Every Wednesday is Heritage Hump Day! That's because every Wednesday from now to the end of the year or before someone really big stops us, Heritage Hump Records (a temporary subsidiary of Onus Records) and New Times will be bringing you a limited edition collector's item of a much beloved Phoenix band that walked the scorched earth of Arizona before the year 2000 A.D. We will honor that band with a commemorative digital single that you, the digital public, will have only seven days to download to your computers and smart phones before this single gets marked up to an exorbitant price as determined by the mp3 collector community. When that happens, a new Heritage Hump subject will be chosen and the free-for-a-limited-time-only cycle begins anew.
There are two things fans cannot resist, original lineup reunions and shows where you play a classic album all the way through. The reunion of a cherished original band is somewhat of a backhanded compliment — a fan's way of saying we never liked your new wife, you were at your best when your old wife was nagging you on. It is this uneasy dynamic that insured every member of Wings not named McCartney would never know what it's like to enjoy marital bliss (or job security) with a hot ex-wife like the Beatles always lurking in the shadows.
This Friday, September 25, at The Rockbar in Scottsdale, Cousins of the Wize, will reunite and for one time only play a classic album (A Brief Moment In Time's Pocket) in its entirety, according to MC Pie, the constant member in every lineup since 1998.
"This is the first time the original members of Cousins Of The Wize have reunited since 2001," he says. Once CPT(one of the original singers) passed away in a car accident in 2001, we shut the band down for a few years. People moved away, started families and careers, etc. This reuniting is such a blessing to all of us original COTW members."
The band's last show was at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival in 2013.
When former New Times music editor Niki D'Andrea did a profile on the band in 2007 ("Call It a Comeback: Cousins of the Wize"), they were several years into their return to active duty:
Cousins Of The Wize may be the closest thing to a hip-hop “supergroup” in Phoenix. Some members of the 8-piece collective have played with local luminaries Trik Turner and Phunk Junkeez, COTW MC Pie has released some much lauded solo work as Magnum P.I.e, and the group’s played with a host of hot acts that includes Incubus, Cypress Hill, Run-D.M.C., House of Pain, De La Soul, Fishbone, and Pharcyde.
And just like a supergroup, the members of Cousins Of The Wize have endured many trials and tribulations over the course of the band’s ten-year existence. After self-releasing a debut album, A Brief Moment in Time’s Pocket, in 1998, they began building a fan base by playing out all over town and establishing a reputation as an energetic, unpredictable live act that deftly blended reggae beats with jazzy horns and hip-hop lyrical flows, all wrapped up in an alt. rock sensibility.
Then COTW vocalist CPT (Cool Poetry Talk, a.k.a. Chris Pangrazi) died in a car accident in 2003. The band went on hiatus, and in the interim, sax player Jeremy Decoster moved to Las Vegas, drummer Mark Kulvinskas left the group amicably to hit skins for Valley buzz band Dear and the Headlights, and the last recorded tracks featuring CPT were put on the shelf.
After the two year hiatus following CPT's death, the group released three more albums: The Art Of Living in 2005, Tracks That Slipped Thru The Cracks in 2010, and a self-titled album in 2013, but it is from their very first album A Brief Moment In Time's Pocket in 1998 where we plucked this week's Heritage Hump single, "Fell Good Vibe."
Says Pie, " feel that first album has held up over time due to the fact it is such an experimental melting pot of sounds, ideas, and musical genres. Every member of COTW comes from a different musical background. Rock, jazz, R&B, and hip-hop.
'Feel Good Vibe' is the song that best represents the overall vibe of the first album. Cousins will make you dance and think all at once, and this song has been a staple in our set throughout our 17 years as a band."
Cousins of the Wize will play their original album Brief Moment In Time's Pocket at Rockbar Inc. in Scottsdale, with special guests Zoom, Mr Pink and Mighty Unlisted on Saturday, September 25, 2015.