Phoenix vs. Tempe? Is a Fractious Relationship Hurting the Valley Music Scene?

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Former Friends of Young Americans
See also: Echo Cloud Brings Actual Local Rock to Mill Avenue's School of Rock
See also: Behind the Scenes of Former Friends of Young Americans' Practice Pad

A couple of weeks ago, our own Anthony Sandoval penned a music feature about Phoenix-based shoegazers Former Friends of Young Americans. In the piece, the band (mostly, songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Toby Fatzinger) shared some opinions. A lot of them, actually. Fatzinger discussed Crescent Ballroom, stating he "fucking hated" the place, and weighed in on the "Tempe vs Phoenix" debate, coming in hard in support of Phoenix. Fatzinger makes some loose, not-entirely-serious references to Nazi Germany, ASU douchebags, and having sex with bears. Actual bears, mind you, not the slang term for hairy, burly homosexuals. (After speaking with Fatzinger, he cleared up that they were referring to the homosexual slang term for burly dudes; in fact, one member of Former Friends is gay and was joking about his preference regarding men.)

The article generated a mini shit storm.

Some commenters (most didn't use an actual name, of course) attacked the band's statements, some accused the group of blatant homophobia, some were upset by the group's language. Nicole Parasida of Tempe-based promotion company-slash-blog Echo Cloud Productions, whose expressed mission is to "promote the Phoenix area music scene to join the ranks of New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Austin," wasn't offended by any of that stuff -- it was the attacks on Tempe that irked her. She responded with a blog of her own, in which she discussed her thoughts about the "Tempe vs. Phoenix divide." She didn't link back to us, as to not give the article "undeserving hits," but shared Facebook posts from Echo Cloud friends and a fairly comprehensive list of 32 Tempe alternative, rock, indie, and jam bands "that don't suck."

In a lot of ways, the whole controversy (let's use the word loosely) distracts from estas diloculo, the band's excellent new swirling guitar-pop record. It's a really good record, especially the galloping introduction of "Hopefully Deadly," which breaks down into a gorgeous, swooning vocal from keyboardist Jessica Kelley, and Trail of Dead-esque sex-groove of "Botero" (sample lyric: "Spread your legs, say my name.")

It's not the kind of music that "defines Phoenix," but I'm not sure that kind of music exists. The place is a pretty disparate, and best I can tell, it always has been. Pull out an old Placebo Records comp and try and find a thread connecting the bands beyond "weird" and cool.

But let's be fair: Our piece didn't focus much on the record. It was an attempt at a sincere conversation among bandmates and an opportunity for creative people to just kinda rap. I've had discussions with Fatzinger over the years, and he and I don't see eye to eye on plenty of things. For one, I live in Tempe, and any town that has Rock-N-Roll Fingers can't be that bad. Fatzinger's not a fan of Crescent Ballroom (though he openly gives respect to Charlie Levy of Stateside Presents on multiple levels), but I think it's a fantastic place to see shows and grab a drink. As the kind of listener who will go wherever a band I want to see is playing, it's nice to have another place I can do so in comfort.


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121 comments
Anthony Thrailkill
Anthony Thrailkill

The amount of local trolls and negativity here is appalling. I'm actually slightly irked that this was written and posted by Woodbury, as I have always respected his perspective (and will continue to, everyone makes mistakes) but this article aims to be provocative on purpose. Without a doubt, anyone who slammed Tempe, Phoenix, all of Arizona, Individual bands, people, venues, time periods of AZ history, Etc. hasn't got off the couch in 3 to 5 years.
If these people (hypothetically) were able to attend a show every day, for one week, at ONE LOCAL VENUE (Lost Leaf, Yucca Tap, Rogue Bar, Trunk Space, The Crescent, Hollywood Alley, Long Wongs, a bunch of other joints) one would find infinite variety in our music scene. There Is no hate between Tempe/Phoenix. Thats a joke. I've played every venue in town (town being "THE VALLEY") at one time or another, in many bands, In the last five years and its only  getting better. I've met so many new friends just in the last year at shows (Including two people who have posted on this board already with lovely praise and positive comments!) that I believe no one who is actively participating in our music scene now with an open mind could have anything negative to say.

Would you like to participate? Do you like new people and adventures? consider yourself at least mildly social? able to ride the light rail from Phoenx, to Tempe and back? Heres my guide to enjoying the local music scene in 5 simple steps!

1) Attend Shows!

2) Find bands you enjoy!

3) State to new found band after show : "hey, you guys were awesome!, whens your next show?"

4) Go to that show. Chances are they will be playing with different bands on the bill that you may enjoy!

