What Are They Feeding the Kids In Arizona These Days?
I guess Republican Sen. John McCain and my cactus-pride roommate are not the only Arizonians stirring things up. It appears that a plethora of bands making names for themselves are also spilling from the Grand Canyon State.
So what’s the deal? As Californians, we may be a little resentful. It seems, at least from the Southern California perspective, that most of rock, pop, alternative and even rap music originates or at least reveals itself in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. But just as Phoenix is the new exciting place to settle, Los Angeles and other music hubs may need to make some room in the hall of fame for the great state of Arizona.
Give some examples, you say?
The Format is a band with a sound that many fans might find difficult to classify, so their Web site goes to the heart of the matter to create a definition: desert pop. It’s an Arizona thing that appropriately avoids the classification of punk or emo, of which The Format is neither.
Lyrics, written by The Format’s singer Nate Ruess, also exude some Arizonian flavor, referring to the 51 Freeway and the ‘need to get back to Tempe.’ Probably a good idea, since Amazon.com rates The Format’s ‘Interventions and Lullabies’ as the best-selling CD in Tempe and Scottsdale.
But The Format’s sound is reaching far beyond Arizona’s borders. After expanding their duo to include a whole band, signing with Elektra and putting out their first full-length album about a year ago, The Format boys are hard at work doing all the touring they possibly can. The band recently played with Southern California locals Hello Goodbye and Limbeck at The Glass House in Pomona, and just embarked on a nationwide tour with Switchfoot that started in Anaheim and will wrap with shows in Los Angeles and San Diego in mid-November. Show up in time to see The Format perform and you won’t be disappointed, as their live shows supply an even stronger sound than the CD.
Another band native to Arizona is the more recognized Jimmy Eat World. Originally from Mesa, Ariz., Jimmy Eat World released the popular ‘Bleed American’ (renamed ‘Jimmy Eat World’ after Sept. 11, 2001) as a Dreamworks-backed follow-up to Capitol Records’ ‘Start Static’ (1996) and ‘Clarity’ (1999).
Jimmy Eat World has sold out October tour dates in Pomona and Riverside in anticipation of their new Interscope-backed CD ‘Futures,’ slated for release on Oct. 19. The new disc combines the band’s tried-and-true sound with what singer Jim Adkins describes as a more ‘ambitious’ album that resembles the bands’ earlier work on ‘Clarity.’
Also based in Mesa, Ariz. is punk, reggae and ska-infused band Authority Zero. In fact, Authority Zero’s founding members attended Westwood High School, the same institution where Jimmy Eat World received its secondary education.
Authority Zero played locally in Mesa, Phoenix and surrounding areas for a while, getting same radio play and stabilizing a fan base through live performances. The band released ‘A Passage in Time’ in 2002 and has since toured with Sum 41, No Use for a Name, Guttermouth and all those at summer’s annual punk music festival Warped Tour.
Like The Format’s crazy tour schedule and Jimmy Eat World’s highly anticipated new album, Authority Zero is keeping its momentum up. The band’s second studio album ‘Andiam