Tucson sounds: Music, sweets & local beats with piano man Paul Jenkins | Weekend music
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Tucson sounds: Music, sweets & local beats with piano man Paul Jenkins

Whether you first encountered him as the ever-present door man at late, great Tucson music venue the Flycatcher, as the band leader for local live talk and variety show Romo Tonight, as the bearded dude with the flawless falsetto codenamed "Deejay Peejay" at local karaoke nights, as the swan-dress-wearing Bjork impersonator at a long-ago edition of Tucson's Great Cover Up or simply via one of the many, many, many bands and musical projects he's been a part of, odds are that if you know Tucson nightlife, you know Paul Jenkins. 

But if you don't, it's time we corrected that little oversight, don't you think? The keyboardist, vocalist and former leader of indie band ...music video? has, as usual, many musical irons in the musical fire, including an ongoing residency at new Fourth Avenue venue and bakery Irene's Holy Donuts and a two-day run of band collabs at this weekend's Swedefest. 

TucsonSentinel.com: Most Tucson music folks know you from your epoch at "Plushcatcher" or your various musical incarnations. But for those who don't, can you tell us a little bit of your history in the Tucson music scene?

Paul Jenkins: “Ha. It’s been that long since my band ...music video?, huh? The name of the band was ...music video?. See? Nothing right about it. I guess it has been almost seven years. That was my band from 2003-2012. Aside from that, I’ve had fun doing tribute nights here and there, and more recently doing Gaslight Theater shows.”

TS: How'd you start playing piano? And what are your favorite bands and artists of all time? 

PJ: “I took piano lessons from ages 6 through 13, and have pretty much taught myself since then. Radiohead and Sparklehorse are my two faves, there’s something specifically ethereal about both of them. Those two collaborated on the world’s saddest but best cover ever of Wish You Were Here.”

TS: Tell us about the new residency at Irene's. Donuts and live piano are kind of an intriguing proposition.

PJ: “I’ve done it just once so far, brought my own keyboard and speaker, but if I ever wanna go 'unplugged,' there is an upright piano right there in the corner. I was lucky enough to be their first musician to play, and they offered me Wednesday nights that same night! I do mostly pop and indie rock covers, with a few of my own songs snuck in. Irene’s  coconut cream donuts are incredible, and no, they didn’t pay me to say that.”

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TS: What is your biggest pop culture pet peeve right now?

PS: “I believe my biggest pop culture pet peeve aside from the need for Instagram to exist is pop music that is mind-numbingly repetitive. I feel like that’s a trend that’s been happening most of the decade, but I think some of those songs get stuck in your head more due to their repetition than the catchiness of the melody itself. Having said that, Post Malone is a very guilty pleasure.“

TS: Do you think there will ever be another venue that fills the hole that Flycatcher left? What would it take to make that happen? And why can't we have nice things?

PS: “I really do hope so. Cans was doing their best, and sadly they’re gone already. Fourth Avenue definitely needs a place like that. Sky Bar is beginning to fill that void with local bass maestro Chris Pierce taking over their booking.”

TS: Sometimes music columns ask what song you’d want played at your funeral but I think that’s just cruel. What song would you want to play at other people's funerals?

PS: “Ha, I answered this via Tucson Weekly’s Nine Questions once but they actually asked the 'cruel' question. I said Mogwai’s ‘Burn Girl Prom Queen.’ I wouldn’t know what to play at someone else’s funeral. Do people DJ funerals?

TS: I hope they do! I want a DJ to play ridiculous amounts of David Bowie at my funeral. Favorite music right now and favorite local musicians?

PS: “The new James Blake is great. Man, what a 2010 answer. If Andre 3000 shows up on it, you know it has value! Locally, the beat makers that participate in Pushing Buttons events are making really fun, incredible music. You can hear them on the Sonoran Beat Collective compilations on Bandcamp.”

TS: Favorite weird gig moment ever?

PS: “When ...music video? was a duo, we played a GameWorks show once after our laptop had died, and burned our backing tracks to a CD, and played that CD on a boom box that could have really benefited from some 'skip protection.' Also David Clark asking when we were gonna play 'Dirty Diana' when we had just played it. Classic.

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TS: Upcoming gigs and future music plans?

PS: “Eric Swedlund’s yearly Swedefest is this weekend. I’m playing that with mastermind Jericho’s pop extravaganza the Pangs, as well as Jeopardy champion Tucker Dunn’s Underbutt and the Sideboobs (if we ever rehearse) on Friday night at Surly Wench. Then with local rap group Jivin Scientists on Saturday at Sky Bar. Also playing monthly on a third or fourth Thursday at Sky Bar. And every month or two at Westbound.”

TS: And don’t forget your Whiskey Wednesdays at Irene’s Holy Donuts! Anything I forgot or that you want to add?

PS: “Thank you for keeping people in Tucson interested in live music! That may sound corny, but it really makes a difference when people care!”

TS: Thanks for making music for people to be interested in!

Paul Jenkins plays Irene's Holy Donuts this Wednesday night at 7 p.m. as part of the ongoing Piano and Whiskey Wednesdays series at the shop. Meanwhile, Jenkins also sits in with Pangs, Jivin Scientists and Underbutt and the Sideboobs as part of Swedfest at Surly Wench this Friday night at 8 p.m. and at Sky Bar Saturday night at 7 p.m. 

