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Most Influential Arizona Punk Rock Records: #2 -- Junior Achievement's Fade to Black

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Wentzel and the band went into Audio Visual Recorders on Seventh Street in Phoenix on a Saturday in December 1983 and recorded everything they could in about seven hours.

"Recording day for Fade to Black was just awesome. We went over all of the songs in order before tearing down the equipment, and they were all perfect," Chazan says.

What really stands out, when you consider how quickly this all came about, from the inception of the band to recording one the all-time best punk rock records to come out of Arizona, is the level of musicianship and songwriting Fade to Black more than capably illustrates. Whether you start with Marinick's deft, yet powerful guitar work or Chazan's ridiculously tight drumming, it is impossible not to bang your head along with this record. Add in Joseph's clever-beyond-his-years bass lines and the aforementioned vocals of Yousko, it is easy to understand why Junior Achievement not only cranked out a great record, but remains one of the most sought-after local albums from the era.

Two of the standout tracks, "Acid Attack" and "Dr. Cuthroat's Revenge," did a yeoman's job of helping to shape the Phoenix punk sound of the late '80s and early to mid-'90s. Yousko's infectious lyrics made it easy to sing along and his delivery gave every singer who heard him hope that they could someday learn to control their voice even half as well. When the singer kicks in at the beginning of title track, "Fade to Black" with the line, "Trapped by the light that dominates the day, unable to create rituals the usual way" it is pure punk angst at its finest.

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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon