The AMEHOF induction ceremony celebrates Arizona musicians this weekend | Phoenix New Times

Here's who's getting inducted into the Arizona music hall of fame this weekend

Arizona's musical royalty will be inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame this weekend.
The Mogollon Band
The Mogollon Band The Mogollon Band
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The Arizona music scene has become a hidden gem among music lovers. It might not be as well known as Nashville or New York City, but it is a harmonious eclectic destination of its own. From performers of rock to jazz to bluegrass, and even mariachi, the Grand Canyon State is full of musical legends.   

Some of those luminaries will be celebrated on Sunday, July 16, at the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

It was back in 2002 when the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame instated its first honorees; prolific American rock singer Alice Cooper, and legendary showman Wayne Newton, who moved to Phoenix in 1952 before becoming one of Las Vegas's most successful residencies.

This year Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame will induct music producer Jack Curtis, folk music pioneer Loy Clingman, rock instrumentalist Michael Bruce and popular regional act The Mogollon Band (pronounced Mug-ee-own).

First, there's Jack Curtis, arguably the father of the Arizona music movement. He maintained a career in music that spanned five decades. Curtis began as a music journalist before forming his own record label called Mascot Records. He also produced state fair concerts, booking acts such as Sonny & Cher, The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. He is also known for producing the first three songs for the band Alice Cooper. December 20 is considered “Jack Curtis Day” in Arizona.

Whereas Curtis focused mainly on pop and rock, Loy Clingman's forte was in Arizona folk music. Loy is posthumously referred to as “The Father of Arizona Folk Music.” While working as a teacher, he also wrote songs about living in the West. After a while, Clingman bought Viv, a local recording studio where he recorded many popular local bands into the 1970s.

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Michael Bruce with Alice Cooper

In 1966, a young Michael Bruce joined a Phoenix band called The Spiders. That band would eventually be renamed Alice Cooper and Bruce would become their rhythm guitarist until he left in 1975. Throughout his time with the band, he also wrote some of Cooper's most renowned songs such as "School's Out." Bruce eventually formed his own band, The Michael Bruce Group, and not only will he be inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame this week, he will also perform. He is currently working on a new album.

"I am very honored and appreciate the fact I am being inducted," Bruce tells Phoenix New Times in an email interview. "I never realized my journey would include two men that I also worked with, Loy Klingman and Jack Curtis, also being inducted tonight, that encouraged and opened doors for me in my early career. This makes me feel like part of Arizona music history. Nobody does it alone' we all get a little help from our friends."

Rounding out the list of esteemed inductees is The Mogollon Band. They have been a fixture of Arizona's music scene since 1979. The group was created by guitarist George Brunson. Sadly, their lead singer Duane Moore passed away in April 2022. Brunson left the band in May 2014, but they remain popular and continue to be so today. Fans will get a treat when he joins The Mogollon Band for the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame event.

"I am not officially back with Mogollon Band at this time, we will see what the future holds," Brunson says. "I am returning to the band for this event. Being honored in this way legitimizes everything we worked so hard for since 1979. We feel blessed that the people of Arizona cared enough to put us into this hall of fame. Duane would be over the moon about this honor! Duane [Moore] put his whole heart into Mogollon. He was the heart and soul of this band."

The Mogollon Band will play a tribute to Moore during the ceremony and local musician Jeff Senour and his band CTS will join the inductees in a collective rendition of "Schools Out."

The names above will be added to the current list of 75 inductees honored by the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame. They will join past inductees, including Linda Ronstadt, Steven Spielberg, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Marty Robbins and Stevie Nicks.

As for Arizona and its music scene remaining low-key and not as well-recognized for its music scene, Brunson isn't buying it. "As far as being a low-key state, that's horse crap," he asserts. "There are so many great musicians coming up through the ranks that Arizona will be a top contender for great music in the future."

Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremony: 4 p.m. Sunday, July 16. The Madison Center for the Arts, 5601 North 16th Street. Ticket prices range from $25 to $35.
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