It's beginning to look like Christmas, and, like the clearance sales, frigid 70-degree temps and the swelling population influx of out-of-state blue-hairs leaving reasonably predictable weather patterns back east, the demographic of committed year-round Tucson residents who fancy themselves arbiters of culture are just as much creatures of habit, filling in holiday-themed gatherings in the city's vast downtown cultural center, which consists of about three city blocks.
One yearly tradition for the local music community is the Tucson Rock Lottery, held this year at the Flycatcher on Saturday, December 10, with proceeds benefitting the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
The Rock Lottery's rules are simple: 25 hot-shot local musicians are divided into five categories corresponding to the instrument they play.Through a paper lottery on the morning of the event, five players from each category—guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists and singers—are randomly grouped together into five bands with five members each. Each band has 12 hours to christen themselves, compose four original songs, learn to play an additional cover track, and then perform all the material in front of an audience later that night.
In a display of the Rock Lottery organizers' apparent obsession with reinforcing contested millennial stereotypes, all participants go home winners because they learned the invaluable lesson of how to sit for 12 hours in a room with some asshole ska drummer and not break any of the Ten Commandments.
A few years back, as detailed in this completely fictitious account, the nascent Rock Lottery employed a cutthroat panel of celebrity judges to declare a winner. There was the American Idol figurehead, the Pontius Pilate-lite Simon Cowell; hipster tastemaker music website Pitchfork.com, in human form, like when the word of God became flesh through the Christ; OG African Messiah/pop-star double agent Chris Martin; and Grammy-winning country-rock pioneer and Tucson royalty, Linda Ronstadt.
Adding to the remarkable historical weight of the event was many of the bands who'd formed that day went on to become acclaimed in and outside of Tucson— including a debut performance by country punk standard-bearers Texas Trash & the Trainwrecks—which shrouded the atmosphere in heavy significance.
As for the judges, Ronstadt was delighted but Pitchfork (who coldly responded with a 4.9 out of a possible 10 score), Martin and Cowell's bourgeois dismissal of the Trainwrecks elicited a barrage of retorts from frontman Terry Trash, who in a dazzling exhibit of prescience, pointed his finger at the judges and sneered out of his contorted visage, "You're Fired!," clearly proving he knew Donald Trump would somehow win the presidential election he'd not yet expressed interest in running in. Trash concluded with a mic-drop moment of poking out Martin's eyes by combining marksman-level aim with an airborne prosthetic limb. Bingo, dingo!
Go to the Rock Lottery Benefit. Cost is five bucks or two food items. (For info on what food items are needed, visit communityfoodbank.org.) Saturday, Dec. 10 at The Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St. Tucson. 9 p.m. 21+.