The Rise of the AZ New School: A Conversation with Analog Outlaws

World, Pay Attention…. Phoenix is the Seattle of 30 years ago. I am telling you. It is a FACT. Time will tell. You heard it from the Ghost Writer first, my friends…. I have been begging you to #rocklocal for over a year now. Anyway, I digress…

I think it is safe to say that Eddie Eberle had one hell of a Senior Trip Summer.

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Analog Outlaws are a local three piece rock n roll band made up of a trio of phenomenal musicians. After winning Alice Cooper’s The Proof is in the Pudding band competition in 2015, the band’s world started to expand very quickly, but they were still finishing high school. Eddie Eberle, front man for the Outlaws, just graduated, and spent his June rocking Circus Mexicus with Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, The Black Moods, The Pistoleros, The Strolling Bones, Fayuca, and Black Bottom Lighters among others. Now he is a freshman at Arizona State University. Christian Champion, the band’s incredibly expressive drummer, is a senior in high school this year, balancing shows and recording sessions with trying to complete that last rite of passage of youth.

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How does one interview such a hot young band, full of dreams that are larger than life, larger than most of us can imagine living at their age…. and not start thinking about the constricting nature of time? I realize that this is a meditation for the aging, possibly, but looking back on the history of music in order to take an educated stab at the future, is the focus of this article. So… allow me a bit of a digression.

If one looks at the last one hundred years of music. Say 1920 to 2017… is is easy to define eras in terms of decade chunks. Big Band. Flappers. Crooners. Country and Western. Rock n Roll. Woodstock. Disco. Punk. Post-Punk. Metal. Pop. Grunge. Then…. music hit a blender. I am not trying to say anything about the validity of music in the new millennium or anything like that… I am simply trying to say it is no longer easy to categorize music, itself, by time and style. The new band everyone is talking about, Gretta Van Fleet, is constantly compared to Led Zeppelin.  Jet was compared to The Beatles. I compare Wyves to the Rolling Stones. This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Not at all.  Contemporary music has permeated our lives… for a century. It has become a major part of our human discourse.

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So, let’s just deal with the huge white elephant in the room right off the bat, shall we? Yes, watching Analog Outlaws is like taking a trip in a Delorian to a time when a certain local legend and his band recorded a tiny little album called Wheelie. The comparisons are obvious, and Amigos, they are endearing.

Case n Point: I have a teenage daughter. She is a freshman in high school. Her favorite band is Jane n the Jungle. But she jams out to every word of the Gin Blossoms New Miserable Experience at the top of her lungs when she thinks nobody is listening. There are nearly 30 years in between their recordings. Is this a byproduct of bands needing to keep touring in this new musical economy to make money at all. Most likely. Is it a sign at the economics of the music industry have completely changed? Yes, most certainly. Does it change the musical landscape for recording artists? Absolutely.

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But. As much of a change and a strain that that puts on the artists themselves, is it necessarily a bad thing for consumers? No. Also most certainly. There has never been a better time to be a music fan! Festivals. Camping experiences. Travel. Music has become a major centerpiece of the way that we live our lives. It has a completely immersive, symbiotic relationship with the emotional realities of our existence.

I think of the 116 Gigs of music hardwired onto a San Disk Card in my phone. I never hear commercials. I never hear repeated tunes. I can listen to anything from Roy Orbison to Dead Hot Workshop to Elvis to The Sisters of Mercy to Aretha Franklin to Lincoln Park to Depeche Mode to I Don’t Konform to The Cure to New Chums to Killing Sunday to Rush on any given day.

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Tours like The Pixies and Weezer start to make sense. Speaking of Weezer, the underlying reason of why you may also enjoy The Cars becomes obvious. Locally speaking, the connections between the legendary Dead Hot Workshop and the Chimeras…. and the web of influence they have created is inspiring. And once one starts to really see and appreciate these intricacies, then bands like Ghetto Cowgirl or Murphy’s Outlaw stop being about age. They stop being about making it or not making it. One starts to realize that youthful bands like Wyves and Analog Outlaw are really not that different at all from these more seasoned performers.

They are all making it. Literally. They are making it each and every night, and we are lucky to be able to see and appreciate so much of it.

Stephen Ashbrook, Dead Hot Workshop, Mark Norman, and Nick Sterling and Brenden McBride (of Wyves) at the Geronimo Wine Release Show

We all know that the technology of music, really is no longer changing. Not the way it was for say the first half of these 100 years in discussion. Currently, we are rediscovering the beauty of vinyl, and simultaneously loving the ability to carry a juke box in our pocket. But we are really not inventing anything new… not really. Music… sound….. has become a blending of what came before. A re-imagining of life’s eternal soundtrack, applied to ever changing times.

I start to realize that the old cliched adage is true… the more things change indeed.

So how can something so pertinent… so much in demand… be so difficult to capitalize on or find success in?

