(As a kid in Arizona, they used to make you memorize The Five C's, which included "Climate" but not "Communism" nor "Capitalism" nor "Corazon..."; but hey, hence the title for an Arizona-based magazine....) (and yes, dammit, there are such awkward asthmatic aardvarkian-esque things as magazines from Arizona... Dude, we can totally read — we're just not in the mood, so we look at the pictures.)
Arizona's first state governor wasn't a Pontiac dealer.
Instead, he was a Zoroastrian. It was the Pontiac dealer — the guy who came in after the one-eyed newspaper columnist and then, eventually, the Mexican-born ex-boxer — who officially outlawed Martin Luther King Day. Then there was that early governor who refused to approve the state flag. But the governor who saw UFOs over Phoenix came way after that. Then he founded a French cooking school. (There'll be a test on this later, so take notes.)
A white pyramid looms over the mountains where Phoenix and Scottsdale and Tempe crunch together, marking the tomb of that first Zoroastrian governor guy. But since nobody remembers him, or knows why there's a white pyramid parked against the red rocks and cactus, or can figure out just what a Zoroastrian is, it simply serves as a symbol of just exactly how Arizona has always been, and likely always will be. Arizona is intentionally weird, oddball squared, a place where bold eccentrics have historically stumbled in to see just how they stacked up against the nutjobs who were currently running the joint.
Some of those nutjobs, of course, were those dang Indians — like, for instance, the Apaches, who were said to be able to run 50 miles a day (and bear in mind that Arizona was hot as hell, even before they paved it). It's hard to understand why the US Cavalry didn't just turn their horses around and go pick on the Hopi, who were pushovers, and a lot slower too. Perhaps this is why even today our license plates say "The Grand Canyon State" rather than "Famous Frybread," or "Geronimo Lives."
Tombstone, "The Town Too Tough To Die," became "The Town Too Tourist-Dependent To Close Until 9:15 PM," but that was later. Scottsdale used to be "The West's Most Western Town," but that was before it became a golf course. Phoenix ("Park And Lock It; Not Responsible") was built right on top of a system of canals that had originally been constructed by the Hohokam Indians, who wisely disappeared, apparently annoyed by the sight of Apaches sprinting back and forth. Tucson (pronounced "Tuk-sin") has traditionally been distinguished by its lack of canals, and by the fact that it was never the West's Most anything, perhaps its saving grace. Still, it features Old Tucson, where all the Western films that weren't filmed in Hollywood occurred.
Arizona, a place that has been, among other things, part of Old Spain, New Spain, Mexico, New Mexico, Sonora, the official State of Deseret, the Gadsden Purchase, the Compromise of 1850, the glorious Confederacy, the glorious Union, the State of Nevada, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Seven Lost Cities of Cibola, and . . . well, those dang Indians were so lousy at writing names down. Anyway, Arizona has a proud right to a perpetual identity crisis.
Ok, so the Clantons and the Earps were genuine trouble, one and all imported from out of state —snowbirds, in Arizona terms. But during my own lifetime, the Devil's Disciples and Satan's Slaves and the Mongols and the Bandidos and the Hells Angels and the Vagos and all manner of other well-meaning darlings have been among the genuine outlaws. (I used to have a safety-card from one of those charming dance-clubs, until the Secretary-Treasurer needed back, because it was the only one he had, and there were cute girls in the bar he wanted to impress.) Arizona is the proud state that first established the law that you couldn't wear your hogleg pistol into the topless club, a fine example of our state's firm, focused grasp on practical jurisprudence.
But 'twas ever thus. John C. Fremont, Arizona's first territorial governor, spent most of his career exploring California, for which you can hardly blame him. He was told he had to reside in Arizona, or resign. He resigned.
Vogue, Details, Spin, Sounds staff writer, West Coast editor; loads of magazines, daily and weekly newspapers; columns, reporting, features, criticism. Couple of Deems Taylor Awards for music stuff, lots of other awards for reporting, writing, columns. Worked and traveled in more than twenty countries. Published in six languages; writes exclusively in American.
