Sun City Girls

Last updated
Sun City Girls
Origin Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Years active1979–2007
Labels Placebo, Majora, Nauscopy, Eclipse, Amarillo, Abduction
Past members Alan Bishop
Richard Bishop
Charles Gocher

The Sun City Girls were an American experimental rock band, formed in 1979 in Phoenix, Arizona. From 1981 the group consisted of Alan Bishop (bass guitar, vocals), his brother Richard Bishop (guitar, piano, vocals), and Charles Gocher (drums, vocals). Their name was inspired by Sun City, Arizona, an Arizona retirement community. In 2007, Gocher died following a long battle with cancer, bringing an end to the group. [1] In a 26-year career, they produced 50 albums, 23 cassettes, 6 feature-length videos, and many other recordings. [2]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Experimental rock is a subgenre of rock music which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, and an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations.

Phoenix, Arizona State capital city in Arizona, United States

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,626,000 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the most populous American state capital, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.


They found little mainstream success, but they continue to inspire a devoted following and have recorded numerous critically acclaimed albums, released in small editions by labels like Placebo, Majora, Eclipse Records, Amarillo Records, and their own Abduction Records. Their music was hugely varied, spreading across genres such as spoken word, free improvisation, jazz and rock. Their records typically incorporated lyrics that rely heavily on their interests in mysticism, paranormal topics (especially UFOs), religious cults and other esoterica, often also manifested in their song titles, lyrics and album art. Performances by the group were often wildly unpredictable, sometimes verging on performance art, with elaborate costumes, kabuki-inspired makeup, and the creation of a festive, ritualistic atmosphere with audience participation.

<i>Following</i> 1998 film by Christopher Nolan

Following is a 1998 British neo-noir crime thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It tells the story of a young man who follows strangers around the streets of London and is drawn into a criminal underworld when he fails to keep his distance.

Eclipse Records Butler, New Jersey

Eclipse Records is an American independent record label based in Butler, New Jersey. The label is best known for bringing the Cleveland band Mushroomhead to national attention. The president of the label is Chris Poland.

Amarillo Records was an independent record label owned by Gregg Turkington that operated out of San Francisco from 1992 to 2001. The label specialized in releasing experimental rock music and comedy records. It released several solo recordings by Church Of Satan founder Anton LaVey the 1996 sampler compilation You Gan't Boar Like an Eabla When You Work with Turkrys.

Critic Steve Leggett writes, "Throughout its history SCG has remained a challenging, unpredictable, and eclectic musical unit, operating outside the commercially driven aspirations of the mainstream recording industry, and the group has become somewhat of a beacon to independent musicians and artists everywhere." [3] Writing in the Village Voice , Ted Hendrickson argues, "They've never made any sense, conventionally speaking, and that's what makes them them." [4]


As children in Michigan, Richard and Alan Bishop took childhood musical inspiration from their grandfather, who was a Lebanese oud player. According to Richard,

Michigan State of the United States of America

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

The Lebanese people are the people inhabiting or originating from Lebanon. The term may also include those who had inhabited Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains prior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state. The religious groups among the Lebanese people are Shias (27%), Sunnis (27%), Maronites (21%), Greek Orthodox (8%), Melkites (5%), Druze (5.6%), Protestants (1%). There is a large diaspora in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

Oud pear-shaped stringed instrument

The oudArabic pronunciation: ['ʕuːd] is a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument with 11 or 13 strings grouped in 5 or 6 courses, commonly used in Egyptian, Syrian, Sudanese, Palestinian, Lebanese, Iraqi, Kurdish, ArabianYemeni, Arabian, Jewish, Persian, Greek, Armenian, Turkish, Azerbaijani, North African, Somali, and various other forms of Middle Eastern and North African music.

"His house also doubled as a meeting place for his fellow lodge members who were well versed in the Knights Templar doctrine and the Egyptian Rites of Memphis and Mithrais. They didn't buy into the "Christianization of Freemasonry" which took place at the "official" temples around town, so they met on their own on a regular basis. They still believed in the ways of the old country. There was a weird "Arabian Nights" type of magic in that house, both light and dark. My most vivid childhood dreams and experiences took place there and they were dark indeed. By the age of 10, I had an entire pantheon of different spirits catalogued in my head. But nothing about it was disturbing, it was just the way it was. It's very hard to relate what the atmosphere was all about unless one has experienced similar surroundings, but suffice it to say, I couldn't have asked for a better environment." [5]

The band originated in the Arizona punk rock scene which included Meat Puppets, JFA and The Feederz, Sun City Girls quickly began to incorporate lengthy improvisations, beat poetry, surf music, jazz, tape music, and elements of South Asian, South American, Middle Eastern and African music.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.

Meat Puppets band

Meat Puppets is an American rock band formed in January 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona. The group's original lineup was Curt Kirkwood (guitar/vocals), his brother Cris Kirkwood, and Derrick Bostrom (drums). The Kirkwood brothers met Bostrom while attending Brophy Prep High School in Phoenix. The three then moved to Tempe, Arizona, where the Kirkwood brothers purchased two adjacent homes, one of which had a shed in the back where they regularly practiced.

Until the late 1980s, most of the band's releases were issued on audio cassettes which gained legendary status among cassette culture enthusiasts. But a shift to the LP format had already begun with seminal records such as Sun City Girls (1984), Grotto of Miracles (1986), Torch of the Mystics (1990), Dawn of the Devi (1991), Bright Surroundings Dark Beginnings (1993), and Kaliflower (1994). Dante's Disneyland Inferno and 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond the Rig Veda , both double-CDs released in 1996, were perhaps the pinnacle of the band's aesthetic. Frequent SCG collaborators in recent years have included violinist Eyvind Kang and sound engineer Scott Colburn.

The Sun City Girls band remaining members currently reside in Seattle, Washington. Alan Bishop heads the label Sublime Frequencies [6] and performs and releases records under the names Alvarius B and Uncle Jim. In the early 1980s, he was in the short-lived band Paris 1942 with Maureen Tucker from the Velvet Underground. In 2005, he edited a compilation titled Crime and Dissonance of Ennio Morricone's late 1960s and early 1970s soundtrack work. Rick Bishop performs as a solo guitarist under the name Sir Richard Bishop. Charles Gocher released a solo CD called Pint Sized Spartacus in 1997, and performed with a number of groups, including the Master Musicians of Bukkake, Tripod, and the New Session People.

After Gocher's death, Alan and Rick announced that they would no longer perform or record music using the Sun City Girls name. However, they do plan to release existing archival Sun City Girls recordings as time permits.


Note: The cassettes released by Cloaven c. 1987-1990 are listed in the order they were released. The dates of the recordings appear after the album titles.

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  1. "Sun City Girls' Charles Gocher, R.I.P." Article on Pitchfork Media . Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  2. Masters, Marc (September 11, 2012). "Underscore: Sun City Girls". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  3. Steve Leggett, "Biography for Sun City Girls",
  4. village voice > music > Sun City Girls at Knitting Factory; Funk Brothers at the Apollo Theater; Tulip Sweet and Her Trail of Tears at Pedro's Bar and Restaurant
  5. "Sun City Girls- Rick Bishop interview". Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  6. Kurt B. Reighley, "Alan Bishop", Seattle Metropolitan, December 2008, p. 63.