Valley Fever's Dana Armstrong Explains Why Show Flyers Are So Important

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Valley Fever has become a Phoenix country music institution, thanks to DJs Dana Armstrong and Johnny Volume. I heard of the Yucca Tap Room ritual by way of Tony Martinez after interviewing him before his farewell show at Valley Fever, where he talked excitedly about how important those Sunday nights were for him.

But other people have probably noticed Valley Fever's attention-grabbing posters, reminiscent of vintage ads and old movie posters with nods to country music stars like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Emmy Lou Harris. These country singers serve as inspiration for the outlaw scene Dana was interested in exposing to the Valley when she started Valley Fever in 2006.

Up on the Sun chatted with Armstrong about her vintage posters and her nod to "yesterday's records, today's bands, and tonight's good time."

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Dana Armstrong

Up on the Sun: What is the background on this poster for Valley Fever?
Dana Armstrong: This is a flyer for the Marshall Tucker Band. So I just used this image to fit the Valley Fever schedule on it.

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You just took the image and superimposed the font on it?
Yeah, a lot of times with these schedule ones, I'll do that. Some people thought that was Tony Martinez.

It does look like him.
It's Toy Caldwell from Marshall Tucker Band and [from looking at the photograph], I think that people thought, "Oh, that's who hangs out at Valley Fever."

Right -- that's what it looks like.
Which is fine by me. I wish they did!

The Al Foul was one of the first posters that I made. That's one of my very favorite ones.
It's very minimal.
It also has a real stark feeling -- like a Johnny Cash-style song, and that's what Al Foul's music is, really stark. It's just a guitar, his drum, and him, so it fits his music, too. Kind of iconic. See that next one? That was when I first started doing the Hatch print style. I first experimented with Flathead and Chip Hanna.

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It gives off a vintage fairground-style flyer vibe.
It's more in the style of the old print shop in Nashville that did the Elvis and Johnny Cash Hatch flyers.

Is that one of the styles you take inspiration from for your posters?
Yeah, because those are classic. The aesthetic fits Flathead, again, because they have kind of a 60s country trucker rock type of style; the Hatch print just goes with that band. It's still simple; it's the same thing. It's clean and classic.

Moondog is fun to do flyers for, but he's very specific on what he likes.

Did he ask for it to be specifically like this, with the pose and everything?
It's always a collaboration when Moondog and I do flyers together because he's actually really picky.

Did he ask you to choose this picture?
I take all the pictures. I take the majority of them because I have an idea of what I want it to look like, so I have to make them pose that way. I think he wanted to pose that way; he's got his own style.

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