49 Til Midnight on Current Projects, Why the Phoenix Music Scene Sucks

Categories: Interview
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Phoenix area band 49 Til Midnight is stepping up its game to open up for Sublime tribute band Badfish at the Marquee on February 12. With a sound that's somewhat similar to Pearl Jam with a Scottsdale twist, these guys will undoubtedly catch on quickly.

Up On The Sun caught up with 49 Til Midnight to discuss their upcoming album and future plans.

UOTS: The band's current roster has been together for about 12 months. What have you guys accomplished together so far?

FTM: So far we've gotten together about an hour's worth of original music. We've played all over Arizona... the Phoenix area; northern Arizona, like Prescott. We've played with several national acts for Lucky Man Productions. We've played with She Wants Revenge, Paper Tongues, and Soulfly.

UOTS: One of your guitarists, Braze, is in a wheelchair. Most people have never seen a band perform with one of their members in a wheelchair.

FTM: [He's] in a wheelchair as a result of a motorcycle accident. It's kind of unusual for a band, I guess. It has definitely been a part of us building up a fan base and setting us apart, [but] we don't rely on the fact that he's in a wheelchair to gain anything. [We] definitely don't exploit it. It's more of a hats off to him for blending in and dealing with his state and inspiring us.

UOTS: In February you're lined up to play with Badfish. What artist or band would be your ideal partner in a collaboration, whether it's live or in the studio?

FTM: Something along the lines of Three Days Grace. Something a little bit edgier, almost a bluesy, poppy sound.

UOTS: Phoenix isn't particularly known for a great indie music scene. In fact, a lot of people complain about how crappy the Phoenix music scene is and how the best acts always go to Tucson and avoid Phoenix. Why do you think that is, and what's your opinion of the local music scene?

FTM: I think it's because a lot of people are transplanted to Phoenix from other cities. There are people here from all over. No one really has roots here. When people don't have roots somewhere, it shows up in the art. First Fridays started, [and there have been] some bigger shows around here. But just the art scene in general is kind of lacking as far as culture goes.

UOTS: Are you guys looking to be the best in Phoenix, or are you looking to break out of the local circuit?

FTM: Definitely looking to break out. We're working on writing an album right now. We're going to record our first album so it's out [in] early 2011.

UOTS: You know the Valley pretty well since you guys are locals. From an artist's perspective, what's the best local venue to play and why? Some artists believe bigger venues are better, but some prefer more intimate shows.

FTM: The Marquee Theatre. It's still a pretty small venue, but you can pack a couple thousand people in there. Since [Levi] moved here five years ago, and the other guys have lived here all their lives, at some point we've seen all the bands we look up to [at the Marquee] as they were getting big. It just has that intimate feeling but it's still a venue that's...it's big-time when you play there.

UOTS: 49 Til Midnight has been in the studio a lot lately. Give me the complete rundown...are you guys recording a full album or an EP? What's the title? Describe the overall sound.

FTM: We don't have a title or a direction right now. We're working with a producer. Pretty much what we're doing is we're writing about 150 song ideas. When it comes time to actually record them, we're going to sit down with the producer, and he's going to listen to them.

There might be one song we think has a really good chorus but the producer might have a different idea for the verse that we wrote with it. We might turn that verse into a chorus once we actually get in the studio. We're going to cut and paste parts of songs and put them together like that.

Now we're just trying to write really, really good poppy songs that you can hear on the radio, just bluesy, poppy ideas. We'll put them together as songs as time goes along.

UOTS: So basically the goal for this album is hardcore marketing?

FTM: That's right.

UOTS: Besides the album, what's next for the band?

FTM: Just the February 12 show at the Marquee with Badfish.

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These comments are an excellent example of why the Phoenix music scene sucks. It's the same reason why Phoenix is No: 1 in road rage and red light runners. The little town that grew up too fast.




I agree with Stephen, there are many bands who have worked their asses off to actually do something about the local music scene. Any band that says they aren't making it because the scene sucks, should probably evaluate their priorities and continue being the cover band they say they aren't.

Bands should stop worrying about "marketing," photoshoots, merch, videos, and start producing original music, if the music is good enough, there are plenty of people locally who can help advance their careers.