5) Now you have new friends, new tunes, and have the right to form an opinion on it.
     

joe.distort
joe.distort

i dont think theres an actual rivalry besides phx people not wanting to have to drive all the way out to mesa or south tempe for shows and vice versa

Formerdrunk
Formerdrunk

I weep for my country's lost musical taste.

Bob S.
Bob S.

This is hilarious, coming from a dip of a writer that sits on his high-horse, and judges bands based on their popularity.  What a joke.  If this band Former Friends gets big, he's gonna write them off too...haha.

At least Echo Cloud supports everything local.  Keep it up guys.

And Former Friends' guy speaks some truth, it's good to give some open criticism.  But there comes a point where it becomes bashing rather than constructive.   Perhaps make solid points or views with the band so they can take it and move from there, not complain openly with city-media about so-and-so...especially to this guy ^ ....

guest4
guest4

If we could list the 20 most working bands of 2012 and have one big show over a weekend that would be cool. All genres!!! It could be done...and maybe we would not have it anywhere in phx, or tempe.

Thomas from Sun Ghost
Thomas from Sun Ghost

This is a great discussion, but I've never really felt like there is a tangible animosity between bands from different cities in metro Phoenix.  There's always been groups of bands that play certain venues or areas, but I feel like that has a lot to do with non-music related issues...like certain bands just getting along well with certain bands.  The Echo Cloud trip to Austin was a great example of promoting the Valley's music scene as a whole, and we made some great friends with bands that play in Tempe a lot.  We've always split time between Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale...and a lot of that has mostly been based on which venues we get booked at.  Just like any community, there's going to be certain--and probably equal--proportions of different groups (friendly people, a-holes, elitists, etc...) in every part of the Valley.

Either way, it's kind of funny to get upset by one guy talking about which area or scene is better...he could have been saying it tongue-in-cheek, just to say it, or because he wanted to piss people off.  It doesn't matter, it's just an opinion.  Annnnd enough rambling from me...but congrats to Echo Cloud for their hard work, and even bigger props to all the bands that are playing music for the love of it and spending all of their money to do the best they can.

A Muscian
A Muscian

LOVE IS MUSIC AND MUSIC IS LOVE AND PEOPLE WHO LOVE MUSIC ARE THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE ON EARTH.

edumactedreally
edumactedreally

within opinion...we embrace a melting pot of culture, melting pot of music. To embrace music we must listen to prolong live music in all walks of life. Once local music stops we then promote dishonesty to music. i.e. american idol, the voice all tv programs built to grow the music business. However tv shows like this distort our own reality of what music is and its creation. These people are not real but more of some glamourized production. There is no soul in mainstream music to that regard....please please all of you enjoy local music and open your hearts to the world and not one city. Without we wll strip our cheathing tongues into nothing.

Connor
Connor

Jason, you are such a light in this music scene! Thanks for shedding light on ALL kinds of music, and being a wholehearted supporter rather than a shit-stirrer like your predecessor.

Biker Bar Music
Biker Bar Music

There are 2 members of the Allman Brothers Band who live here in Phoenix and former Drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd  Artimus Pyle lives here in Phoenix to. they do play here in town at a few of the local biker bars you just never hear about it because  the word never gets out about the old rockers who live here and show up at bars to play on a whim. new times does not know or cover bars and musicians like that. new times covers the young bands not the old guys. new times is out of touch with well known local musicians like this because they tend to play mostly at the biker bars.

Azmusicscene
Azmusicscene

The last time Phx AZ had a real music scene was in the late 1960s with Alice Cooper and in the early 1970s with the Tubes.  Tucson's music scene was in the early to mid 1970s with western swing hippie bands like the Dusty Chaps Band and Chuck Wagon and the Wheels Band. those good old days of rowdy drunken good times are gone and its been downhill ever since then.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

I love "drip." It's such a classic sounding insult. Thanks for the comment, Bob. UOTS doesn't focus exclusively on local music, but we do our best to keep an ear to the ground and spotlight local sounds. If there's someone you think we should be listening to, please email us at music@newtimes.com and tell us why.

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

Apache Lake music festival was awesome last year! It was only just over an hour away. I am not completely sure if they are having it there this year or if it will be in Jerome. 

DIXIE MUSIC
DIXIE MUSIC

 I know thats true for me personally but I must ask why do so many on this blog sound so unhappy and mean spirited if this is true? if they are true music lovers? could they be posers?

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

You are right. That is a really good way of expressing it.

Slowrollingoutlaw
Slowrollingoutlaw

 I saw the Greg Allman band play at the steel horse saloon a few months back and Artimus Pyles band played there a few years ago and both were real good southern rock blues bands and the place was jammed wall to wall with people and outside in the parking lot. it was a good old time like back in the day. biker bars have the best bar music around.

