We hear so many great albums and see so many wonderful shows throughout the year it’s impossible to cover it all… we’re understaffed and overworked and not a’one of us can call YabYum our full-time profession and we all work on our own art too and not even Mitchell Hillman can cover everything. What we’re saying is that many of the bands we want to cover don’t always receive the coverage they deserve from us. We had hoped/planned to cover all of the bands on the list below in 2012. We hoped to become Zen masters of the universe. Maybe both will happen, someday. This was our biggest year ever. We hoped to double our readership over the course of the year and we were absolutely thrilled when it tripled. All we can say is 2013 is going to be frickin’ ridiculous. The list below is in no particular order.
We should begin with a warning. Somehow, completely unintentionally, the “Best New Band Award” has developed a reputation at YabYum as the kiss of death. It seems as soon as we recognize another band as the Best New Band, the group disbands (Soft Drink) or members move internationally (Whisperlights & North Dakota). This year we decided we would not award a Best New Band to anyone… then, last November, we were planning out the awards month and Diners came up. What to give Diners?
Certainly, they meet the criteria for Best New Band. We enjoyed the airy innocence and nostalgic atmosphere on their album Throw Me a Ten recorded at none other than Audioconfusion. The band’s live performances carried the same earnest feeling amplified by the group’s easygoing energy onstage. They continue the artistic tradition of drawing from their predecessors to create something new and relevant to the present but Diners extends their reach a little further than many of their contemporaries and builds their sound from that youthful, teenage heart of rocknroll: the 1950s, the last decade to hold claim on American innocence. Diners just started making the rounds on the Tempe/Phoenix circuit this past year and have already played with many of the Valley’s finest.
And, there you have it. We had to give the award for Best New Band to Diners. Please don’t move or break up.
What can one say about Jack Maverik? That he’s the most understated cool guy in the scene? That he has been a fiercely positive push for many of the Valley’s young musicians? That what he lacks as a sound guy is more than made up for by his staggering good looks and razor sharp wit? That he has the power of resurrection? Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
That is why, this year we are honoring Jack Maverik with our Personal Jesus Award. He spent his forty days in the desert trying to keep Last Exit alive only to find (and give) new life at Long Wong’s Tempe, Version 2.0. In his tenure at Wong’s, we saw the first miracles as the crowd slowly grew as did the bands clamoring for gigs. And, recently, Jack secured his status as a miracle maker by actually dying and coming back to life. So today, we ask that you take a moment to remember
Jesus Jack and all his works.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jack Maverik and I am a social engineer. I used to be an audio engineer and still do that from time to time. But mostly I use dog training techniques on humans and see what sticks. My Petri dish of choice over the last couple years has been the scrappy little Long Wong’s Tempe.
2. How did you get your start?
Too much ego and not enough sense.
3. What inspires you?
People that I don’t understand. I love being reminded that I’m an idiot and there is a lot about this world that I will never ever ever understand.
4. What do you like about Arizona?
Everything. I love the weather. I love the people. I love the politics (they suck, but god are they fun and interesting. Everyone needs an enemy.) I love that we have a large city but it’s still the frontier in many real ways. The bar isn’t just set low here, it doesn’t exist. This allows you the freedom to do whatever you want. Especially when it comes to music. There are no rules, where in some cities/scenes, there is an established order to things. You have a very real freedom here, and the biggest enemy is apathy and fear.
5. Where can people see you(r) work?
All over town. My job as a social engineer is to create community. And yes, I know that sounds stupid given my reputation of being a ruthless asshole, but I promise my press is exaggerated. The most obvious place to see me is at Long Wong’s Tempe but you can also see my work anywhere bands like Japhy’s Descent, Future Loves Past, Banana Gun, Darkness Dear Boy, Sasquanaut, TKLB, Palms, Avery, Playboy Manbaby, etc. play. I’m proud of the community that we’ve been able to foster and create at Long Wong’s and its fun to watch it grow and expand outside our tiny walls and infect the town. It’s a blast.
6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?
I died in October. I was oddly at peace with my accomplishments. We have a music community that says to our best bands “Hey guys, you’re awesome, you should stay home.” We’ve had this disease in our music scene that teaches bands that they’re better served by not playing. Once a band reaches a certain point, they’re encouraged to stay home and not play shows. They suddenly become “too good” to play Monday at 1am or Tuesday at 8pm. They’re told they’re too good for those slots and they’ve already paid those dues.
In real music cities, you’re offered more opportunities, not less. If you are killing it at one club on a Wednesday, then another would offer you a gig on Tuesday. Here in Phoenix, for the last 10 years, promoters, club owners, talent buyers, booking people, etc. don’t want you to play out that much. They want you to starve. They want you to put all your effort into their show. They want you to beg everyone you ever met to give those people $5 or more to come see you. I don’t know any artist who only performs their art one day a month who’s any good.
I would love to see the idea of “over-saturation” or “diluting your draw” to die a horrible painful death. Because our best bands stay home and try to just play “big shows” at “cool clubs” once a month, that means, that on any given night, odds are, our best bands are not on our stages. How is this good for our music and arts scene?
I don’t care if a band plays 5 times a week (well I do care, that’s awesome), I’m still gonna book them at Long Wong’s. It’s my clubs responsibility to be the best choice to come see your band that week, not the bands responsibility to stay home. The venue should offer the bands just as much as the bands are offering the venues. That’s just fair. And that’s not always the case.
My hopes are that through the work we do down at Wong’s and the people we do it with, that we can put an end to this horrible abuse of our artists and musicians. High tide rises all boats. We all benefit from each others successes. What’s good for Future Loves Past is good for Long Wong’s, which is good for Good Friends Great Enemies, which is good for the Rogue Bar, which is good for the Crescent Ballroom, which is good for everyone.
I know, I know. TL;DR.
7. What is your weapon of choice for the zombie apocalypse?
My 1972 School Bus and a map to Wyoming. My guess is that all the zombies will head to the Coasts first, as they are the most populous. Then double back, but by then, they’ll be decaying and famished. They’ll be easy pickings. Wal Mart sells M4A3’s now. Full up NATO rifles. I figure hit a Walmart, load up and defend a small town in Wyoming, you’ll be set for years.
William Reed seems to do it all. From creating the hottest dance nights all throughout the Valley to producing and performing in multiple acts (including Blaque Panther Disco and Traum), teaching music business to hosting his own radio show there seems to be no stopping this guy. His newest recurring gig at Searsucker Scottsdale promises a great night of music, refreshments, and ambiance, all within a “New American” atmosphere. It seems that whatever this man sets his mind to do he just does it and that makes him William Fucking Reed our most likely to succeed.
If you’re planning on making 2013 your year for success, maybe you should strongly consider ringing in the New Year with some William Reed stylings. It will help you set a new tone for the new year!
MAN-CAT oh MAN-CAT, where do we begin? From their lively sound crafted of sampled pop music thrown into a blender, the band then performs these permutations live in a must-see performance piece. MAN-CAT has truly gone above and beyond this year, not just in the realm of sound but also by way of self-promoting, revolutionary media antics that have garnished the band much attention while yielding fans considerable enjoyment. They started the year by physically releasing a copy of their EP Hunt Catch & Kill, followed shortly after with the incredible music video “Yeast.” They were featured in a Peruvian magazine, and then, the barf happened. Justin Bieber’s barf to be precise. For which MAN-CAT took the blame. It even caught the attention of MTV Greece. But that’s not where the fun ends my friends, oh no. Just recently they announced their newest project, “Pussy Cola,” with Lana Del Rey. A video you have to see to believe:
Check out our previous award winner: