A year ago, we began this Heritage Hump celebration each Wednesday with the hope of bringing you the stories and songs of great Arizona bands, sung and unsung. Now that year has come to a close, and so has our series. We'd like to thank all the bands that participated and all the people who reposted and shared memories with us. While Onus Records will continue to post bygone recordings from time to time, this will be the last blog appearing through the kind auspices of New Times.
Although music editor David Accomazzo said it'd be nice to go out Viking funeral-style, might we instead suggest a Ticker Tape Parade. For here was a band this very publication chose as Best New Band of 2003:
If Tempe's power-pop upstarts Ticker Tape Parade [sic] remind listeners of Jimmy Eat World and the Gin Blossoms — fellow East Valley bands that struck gold before them — there's good reason. TTP's guitarist and chief songwriter Aaron Wendt worked with Jimmy Eat World's leader Jim Adkins before forming his own band, and almost every local guitarist who's strummed a tasty arpeggio since the Gin Blossoms' early '90s breakthrough has probably played together at one point or another.
Maybe the reason the reader's choice that year was Authority Zero was that Ticker Tape Parade was usually on the go and didn't play too many shows locally.
Says singer/guitarist Aaron Wendt today, "The headliners of the tours were the Format for one and a half tours, the Stereo for two tours, and three dates with Taking Back Sunday." They'd also played gigs opening for The Ataris, Sugarcult, Jimmy Eat World, and The Promise Ring.
This Heritage Hump recording, "Poison Arrows," was a track on their only full-length album (released on Adkins' Western Tread label). Wendt believes it to be a direct result of playing the "30-minute rock set" constantly on tours where Ticker Tape Parade were the support act.
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"This was one that we didn't play often because we were so often in tour mode, and tour mode meant 30- to 45-minute opening sets," says Wendt. "And 30- to 45-minute opening sets means play the uptempo jams and get out of there! I think we wanted to stretch out a little as a band and not get into the habit of straight rock songs all the time. I was really proud of the spacey slippery vibe we got on this one."
Although the band showcased for a few labels, no deals were ever signed and the band eventually fell away. Wendt would return again as a member of Source Victoria, another great band, albeit one that doesn't tour.
At least Wendt has his great road stories, right?
"No rotten celebrities stories, I'm afraid," Wendt says. "Rachel Haden [That Dog, Haden Triplets] sang with us once. A song she sang on, on our first EP. There was a night in Missoula, Montana, when we crashed with a local band and their drummer kept our drummer Sean up for a few hours praising his drumming and pounding lines of coke. The other three of us pretended to be asleep. Nothing too wild."