ARTIMUS PYLE
ARTIMUS PYLE

 Whoever you are thanks for the plug. I still do have a southern rock band and we play all over Arizona and the whole country 8 months a year. if you want to hire us to play for you get in touch with me at www.artimuspyle.com  Thanks Artimus Pyle.

Nicole Parasida
Nicole Parasida

AZmusicscene - maybe you should change your name to has been AZ music scene. No disrespect for the past but there is a great new music scene going on in the valley - enjoy it!

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

Maybe for you, but I will continue with my drunken good times at shows all week long. :)

Seen
Seen

 Sounds like a good show for a man to pick up on some chicks. ya think?

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

They are more interested in putting themselves up above others when they interact. It's not about music for them. It is about ego.

Butch
Butch

 Most are probably bar drunks and not true music lovers or musicians is my guess. they dont get it.

A BIKER
A BIKER

 And no beatings,stabbings or killings like at rap shows. Bikers have RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER. something non bikers do not have this is why it works.

Greg
Greg

 life goes by faster than a summer vacation.

Boringmusic
Boringmusic

 How can some one enjoy it when it is such shitty boring music ?

Azmusicscene
Azmusicscene

 You will be a has been one day to no one stays young forever Darlin. I play is a well known  souther rock boogie blues band to this day. the band has been together 41 years and we still sell out while on tour all over this great country 3 to 4 months a year in summer so we are not has beens at all. its mostly 21 to 40 years old that come to see us old guys play. people about your age. if you want to see good music stop by the compound grill in north Scottsdale. either way the local music scene was alot better 35+ years ago than it is today. to bad you weren't there to see it live it and hear it back then. you missed the truly good times in music by about  30+ years. the 1950s 1960s, 70s and 80s were the best time on earth for the music scene on this planet. it will never be that way again.

Formerdrunk
Formerdrunk

 You might need AA for your alcohol  addiction.

Azmusicscene
Azmusicscene

 Im 67 years old so I been there done that and you can have it. I quit all that drunken drug stuff when I was 62 years old. see if you can last as long as I did and live to talk and write about it like me. lol  there is very few of us left my friend from the days that used to be.

Greg
Greg

 Most men on new times blogs are gay atheist so its out of the question for them

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

I agree with that statement but the compound grill says on it's own website that it is closed. It really is closed, just trying to clear that up for everyone.

Old Pard
Old Pard

 Those Bastards! oh well........... I weep for my country's lost musical taste.

Woodstock 69 Suvivor
Woodstock 69 Suvivor

 Never Trust the Media. A saying from the 1960s Hippie Woodstock Generation.

Happytrails
Happytrails

 Your just an all around swell and very groovy guy.

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

It closed on April 22 according to the website. 

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

OK, so greg, I went to the website and it says they closed..... : /

Let's not resort to personal attacks, I think we can just relax alright. I'm sure your word is good, you just didn't know yet.

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

Yeah I like that music. I always have but I don't have to choose between old and new. i can like all the bands that sound good. There is not issue with old vs new

Time tested music
Time tested music

 Most of the music you hear on classic rock radio today was written and played by musicians born back in those days. and its still being played and sold 40 years later and those bands from back then are still the top grossing bands on tour  that sell out nightly so it must be good music. young people today seem to love the old rock and roll more than the new crap they hear. its time tested for the long haul of life and smart young intelligent people get it.

COMPOUND GRILL
COMPOUND GRILL

 Never trust Eric Palmer. the Compound Grill is open. we just had the McDowell mountain music fest 2 weeks ago for those who love bluegrass music outdoors. The COMPOUND GRILL IS OPEN AND ALWAYS WAS.

Margie
Margie

  Hey are you this guy?   www.allmanbrothersband.com  I seen you in North Phoenix on your motorcycle a few times and I  talked to you a few years ago at the Walgreen's on Union Hills and 19th Ave.

Margie
Margie

 talentless geeks at that.

Greg
Greg

Try this www.thecompoundgrill.com its alive and well and open. my word is 100% good Eric Palmers is not. you can always trust me to get the real truth to you.

Hippiegypsynomad
Hippiegypsynomad

 it sure beats being born in 1978 or 1980 or onward. you will end up on American idol with all the rest of the geeks.

FUCK OFF
FUCK OFF

 No its not I was there Saturday.

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

 But believe me, I've wished I was born in 1945 since as long as I can remember.

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

 The good ole days.. . We can't travel back in time unfortunately dude. There is only now.  Do you think Paul McCarty sits around whining about the good ole days? No hes rocking stages around the world.

Eric Palmer
Eric Palmer

Its' more about the music than the drinking....Most of the time :)  but the good times have to continue and it doesn't make much sense to say local music is dead just because you stopped going to shows :/ There is hope for the future. Live music will always be a part of all communities. Humans like music.

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