I sit in Scottsdale’s Rock Bar at the front end of the bar. I want to have a perfect seat to the intimate night Analog Outlaws have put together. As I sip on my Kilt Lifter, and quietly make small talk with my wife, I cannot help but notice the huge Circus Mexicus poster hanging at an angle from the room, nor the Mexican Moonshine lit up wooden sign behind the bar. Roger has come a long way from the young Tempe and Chandler kid turning the music world upside down with his brand of Southwestern Rock n Roll. Now, one could say he is the best example of a successful independent artist…… ever. But certainly, in Arizona.

As I have written on here in the past, I have not been to Circus Mexicus now for twelve years. A lot has changed since then, and there is an intimacy in watching Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers play that I will chase to other states…. just to remember the Electric Ballroom. That said…..

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Watching Analog Outlaw completely rock out on stage at Rock Bar, felt a whole lot like those old Refreshments shows. It felt a whole lot like those old Pistoleros Shows. It felt a whole lot like watching Satellite, just down the road, about 23 years ago.

My wife slipped me a note two songs into the set: “he moves JUST like G. Love, like the pure excitement and joy of creating music is just moving through him in ways he cannot control. Watch his legs and feet. When he just cuts loose and shakes his head. He is channeling.”

That reality is certainly not lost on Eddie Eberle, nor his band, as they graced the audience with fantastic renditions of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam, Oasis, Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, and The Black Moods. Intermixed with their own fantastically arranged and written originals. It is easy to see what the local master himself, Alice Cooper, saw in these young kids with big dreams.

Speaking of this depth of history, this genealogy that has become the Phoenix Music Community, Eddie told me a great story about the recording of Analog Outlaws first EP.

“We were getting ready to play our first show, and we were pretty excited, and we invited all of these record people, industry people to come, but nobody really took us seriously. I was fifteen. Nobody takes you seriously when you are fifteen. But, Curtis Grippe did. Curtis came to the show, he believed in us, and we ended up recording that first EP at Stem Records with Curtis.”

 

In case you were unaware, music fans, Curtis was, and is, the drummer for Dead Hot Workshop. He also regularly drums with Stephen Ashbrook, who was the lead man of Satellite. He is also in Ghetto Cowgirl, along with  Pistoleros  Thomas Laufenberg and Scott Andrews. The Pistoleros were once The Chimeras, with Doug Hopkins, who went on to play guitar with the Gin Blossoms before his tragic death in 1993. Long time Dead Hot guitarist Steven Larson, went on to be a forming member of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. And Robin of Gin Blossoms is known to pop up on stage and sing duets with local bands from time to time here in Phoenix. Marc Norman, singer of Strolling Bones and Ghetto Cowgirl, is running for Tempe City Council. See where I’m going with this???

“we could all wear ripped up clothes and pretend to be Dead Hot Workshop.”

Dead Hot Workshop just opened for Stephen Ashbrook at his Geronimo Wine Release in Awatukee last month.

Analog Outlaws are immersing them selves in a very exclusive league… the rock n roll royalty of Arizona.

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Zach Huber on Bass Guitar

When I first sent a Messenger to Eddie to kind of give him a head’s up to my questions, I made the mistake of sending them to his dad, Ed. Who responded. LOL. “Hey Ryan. This is Ed. Eddie’s dad. I think you were trying to reach him. He is at ASU now and has a full load of classes. Eddie and I have studied and modeled the industry and pave a pretty good idea of what it takes to make these new economics work. We will love to talk to you tomorrow night!”

And this dialog, rooted in a new article released from Rolling Stone stating that musicians only retain 12% of all revenue in the Music Industry; opened the door to one of the most interesting Rock n Roll dialogs I have had thus far doing this Keep the Greasy Side Down gig.

“We have to explore new ways to get our music out there. The old models simply no longer work. One of the things that we are doing, is exploring a new show to premier on our YouTube channel that basically explores college dorm life. It is like the Real World…. but…. you know… with music… like it was supposed to be. We can promote our own music as well as have guest stars and music from other artists and musicians.”

Eddie is a Freshman at Arizona State University majoring in Entrepreneurial Business.

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He is the same age as my oldest child.

I was awestruck.

“Most people don’t realize that the root of his whole artist compensation thing is legal. It is political. It is not no much just about changing technology or changing economics. Fixing it, will take political action.”

WHOAH.

I was hooked. If you know me at all or follow me on social media you know I am a pretty prolific dude. Having a local, young rock star teach me about politics…. was like love.

Eddie went on to give me short run down overview of the The United States Revision to Copyright Law, 1909. I furiously scribbled a few notes, and Eddie followed Christian and Zach back on stage for their second set. I waved. “Kid… you gave me homework! You rock!” Eddie flashed the international Horns, a universal sign of Rock Love, and picked up his guitar.

Folks…. this band is something special.

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Arizona…. Support Local Artists…. #localfirstAZ  Always….. 

