The 14 Biggest Rock Stars Who Live in Arizona | Phoenix New Times

The 14 Biggest Rock Stars Who Live in Arizona

Here's a rundown of the biggest music icons that call our state home.
Rob Halford calls Arizona home.
Rob Halford calls Arizona home. Jim Louvau
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Arizona boasts many recognizable rock stars as residents, whether they're of the homegrown variety or, just like a majority of our population, wound up moving here for one reason or another.

We've searched high and low for the many rockers who have Phoenix, Tucson, or other Arizona cities as their return address and compiled a list of those we could confirm that actually live here. 

Read on and rock on.

John Friesen

The former drummer/percussionist for Player made local headlines back in 2014 when burglars broke into his north Phoenix home and made off with four gold records that he had earned for the band's 1977 single, "Baby Come Back." John Friesen spent six years on the kit for the soft-rock act during their
glory years of the late '70s, which included opening for Eric Clapton, Heart, and Boz Scaggs, as well as seeing their aforementioned signature hit dethrone the Bee Gees from the top of the Billboard charts in January 1978.

Jason DeVore

When Mesa's Authority Zero are racking up the miles during another nationwide tour, they're usually back here in their stomping grounds of Arizona. And for lead vocalist and guitarist Jason DeVore, that doesn't mean plenty of vegging out in front of Netflix. Instead, he grabs his guitar and heads out to bars for solo gigs in front of his legion of local fans.

Jim Adkins

The man behind the microphone for local emo legends Jimmy Eat World not only has a residence in Phoenix, but a snazzy one at that. According to the website for the Modern Phoenix Home Tour, the vocalist/guitarist and his wife, Amy, live in a stunning, single-story rambler-style ranch house from the 1950s that's filled with Midcentury Modern panache and loads of vintage style and fixtures. To paraphrase the late Kurt Cobain, teenage angst has paid off well.

Cris Kirkwood

The Facebook page for influential psychedelic punkers Meat Puppets lists the band's hometown as both Austin and Phoenix, which is emblematic of the fact that lead singer Curt Kirkwood resides in the Texas state capital while his brother Cris, the band's bassist, still hangs here in Arizona. And on the right day, you might just spot Cris at a few haunts around Tempe and Phoenix, like when he plays out with longtime girlfriend Ruth Wilson and nephew Elmo Kirkwood at different bars, or shows off his bizarrely colorful artwork at galleries or inside Carly's Bistro.


This is admittedly a little bit of a cheat, considering we're highlighting the entire band instead of a single musician, but we'd really be remiss in not including the Kongo brothers, especially considering they've truly became rock stars within the last few years. Back in 2014, the proverbial rocket was strapped to their collective asses after getting signed to Epic Records, and watching their song "Come With Me Now" and Lunatic, the 12-track album from which it originated, scorch Billboard's charts. The song was also used in television shows, movies, commercials, and even by the WWE. KONGOS still list the Valley as their hometown on the band’s Facebook page (specifically stating “Phoenix by way of London and Johannesburg”).

Wiley Arnett

Esteemed axeman Wiley Arnett started shredding six strings as a teenager and hasn’t stopped since. For most of the last three decades, the Scottsdale native has been a member of legendary thrash-metal act Sacred Reich, dating back to when he originally formed the band with Coronado High School classmates Phil Rind, Jason Rainey, and Greg Hall in 1985.

Roger Clyne

We admit to getting a swell of hometown pride back in the mid '90s whenever the theme for King of the Hill started playing on our TVs or the hit single "Banditos" got national airplay, since local Roger Clyne helped pen both of these songs during his stint with now-defunct Arizona band The Refreshments. The singer and guitarist, who lives in Tempe and now tours and performs with The Peacemakers, has always been a big supporter of his hometown, whether it's making shoutouts to his local music scene buddies in songs like "Down Together," or recording the Arizona Diamondbacks' victory theme that plays at Chase Field whenever the team secures a win.

Gin Blossoms

Speaking of refugees from Tempe's jangle-pop heyday during the Clinton years, the Gin Blossoms were, in that era, one of the biggest bands to come out of the Valley. Fueled by the popularity of such catchy, Doug Hopkins-penned songs as "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About You," and "Until I Fall Away" off the quadruple-platinum album New Miserable Experience, the Blossoms were all over the radio and television airwaves around that time, including multiple appearances on Letterman and Leno, and spread "pure pop joy" to the post-grunge masses. The band are still around, performing at least one or two times a year locally when they aren't off on '90s nostalgia tours.

Dave Ellefson

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine stated in an interview  that he doesn’t consider the band’s longtime member Dave Ellefson to be his “right-hand man.” That may or may not be true, depending on your particular fandom for Megadeth, but the fact remains that the bassist and Scottsdale resident has been an integral part of the iconic heavy metal band for decades and withstood their breakups, reunions, and countless world tours.

Nils Lofgren

If you read our 2014 cover story on famed rock journeyman Nils Lofgren, you're no doubt aware of his status as a "musician's musician" and his illustrious career adding seasoning to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, not to mention the fact he owns a sprawling ranch in Scottsdale. Contributor Jason P. Woodbury got a chance to not only visit Lofgren's place but also the awe-inspiring studio inside his converted eight-car garage that sounds like it would make any musician or music fan jealous:

The structure is adorned with a desert scene painted by local street artist Danny Campa ...There are guitars and amps in every corner. The walls are lined with gig posters and photos: a Danny Clinch shot of late saxophonist Clarence "The Big Man" Clemons, Lofgren's longtime close friend and bandmate in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, and a photo of Lofgren hanging out on a boat with Springsteen.
Kind of puts your man cave or practice space to shame.

Max Cavalera

The Brazilian-born metal icon and frontman of Soulfly used to be a major hellion. In both his recent memoir, My Bloody Roots, and a lengthy interview with New Times, Max Cavalera recalled many effed up rock 'n' roll misadventures, including fighting with Lemmy Kilmister, puking on Eddie Vedder, urinating on one fan, or just "hopping around like a Tasmanian devil on stage." An ironic juxtaposition to all these wild times is that fact that Cavalera, as we documented in a 2003 cover story, is a pretty subdued homebody here in Phoenix.

Alice Cooper

Despite spending much of his youth in his hometown of Detroit, the iconic shock rocker has been an Arizona boy for most of his life, starting off with his days at Cortez High School. It was there that Coop performed in a series of ever-changing bands with different friends during his formative years in the rock biz: first with The Earwigs, then The Spiders, and finally Nazz. In the late '60s, he decided to just call the act Alice Cooper, moved to L.A., and went on to worldwide fame and fortune. He eventually returned to the Valley and has become a local fixture, commercial pitchman, and philanthropist.

Rob Halford

Hang out around Paradise Valley long enough and you could possibly run into the Judas Priest singer knocking about or occasionally having a drink at a quiet pub in the vicinity. This metal godfather has been a resident of the upscale town north of Camelback Mountain since the mid-1980s, back when his band was all over the charts with Defenders of the Faith and Turbo. He's enjoyed living here for the last 30 years, and told us as much in 2008 when he described the Valley as "a beautiful place" that he loves coming home to when not out on tour with Judas Priest. "It's unique, it's special, and it means everything to me," Halford says.

Maynard James Keenan

If the overwhelmingly popular Tool frontman ever decided to run for mayor of Jerome, he'd probably win in a landslide, given that he's the most prominent resident in the small northern Arizona town that houses Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars. It'd never happen, since Keenan is pretty swamped with making wine and music, although we admit that "Mayor Maynard" has a nice ring to it.

Editor's note: This article originally ran in 2014 and has been updated.
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