"The best new American rock writer of the '80s" — Creem
"[SPIN's] West Coast editor Bart Bull's piece on John Lee Hooker is as witty and perceptive a piece of writing as you're likely to find in any magazine anywhere." — Los Angeles Times
"Shakespearean." — Tom Wolfe
OG punk rocker, founded first American xeroxpunk fanzine, Browbeat, in 1977; OG skateboarder, once clocked at 38 mph downhill. Adequate accordionist; quarter-assed steel guitar player. Historian, cultural commentator, culinary adventurer, raconteur, wanderer, cook (pro/semi-pro/amateur), bon vivant (p/s-p/a), picaro y guero y gabacho. Record producer, arranger, and mixer. Manager; Artistes et Property Intellectual. (Under his watch: Two Grammy nominations; more than one thousand tour dates internationally; precedent-setting application of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution to major label recording contracts; establishment of fiscally and aesthetically successful independently distributed record labels in territories on three continents; numerous other accomplishments.) Urbanist
Designer Documentarian Expatriate American High school dropout;
North Central Phoenix yo-yo champion, 1966. Danced on Soul Train (one time, 1986; not invited back); Hit long foul off Juan Marichal, 1984;
Played accordion for 80,000 bikers and metalheads in Nuremburg, Germany, 1992;
Briefly (thanks to Title IX) a member of the Phoenix College Women's Volleyball Team;
Charter member of the M. M. M. S.; Founding member/co-president of J.A.G.U.A.R. (Juveniles of Arizona Guard Against Undesirable Armed Rascals);
Co-founder of the notorious N.C. L. F. (Neon Cowboy Liberation Front); once shared a barber with the late, great Sam Cooke; accordion stylings favorably reviewed (as Jimmy Shands, Jr.) in the Manchester Guardian; numerous other awards, distinctions and visible scars
Once and former owner/operator/mechanic & close personal associate of: 1966 Pontiac GTO (389); a 1967 GTO (Tri-Power); a 1967 Chevrolet Malibu SS-327; a 1968 GTO (4ooCI, Hurst His'n'Hers shifter; Posi-Traction;); a 1969 GTO with Ram-Air III and four-on-the-floor; and a 1969 SS-396 El Camino with a 427 Corvette engine installed; numerous others, from three continents. Currently grumpy about Americans using too darn much gas. Rides the Metro standing up, goofy-foot; and a one-speed Dutch bicycle with coaster brake and friction-generated headlight (avec tres authentique Ed "Big Daddy" Roth Ratfink decals).
"Writer, musician, manager, gadabout, and cool-guy raconteur..." — New Times
"This obsessive, smart-ass, and at times uproarious collection... [has] nothing to do with commercial success. If (it) did, '...probably the eighth greatest band name ever would be Celine Dion, and we'd all know the Book of Revelations was kicking full effect.'"
Failure magazine "book" review of Battle of The Band Names
"His explication of why white America hasn't clasped Michael Jackson to its bosom as tightly as it has Bruce Springsteen [in another publication] was the most provocative, insightful, and prolix piece of writing I've read since Lester Bangs' famous piece on wanting to do James Taylor grievous bodily harm. . .
His condemnation of Woodstock a few issues back made me cackle aloud with delight."
"Ironically, for a book [Tom Waits On Tom Waits] that leans overwhelmingly towards smaller-press rock journalism, the most intriguing character in the book aside from Waits is Bart Bull, veteran journalist extraordinaire, a large-publication writer and the former West Coast editor of SPIN. Two of Bull’s Waits pieces are included — the first, the aforementioned “After a One-Night Stand” article from 1977, is the account of a fight between interviewer and interviewee that arose when a mid-tour Waits was particularly exhausted and cranky. The second, “Boho Blues,” written for Spin in 1987, is an ambitious, successful attempt to write a piece of Waits journalism in the style of Waits himself and the most insightful piece in the book.
At its absolute best, as with the Bart Bull articles, Tom Waits on Tom Waits illuminates its subject and allows a peek into the history of lesser-known late-20th century rock journalism, sometimes from now-defunct publications."
"Not all the interviewers here fall into line and churn out cookie cutter questions though. One of the best pieces is written by Bart Bull for Phoenix New Times in 1977. Waits had just released Foreign Affairs and was in a particularly bad mood that evening. Rather than let Waits run roughshod over him, Bull fought back. Written in a narrative style, it stands out amongst the typical Q+A format that dominates this book. And what did Bull gain from giving the man such a negative profile? The chance to interview him again 10 years later for SPIN. In Tom Waits on Tom Waits, many music journos learn that flattery gets you nowhere."
"Some, like Spin magazine’s insufferable Bart Bull, flash plenty of sub–Lester Bangs style to zero effect. " Kirkus Reviews, unsigned review of the same book