So… with a bunch of case law to look up, I headed home to research my article. Turns out Eddie what spot on, and when… you lay case law… and music history….. over each other like transparencies on an old overhead, things get very interesting. Allow me to digress again…. I apologize for the entrance of the “academic voice”…. lol

1909: Revision of the U.S. Copyright Act

A major revision of the U.S. Copyright Act was completed in 1909. The bill broadened the scope of categories protected to include all works of authorship, and extended the term of protection to twenty-eight years with a possible renewal of twenty-eight. The Congress addressed the difficulty of balancing the public interest with proprietor’s rights:

“The main object to be desired in expanding copyright protection accorded to music has been to give the composer an adequate return for the value of his composition, and it has been a serious and difficult task to combine the protection of the composer with the protection of the public, and to so frame an act that it would accomplish the double purpose of securing to the composer an adequate return for all use made of his composition and at the same time prevent the formation of oppressive monopolies, which might be founded upon the very rights granted to the composer for the purpose of protecting his interests” (H.R. Rep. No. 2222, 60th Cong., 2nd Sess., p. 7 [1909]).

  1. No Internet. No Cell Phones. No CDs. No Cassettes. No 8 Tracks. And Congress still saw the conflict we are engaged in to this day as creative, professional artists: the difficulty of balancing the public interest with proprietor’s rights.

Copyright law is not revising again until 1976. But an awful lot happened in those 70 years. These are a list of the massive moments in Music History dating from 1920 t0 1980.

“This is KDKA in Pittsburgh” 1920

The Creation of The Major and Independent Labels 1920s-1950s

FM Radio Introduced 1933

Vinyl Becomes Medium of Choice 1943

The Cassette Tape Becomes Mainstream 1964

The 8 Track Goes on Sale 1966

The Industry Fights Back Against Cassette Recording 1970

The Death of Vinyl 1980

Check out the Frontline Article on PBS.

All before, finally, in 1976 two major revision were made to the United States Copyright Act: The first addressed the copying of information. That’s right. No Internet. No Spotify. No Millennials destroying everything. This was us. Sitting there with our friend’s albums and tapes and our TDKs. The second, in order to bring the United States closer to the international standard, certain practices were addressed and recommended. These revisions led to FAIR USE laws. This revision, set up before the B-52s, effects every single one of us in the entertainment industry today. Read this very carefully.

The fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” To determine whether the use of a work is a fair use, the following four factors are to be considered: purpose and character of the use, nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the whole, and the effect of the use on the potential market. In addition to legislative reforms, private negotiations between owners and users of copyrighted materials resulted in guidelines for classroom and educational use as well as reserve room use. These guidelines were not part of the statute but were included in the House report accompanying the 1976 act. The 1976 “Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-for-Profit Educational Institutions with Respect to Books and Periodicals” was adopted by thirty-eight educational organizations and the publishing industry.

CopyRight Law Timeline

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Support local Arts  /  Support a Great Cause

These fair use laws are cited as precedent in 2005, when Google first begins to digitize its libraries. The late 2000s is full of digital legislation and law suits. Amazon being sued for using thumb nail images. The digitization of pornography. Napster. It’s all in there, and all a result of the Copyright laws of more than a hundred years ago, and the advanced technological revisions of the 1970s.

Times have changed. This effects bands. This effects orchestras. This effects radio. This effects book publication. Audio books and Audible accounts have ZERO difference to Spotify in terms of compensation to the artist. This effects journalism. This effects ALL ARTISTIC MEDIA.

Eddie was able to show me this hugely HOPEFUL side of youth.  A youth that still dreamed, and dared to dream big, and dream with real world goals and intentions… even in a world that is spinning faster than we can even begin to control.  It really is not about fighting it…. but surfing it.  The money is there…. we simply need to change the way we pursue it…. and Dream Fantastically Large all the way!

For me, sitting there underneath a huge poster of the man who has really been my go to example for independent, entrepreneurial success, watching the band that is among the new generation of the Southwestern Rock n Roll experience…. I was inspired. I was filled with this sense, of connection… of harmony… or artists, connected by place, geography, heat, sun stroke, and sun kissed guitar riffs….  I was inspired to know, that like me, there were other artists…. that no matter how the worlds changes… can not help but create.  And do everything possible to get that creation into the world.

That is reassuring… on many levels.

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Great Photo by the Great B Nizz

I realized the music in my pocket jukebox was timeless. Roger would gray, and life would change, and we would raise a glass of Mexican Moonshine, neat… and say, Salude! The songs I know by heart span almost 80 years. I never remove any bands, I just trim and make room for the new. Ghost Writer Radio becomes a blissful emergence in a sonic fountain of youth. Music becomes my Peter Pan. And as I have discussed before, and maybe you can now see…. music becomes the soundtrack of our lives in a very intricate and personal way. That resonance is what connects us.

And finding a youthful band…. that can rock like Analog Outlaws…. and take us all down this blissful Arizona highway into the past…. down main street…. to the Electric Ballroom… or down Mill to Long Wongs… or off of Price to Ninas…… allows us all to Keep the Greasy Side Down. 

Next Up…. My review of the new Wyves Album !!!!!

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and

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a Conversation with The Black Moods

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Here’s to Life Amigos!

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