Look at what psykosteve did with Jimmy Eat World and is doing with Snake! Snake! Snakes!, and what Tim Kirch did with The Maine, and is doing with Austin Gibbs, and what the multitude of other industry people who care about real music can do, but only if the music they back is real. Now I'm not saying the band is to leave everything up to other people, but rather that the music should come first, and not second to "promotions."

Stop bitching about how bad the scene is, and go support the bands that work their asses off.


I can not take any credit for Jimmy Eat World. They were already huge when I got into local music and I have not had much to do with them professionally at all. I wish I could.

And Tim Kirch is a bad ass. I remember when he was driving his brothers band to shows because they were two young to drive. They sucked. Now after years of hard work they are a different band, The Maine, and are touring the world taking the music they wrote in Phoenix to Indonesia and Chili and Brazil. Say what you will about that band but they deserve a lot of respect for the way they have developed as an artist.


The Phoenix Music scene is in trouble because there are more people who like talking about how much it sucks than actually care about it or are willing to do anything positive to change it. There are two many artists who like to complain about being in a band in Phoenix so that they can justify doing nothing to support themselves and don't want to do any leg work that might ever get them out of here.

Talking about how much it sucks does no one any good at all and NEVER will. We need to move on from that entire conversation completely and never bring it back up.

We need to begin to talk about the great things that are here (and from here) because there are some remarkable things from here. When the remarkable moments are happening it is amazing how few of the naysayers are ever in the room yet they dominate the conversation.

Then we should talk about what we can do better not what we can't change. And finally acts need to realize the responsibility of "making it" is in THEIR OWN FUCKING HANDS and that they can do it dispute what all the naysayers say. There are many many acts that have made it from here and it was the result of hard work and not luck.

PS I am not assuming anything about 49 Til Midnight, or their own thoughts. For all I know they just answered a question. I am speaking far more generally.

Michael Lopez
Michael Lopez

Being a local concert promoter and supporting a struggling local music scene is like being that guy everyone knows who has a total bitch for a girlfriend. He knows his girlfriend is awful, especially when all his friends tell him so, but he still chooses to date her. He can't badmouth his girlfriend to his friends, even if they do so, because he cares about her. In the back of his mind, however, he knows his girlfriend can be a bitch.


If only some one would have gone back to DC in the 70's and told Ian MacKaye that he was wasting his time. That DC would never be cool. That a teenager cant compete with the Major Labels. If only some one would have told Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman that their little label would never go anywhere, that their scene sucked, that Nirvana was not worth supporting. Remember all those stories in Seattle about all the "good" shows not coming up there in the 80s?? Where have I heard those stories? If only some one had convinced SXSW that starting a festival in Austin was a fools earn. No one would ever come to texas to see unheard of acts trying to make it. Didn't they know the local weekly the Austin Chronicle had already declared “Austin Music Sucks!” If only Coachella would have called it quite when it lost money for how many years? Coachella, had anyone ever even heard of that town? Why would anyone go their for Music?

If only those people would have listened to the critics like you and gave up before they started. If only they would have listened to that voice in the back of their head saying "Are these pricks right? Am I wasting my time?"

If only all those people would have quite and wrote blogs on why their scene sucked…..



You clearly missed the point of my analogy.

I am not saying we are as hip as any of those place are TODAY and never have. I get what we are not more so than anyone else. But there is no reason we are not where Seattle was in 1990 or Austin was in 1987 or DC in 1975.

And you also clearly don't get what I do at all. I don't come on hear to defend Phoenix because I am a promoter. I am a supporter of music in this town because I believe in the possibility that there is in Phoenix. I believe that if people who care can come together to build something instead of tear it down from the sidelines we can make Phoenix into whatever we want.

I may be wrong. We may be doomed. There may just be more people like you who will always hate than people like me who want to help. If that is true then Phoenix is as shity as you think it is.

Either way I will keep working to do what little bit I can, and you can keep talking shit online.

Michael Lopez
Michael Lopez

Phoenix is neither DC, Seattle, Coachella nor Austin.

Before you write a comment fearlessly defending the Phoenix music scene, at least tell those less informed that you are a local concert promoter. Then, at least, they can read your comments with the appropriate bias.

Shawn Anderson
Shawn Anderson

I would have to say that anybody that aspires to be "Something a little bit edgier, along the lines of Three Days Grace" should not be asked about the how good or bad ANYTHING is, let alone the state of the Phoenix music scene.


Okay, I had to Google Three Days Grace... holy shit, they are terrible. I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Anderson.

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