Also happening this week...

Speaking of Swedefest... well, it's time for Swedefest! The yearly musical mashup organized by Eric Swedelund includes shows Friday night at Surly Wench and Saturday at Sky Bar featuring Jivin Scientists, the Pangs, Juju Fontaine, Dos Munoz, Atomic Sherpas and more.

Also on Friday night Weekend Lovers team up with the Unday and TGTG at Sky Bar. Stay tuned for an upcoming feature on Unday frontwoman/violist Deanna Cross in a not too distant future column. Meanwhile, down the street at Passe, Tucson's youth revolution will not be televised as teenage wunderkinds Stripes team up with Taco Sauce and Acid Pie, also on Friday night. 

Saturday night, Tight Fright and Sorcerers of Madness team up to cover Black Sabbath's Masters of Reality in its entirety at Che's Lounge, while the Rifle play host to out of town band 222. 

Last, but not least, Sunday night you can party like it's 1999 in the sense that there's a party at a warehouse with some punk bands playing and you may or may not need to bring your own beer. Local bands Shit Knife and the Gem Show team up with Jason Paul and the Know It Alls for a down and dirty old school warehouse party on Easter Sunday. Be sure to contact the bands to score an invite. Just like you used to do way back when.  

This week in local music also brings some fond farewells as longtime ensemble Royal Agaves and indie concept band Lowlife each celebrate the end of an era with finale shows this coming week. Royal Agaves say goodbye to Tucson music fans Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Crooked Tooth while Lowlife's final show takes place this Thursday night at 10 p.m. at Thunder Canyon Brewery.

In the good news department, the long awaited Resonars album "No Exit" has finally hit the shelves of local record stores on vinyl and it's every bit as good as you expected it to be. Featuring a host of Midtown Island studio regulars, including drummer Johnnie Rinehart, the album is every bit as good as Resonars albums past, but in this reporter's humble opinion, does more to capture the band's live energy than any recording to date. You can grab the record at Wooden Tooth Records and other local shops as of this week. 

Check your local listings...

Friday, April  19

  • The Muffulettas - 7 p.m. Fini’s Landing
  • Fayuca, Santa Pachita, & Desert Fish - 7 p.m.Club Congress
  • Katie Haverly & The Aviary - 7 p.m.
  • Miss Olivia & the Interlopers - 8 p.m. Saint Charles
  • Acid Pie at Bar Passe, with Taco Sauce and Stripes - 8 p.m. Passe
  • The Unday, TGTG, Weekend Lovers - 8 p.m. Sky Bar
  • Swedefest 11 Night One: The Pangs, Underbutt and the Sideboobs, Fort Worth, Dos Munoz - 8 p.m. Surly Wench Pub

Saturday, April  20

  • 222 with the Rifle - 7 p.m. Club Congress
  • Royal Agaves (Final Show) - 7 p.m. Crooked Tooth
  • Strange Vacation - 8 p.m. Saint Charles
  • Swedefest 11 Night Two : Jivin Scientists, Dennis Moore, Good Little Thieves, Atomic Sherpas, Juju Fontaine, Dash, Staufferland - 7 p.m. Sky Bar
  • Tight Fright and Sorcerers of Madness (performing Master of Reality in its entirety) - 10 p.m. Che’s Lounge

Sunday, April  21

  • Kevin Pakulis - 2:30 p.m. Borderlands
  • Mik and the Funky Brunch - 12 p.m. La Cocina
  • Jason Paul & the Know It Alls, Shit Knife, The Gem Show - 7 p.m. Warehouse Party (Check w/ bands for details and invite)
  • Hand Habits w/ Tasha and Karima Walker - 7 p.m. Club Congress
  • Laura and the Killed Men - 4 p.m. Che’s Lounge (Patio Show)
  • Kevin Pakulis - 2:30 p.m. Borderlands
  • Mik and the Funky Brunch - 12 p.m. La Cocina
  • Jason Paul & the Know It Alls, Shit Knife, The Gem Show - 7 p.m. Warehouse Party (Check w/ bands for details and invite)
  • Hand Habits w/ Tasha and Karima Walker - 7 p.m. Club Congress
  • Laura and the Killed Men - 4 p.m. Che’s Lounge (Patio Show)
  •  Double Deputy Bible Fights Freeze Dried Frequency - 8 p.m. Irene's Holy Donuts 

Monday, April  22

  • Cosmonauts, Gem Show and YUM! - 7 p.m. Club Congress

Tuesday, April  23

  • Feverfew, Nanami Ozone,Stripes - 7 p.m. Club Congress

Wednesday, April 24

  • Bass Drum of Death w/ N.C.N.S. & Annie Jump Cannon - 7 p.m. Club Congress
  • Piano and Whiskey Wednesdays with Paul Jenkins - 7 p.m. Irene's Holy Donuts

Thursday, April 25

  • FST! Presents: Fool Me Once - 7 p.m. Club Congress
  • Lowlife (Final Show) - 10 p.m. Thunder Canyon Brewery
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Paul Jenkins on keys at Revel wine bar

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