Local Wire

Heritage Hump Day - The Hoodwinks, "The King"

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.

Certainly New Times has always had its finger on the pulse of the local music scene as well as priding itself on its investigative journalism. And yet some stories just fell through their tenacious grasp, leaving you to turn to rags like the January 1993 edition of the Alternative News to read all about Tempe band The Hoodwinks and their association with a Beverly Hills 90210 starlet. Bob "Rock" Donovan writes about it in the repetitive, non-AP journalistic style of the day:

I have to say the ARSENIO HALL SHOW interview with BEVERLY HILLS 90210 actress Jennie Garth (Kelly) sure sparked a sudden interest and shifted attention to Tempe's own HOODWINKS! During an interview with Arsenio, Ms. Garth made mention that her boyfriend played in a band called 'THE HOODWINKS." The local media picked up on this and it was even mentioned on local radio in Arizona. Yes it even caused The ALTERNATIVE NEWS Magazine to take notice and discover a very talented Valley act. What is it all about? Who's dating 'Kelly'?

After this was seen on the ARSENIO HALL SHOW, CLARCO, management representatives for Tempe's "THE HOODWINKS," began receiving many letters and a barraghe of phone calls. Even the band's live performancesbegan drawing more...more 90210 fans! Everyone was asking the same question; Who's dating 'Kelly'?

Well the answer to the question is NO ONE in Tempe's THE HOODWINKS is dating 'Kelly.' It seems there is a Los Angeles based band called ThE HOODWINKS that didn't find out whether the name had been taken, which it obviously is. That's right, smart management on behalf of Tempe's THE HOODWINKS has applied for and obtained a Federal Trademark on the name THE HOODWINKS and this name legally belongs to Tempe's own THE HOODWINKS...AND NO ONE ELSE!

Hopefully you made some sort of drinking game out of that excerpt and can blame your public intemperance on an overabundance of exclamation points and "Hoodwinks" in all caps. For your information The Hoodwinks were named Band of the Month that January, in the same issue that named Long Wong's "Club of the Month." 
When the band finally did receive some print love from New Times in March of 1993, it was a terse one paragraph review of their cassette "The Boys in the Hoodwinks" in which then-music editor Robert Baird wrote:

While they look and, at times, even sound like an alternative guitar band, the Hoodwinks really play middle-of-the-road hard rock. Which means that while they do have talent, these guys fall into the pack with a hundred zillion other acts. A band that has promise here degenerates into a big guitar sound burdened by arena-rock cliches and songs that sound too much alike. Biggest waste of a great song title: "Lack of Peanut Butter."

While I gotta agree with Baird on being disappointed with "Lack of Peanut Butter," the opening track "The King" rocks quite authoratatively and is a harbinger of the sound that Jim Andreas and Chris Kennedy would perfect in future bands like Trunk Federation, letdownright, and No Volcano. And for all of you kids in the 24 to 28 age range still swearing by the coolness of cassettes, here's what a 23-year-old tape sounds like after years of wear and tear. It's our Heritage Hump selection of the week. And take note, when the guitar distorts, everything distorts:

Despite every photo of the band indicating a desire to cover their faces a with hair and Jim Andreas wore overalls and no shirt onstage, a sense of style more befitting Black Oak Arkansas, The Hoodwinks were pretty big around town. In a 1995 Trunk Federation story, Andreas classified the band's sound as as "a little more pop, more Mill Avenue-oriented. People figure you have a certain sound if you play at Long Wong's, rightly or not."

"We played a lot of shows here and at least one in California," Jim Andreas recalls today. "We opened for Rocket from the Crypt and Superchunk and played with other bands from Phoenix like the Gin Blossoms, the Refreshments and Dead Hot Workshop ."

"I can't remember for sure but I think we won the recording time playing a 'battle of the bands' thing." The cassette was recorded at Master Craft Studios and features Denise Tanguay of Burning Bush on backing vocals. And the J-card also reminds us that somewhere in the corridors of the Copyright Office "THE HOODWINKS is (still) a registered trademark."

No Volcano return to live performing on September 19 at Last Exit Live.
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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic