Valley Fever's Dana Armstrong Explains Why Show Flyers Are So Important
When Tony Martinez was talking about Valley Fever, he sounded so enthusiastic that it made me check out the Facebook page. I didn't really know anything about it. The posters were the first thing that struck me because they are in this very nostalgic, retro style.
Yeah, and that's what the night is. I mean, the bands are new, but they play country music that sounds traditional. [And] we all hate new country, so it all kind of works together. I try to cultivate a certain aesthetic for each band, whether they like it or not. You know what I mean? I kind of push them in a direction through their posters.
At least in my mind -- in my little perspective for that night. A lot of it is vintage Arizona, stuff that I remember as a kid and old books and pictures that my dad had.
Do you go to a lot of thrift, vintage, and antique stores?
Yeah, definitely. It's always been a big part of my life, probably since I was in middle school. That's how I got into collecting records and buying old clothes. And back then, of course, it was easier to find that stuff because that was a long time ago. But yeah, I just kind of mostly stay in that era.
Did you grow up in Arizona?
Yeah, my family's been here a long time, so I think that just informs a lot of what I do with Valley Fever and everything else. Sometimes the bands will make the posters, which sometimes is nice, but then I get a little territorial over the aesthetic. It's amazing how much you learn over time, though. Just what's better. And like I said, you just kind of realize that simpler is better.
It sounds like you think of the poster from the perspective of a composition.
Totally. Especially with posters and ads. Kind of like what people can read in two seconds, what pops out at them. We're kind of losing our good country musicians: Tony Martinez is gone. Junction 10 is not playing. Ray Lawrence Jr. is gone.
Where have they all gone?
Junction 10 is just on hiatus. I don't know what they're doing, for sure. I've been pressuring Bobby to get back together, but Ray went to Illinois, and then Tony went to Nashville.
I was actually just talking to someone else about this -- and this is not even just with music, but with art or any subculture in Phoenix. People get amped to try to make things happen in Phoenix, and then they just get frustrated when things aren't picking up and move.
Yeah, I think it's always been like that. I have theories about it. One of them is that because of the summers here, everyone loses momentum and everything is kinda halted, so nothing can build and people wind up leaving. Tony, for example, he was gonna stay and try to make people come here, and make this like a draw for people, because why shouldn't it be, you know?
Like, Marty Robbins is from here; this was Waylon Jennings' favorite place, Buck Owens lived here. You just get to a point where you kinda have to be both; at least now you can do both. You can move away, you can come back, and there's the Internet. It's not like it was before. You can still be from somewhere by working somewhere else. You know what I mean? It's more of a gray area now. But it's true. It's sad.
It's interesting, because people end up in those little hubs of big cities, and in Tony's case, he went for where all the action is country music-wise.
I know -- but then, you know, especially right now, the big deal being like outlaw country vs. Nashville country. It's like this huge deal.
Can you just briefly talk about that difference?
Well, in the '70s, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and all them moved to Austin because of the Nashville system that was in place -- they didn't want to have to adhere to it. So it's kind of like how everything is cycling is happening again now, so everyone's rejecting all this new country crap that's on the radio.
Even country artists who are on the radio are criticizing other people that are on the radio, just cause of their stupid subject matter and stupid music. So to sum it up, I guess we were kind of thinking like, oh, how about everyone move to Phoenix? You know what I mean?
But I don't know, it's hard -- like, I also have theories about why the old country thing isn't as popular here as it is in Austin or even L.A. I think people are afraid. There's like a stigma attached to country, I think, if you don't know much about country. So I think that that's what prevents a lot of people here from getting into it. You know what I mean? Like, my brother, he hates country. He absolutely hates it.