The 15 Biggest Music Stories in Phoenix of 2015

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5) 25 Legendary Tempe Venues: Then and Now

"Despite rumors to the contrary, the date of April 3, 2004, wasn't the day that the music died in Tempe. It was, however, when the plug was pulled on fabled Mill Avenue rock club Long Wong's, a tragic event that may have signaled the end of an era but wasn't a death knell for the city's live music scene. Nor were any of the closures that shuttered several prominent Tempe venues a decade later in 2014.

The pulse of live music in the East Valley city has ebbed and flowed considerably over the past 30 years, from the immense popularity of the Mill sound around the time that the Gin Blossoms cracked Billboard's Hot 100 charts with “Hey Jealousy” to the fallow period following the shuttering of Wong's and other spots."
4) The 10 Best Skate Punk Records of All Time

"Phoenix has a long history with both skateboarding and the music most closely associated with it. Skate punk (or skate rock, which many see as interchangeable terms), is any music created by skateboarders and/or a provider of the sufficient inspiration to risk life and limb on four wheels and a deck of wood.

Local heroes Jodie Foster's Army (JFA) debuted in 1981 and are considered by some to have started the whole thing. However, JFA actually does have peers that predate the Phoenix quartet in terms of first gigs and recordings so we won't coronate them as the original skate punks just yet. For many of the progenitors of the genre, the sound is equal parts of the following bands: The Sonics, The Ventures, The Who (specifically the early '70s Isle of Wight-era Who), Black Sabbath, Ramones, and Devo."
3) John Oliver Mocks Fox 10's Cory McCloskey Over His Confusion Over Transgender Women

"On the latest episode of his HBO satirical news program, Last Week Tonight, the British comic (and Daily Show alum) took aim at Fox 10's Cory McCloskey over comments that the Valley weatherman made a couple of weeks ago in connection with the recent controversy involving local transgender woman Briana Sandy being refused service and kicked out of Tempe Tavern because of her gender identity."

2) David Lee Roth Sounded Awful at the Van Halen Concert Last Night 

"There was no amount of banter, bad jokes, costume changes, or iconic rock songs that could save anyone with the last name Van Halen from lead singer David Lee Roth last night at Ak-Chin Pavilion. From the opening notes of 'Light Up the Sky' the flamboyant frontman never stood a chance vocally, and it really made you wonder why the Van Halen brothers would tarnish the band's legacy by allowing Roth to embarrass them night after night. Guitar hero Eddie Van Halen could do nothing more than smile all night. Roth was unable to do his signature screams and squeals or keep rhythm during 'Running With The Devil,' and it was only two songs into the show fans knew it was going to be a long night. The lack of production and energy from the band didn't help either during the 23-song set as the show dragged on. Roth's attempts at humor in between songs disrupted the tempo of the show on many occasions. At one point he referenced his favorite rock star moves performed by Bon Jovi and Bono from U2 and told the crowd, 'I've never met a Van Halen crowd that wasn't three steps ahead of my punch lines.'"

1) Maynard James Keenan Has Two Things on His Mind: Puscifer and Wine. Tool Fans Will Just Have to Wait

"You'd think Keenan hates Tool. In fact, his reputation as a recluse comes largely from his stubborn refusal to answer questions about Tool, including the undying question: "When's the next Tool album coming out?" New Times pointed out to him that he seems freer to express his less serious side in Puscifer, as critics and fans tend to view his other projects more seriously.

'It's weird. It shouldn't be,' Keenan says. 'I mean, this one's named dick, this one's named vagina. That's the start there, okay?'

He acknowledges that there was indeed humor in the Tool albums. But as with any time he's asked about Tool, his answers quickly become curt. A hint of exasperation creeps into his voice and he exhales heavily through his nose.

'Yeah, it's there,' he says. 'But people miss it because they're so focused on the other bullshit.'

He shakes his head.

'It's lost. Insufferable people . . . It's just ridiculous, retards. I'm sorry. Can't help them. Way too serious. Too much. Lighten up.'"
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David Accomazzo is a music wrangler, award-winning reporter, critic, and editor with more than a decade in the business.
Contact: David Accomazzo