Rich Hopkins and Luminarios

Just shows how mucked up the music scene is that a guy with Rich Hopkins's pedigree is passing through town almost anonymously. It wouldn't be unfair to call Hopkins the Tom Petty of the desert; Hopkins has been a key figure and driving artistic force in not one but two bands considered integral to the Tucson desert-rock scene: the Sidewinders and the Sand Rubies. Hopkins has been at this desert-rock thing since 1985, when the Sidewinders were on a par with other revolutionary Arizona outfits like Green on Red. Within months of forming, the Sidewinders captured national attention resulting in a deal with RCA that saw them put out Witch Doctor (1987) and Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall (1990), both of which are collector's items today. Things got even crazier after legal issues led to a name change. Contemporaries of outfits like Giant Sand and the Gin Blossoms, Hopkins's band the Sand Rubies were surrounded by so much hype and expectation that they were almost mythical before they even began to play gigs and release albums.

These days Hopkins runs the eclectic Tucson label San Jacinto Records and fronts Luminarios, a rock-solid Tucson ensemble that steers a power-rock course close to that of the original Sidewinders. It's the type of rock that, when played well by men of Hopkins's savvy and experience, never goes out of style. The set will include a sampling of the twentysomething album projects Hopkins has recorded and released over the last 20 years with virtually every important rock artist attached to the potent Arizona rock scene.

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William Michael Smith