Dick Wagner, Esteemed Guitarist Who Played with Alice Cooper and Others, Dies in Scottsdale

Categories: Local Wire, R.I.P.

Dick Wagner

Dick Wagner, a guitarist who during his career worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Aerosmith, KISS and the Frost, died at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center this morning. He was 71.

Wagner, a Detroit-bred guitarist, moved to Arizona roughly a decade ago. He had struggled with his health since 2006, when a stroke left him partially paralyzed and threatened to end his playing days. But he recovered and resumed performing in 2011 and was doing so through 2013.

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Scottsdale's Nils Lofgren Became Famous as a Member of the E Street Band; Now He Gets the Spotlight with New Box Set

Andrew Pielage
A new box set offers a retrospective of Nils Lofgren's work. Slideshow here.

Nils Lofgren's ranch in Scottsdale almost feels hidden.

It's not far from the city, from the clubs of Old Town and the shops at Scottsdale Fashion Square, but his large plot shares none of the bustle. It's secluded and quiet, with mesquite trees rustling in a soft breeze.

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Phoenix Band Senteons Offers an Immersive Artistic Experience

Categories: Local Wire

Courtesy of Senteons

You think you're at a show, but as you walk in, you're greeted by a "doctor," who takes your cover charge. You're whisked away from your friends and led into another room, guarded by two "nurses," who begin to ask you a series of rapid-fire questions: "Do you go through chronic mood swings? Do you feel upset where you're at in life? Do you feel unfulfilled?"

Next, these nurses give you a "diagnosis." Schizophrenia. Depression. Mania.
Narcissism. In the last room, where the stages are, you can hear a female voice giving guided meditation over the PA system. "I want you to breathe deep in time with the universe . . . you are a liquid." But then the voice maybe says, "I want you to breathe in and . . . don't let them take you, don't let them take your baby."

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The Holy Coast Wants You to Find Inner Peace

Categories: Local Wire

Courtesy of Holy Coast
The Holy Coast

Phoenix's the Holy Coast didn't exactly intend for the band to have the initials THC, but the coincidence couldn't be more fitting, says Keith Walker, the synth-drizzled trio's maestro of beats and programming. Plus, when singer Brett Davis suggested the name after their first jam session, he slowly reached into his jacket pocket, produced a funny-looking cigarette, and said, "This will explain it all."

Let the Holy Coast stand as further proof that pot doesn't make you lazy or stupid.

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Step Right Up and Watch Captain Squeegee's Psychedelic Circus of a Music Video

Categories: Local Wire

A still from Captain Squeegee's latest music video

For Captain Squeegee's last video off of their 2013 L.P To The Bardos, "Inevitable," the atomic jazz fusion seven-piece tapped the amazing claymation skills of animator Johnny McHone. The resulting video was easily the most creative in town for the year 2013. As a follow up, Captain Squeegee may have done it again with their second video from the album "The Factory" directed by Matty Steinkamp.

"We wanted to make something that was as rightfully zany and dark as the song. I think a lot of people think of Captain Squeegee as maybe a little silly and funny but if you really pay attention there is all these political and conspiratorial themes in the music. So this video was our first attempt to make a point but still keep it as psychedelic as possible," says Captain Squeegee front man Danny Torgersen. "I want people to watch it and wonder what it was about. I want people to feel like they were forcibly given a hallucinogen and now they have to think about the experience that they had... It's like if [CIA mind control project MKUltra] was a music video and funny."

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Nile Theater Celebrates Its 90th Anniversary with Throwback Swing Dance Party

Categories: Local Wire

Melissa Fossum
Against Me! played the Nile Theater earlier this year.

When Mesa's Nile Theater first opened in 1924, it was a decadently decorated silent movie house.

These days, what streams out of the theater is anything but quiet.

The Nile Theater frequently hosts local and touring hardcore, punk and metal bands. Acts like Against Me!, Circle Takes the Square, and Code Orange Kids and more have graced either venue's spacious main stage or the more cozy Underground, located in the basement.

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Phoenix Rock Band the Oxford Coma Punctuates Its Tour

Categories: Local Wire

Courtesy of Oxford Coma
Oxford Coma

The guys in Phoenix rock band the Oxford Coma can't stand that image is important to making it in the music business, that you often need a certain aesthetic for a specific demographic to achieve success, and that you might have to act in a way you're not passionate about to garner fans. Hence, you'll sometimes see them wear nothing but underwear on stage, revolting against cool-kid wardrobe choices -- even if that makes them more gimmicky than they really want to be.

"There's an inherent irony of being in a rock band, which is what our song 'Tradition' is about," says singer/guitarist Billy Tegethoff. "So much of it is built up around maintaining a certain image and looking cool and all this role-playing nonsense, which we do because that's what being a part of a band is about. We're three grown men who get on stage and try to entertain people."

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The Sounds of the Desert Drench Tucson Band Sun Bones

Categories: Local Wire

Eloisa Castro
Sun Bones, playing behind Laura Kepner Adney

More than anything musically, it could be said that Sun Bones' primary influence is Newton's laws of motion. A continuum of momentum and velocity is everything to the Tucson-based, self described "chamber punk" band.

Establishing themselves immediately with their 2013 self released debut, Sentinel Peak, their relentless touring, songwriting and recording pace, and just a single minded pursuit of shattering limits -- self imposed or otherwise -- in all aspects of how they operate as a band find them in a state of perpetual and speedy growth. At this point, Sun Bones has already moved on by the time you can catch up with them.

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Honesty Key to Mesa Songwriter Jeff Gonzales' Music

Categories: Local Wire

Tina Richerson
Jeff Gonzales

There is a freckled Playmobil figure on the cover of East Valley musician Jeff Gonzales' 2013 six-track EP The Lights Just Went Out. His eyebrows are raised upward and his mouth is in the shape of a frown. Is this disappointed-looking childhood toy meant to represent the 32-year-old songwriter?

"That's kind of what I think," Gonzales says of the cover designed by Tim Meehan. Gonzales says the concept is in reference to the song "Sleeping Like Bears," from which his EP's title is derived. The moody acoustic track feels like it was written about a relationship which is slowly reaching its inevitable end. The songwriter sings with a lonely twang as he misses "the beacon we used to be."

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Phoenix Hardcore Band Gay Kiss to Tour with Punk Supergroup Off!

Courtesy of Roger Calamaio
Gay Kiss

Phoenix hardcore band Gay Kiss released Fault in December 2012, and some consider it to one of the better heavy albums to come out of Phoenix in recent memory. Now, the quartet's work has paid off in the form of an opening slot touring for punk supergroup Off! -- a Frankenstein consisting of Black Flag/Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris, Burning Brides' Dimitri Coats on guitar, Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane McDonald, and Hot Snakes drummer Mario Rubalcaba.

(Rubalcaba won't be drumming on this particular segment of the tour, though. Instead, legendary Melvins drummer Dale Crover will join the party.)

Needless to say, it's a pretty big score for the band.

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