song: "Sheriff Joe Is a Punk"

The crimes: These musical misfits patently violate U.S. copyright law through their comical filking of the music and lyrics of the Dead Kennedy's "California Über Alles" and The Misfits' "Last Caress." Furthermore, this thunderous three-chorder not only accuses the lawman of being a "racist fucker" who is ignorant of the Bill of Rights, but also intimates that they will murder the county's top lawman ("I got something to say / I killed Arpaio today").

Recommended punishment: Since Bonnette and Gallaty are pretty much joined at the hip already, why not shackle 'em together on one of the sheriff's many chain gangs and dispatch them to pick up the trash left along Roosevelt Row after a typical First Friday?

Suspect: Abelardo Gil III

A.K.A.: Treasure Mammal

The song: "Arpayaso"

The crimes: Besides being a catchy assault on the ears through its use of pounding electronic beats and samples of "God Bless America," Treasure Mammal's contribution both taunts and lambastes the sheriff with lyrics almost completely en español. (For instance, the title of the song is the oft-used portmanteau of Arpaio and payaso, which means "clown" in Spanish.)

Recommended punishment: Gil should be required to trade his standard performance outfit of form-fitting spandex for a standard-issue MCSO jumpsuit during a three-week visit to Tent City. Afterwards, the Venezuelan-born auditory offender should have his status as a naturalized citizen revoked, followed by a one-way ticket back to his country of origin, tout de suite.

Suspects: Ben Horowitz, Tristan Jemsek, et al.

A.K.A.: Porches

The Song: "Racist Burritos"

The crimes: This low-key folk-pop number dares to defame the good sheriff as a hate-filled bigot, peddler of lies, and ally of nutty nativists.

Recommended punishment: Forced to shave their indie-rock facial hair, the members of Porches will then be required to serve as Joe's publicists, informing the press of his many deeds and accomplishments.

Suspects: Drunk Dad, Business Dad, Golf Dad, et al.

A.K.A.: Fathers Day

The song: "America's Toughest Sheriff"

The crimes: The only "positive" song on the record, this Pennywise-meets-Andrew W.K. ditty extols the virtues of Arpaio, albeit in a sarcastic and over-the-top fashion. For example, lead singer Douglas Patton (the alter ego of performance artist Ryan Avery) hyperbolically refers to the sheriff as "the bravest, the strongest, and smartest man the world has ever known." Knowing Arpaio and his huge ego, he'd probably adopt the song as his theme.

Recommended punishment: Nothing. In fact, all six of the band members will probably be rewarded with primo positions as MCSO deputies in Arpaio's posse and asked to perform the song at his press conferences and immigrant sweeps.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.