The Jetzons

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The Jetzons were an American new wave band originally based in Tempe, Arizona.

History[edit]

The band formed in 1981 after the demise of punk group Billy Clone & the Same, which disbanded due to the heroin overdose and death of bandleader Mike Corte. Former Billy Clone guitarist Bruce Connole and bassist Damon Doiron performed briefly as The Burning Flamingos before adding keyboardist Brad Buxer and drummer Steve Golladay to form The Jetzons.[1][2]

After moving to Los Angeles in 1982, The Jetzons released the EP Made in United States. Tracks were recorded at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles and Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA as well as Pantheon Studios in Scottsdale, AZ.[3] The record was released on Pan American Records. Though the EP was well received by its fanbase and critics, Connole's own heroin addiction made him difficult to work with and uncooperative, stalling any progress at recording a follow-up and making touring outside of the Los Angeles area impossible. The group played its final gig in July 1983,[2] though they would not formally disband. By 1986, Connole had officially quit the band and returned to Tempe, and the subsequent formation of the country-inflected The Strand by Connole and Doiron signaled the demise of the Jetzons.[1][2][4] A Jetzons reunion gig was planned for New Year's Eve in 1991 but was unfortunately canceled last minute due to a power outage.[1]

In 2008, independent label Fervor Records reissued Made in United States as The Complete Jetzons [5][6] and included several previously unreleased tracks. The Complete Jetzons was followed in 2013 by a further collection entitled The Lost Masters, which was also issued by Fervor.[7]

Influence[edit]

The band was at the forefront of establishing the Tempe music scene that would soon come to national prominence by the signing of many area bands to major record labels.[8][9] They were also a very popular live band, known for their mixture of covers and originals.[9][10]

“I remember when I first joined the band, someone said, "That's Robin. He's in a local group called the Gin Blossoms -- they're almost as good as the Jetzons." Man, I remember hearing that and, at the time, just to be considered in the same breath as those guys was better than selling a million records. That's how important they were.”[1] -Robin Wilson, singer, Gin Blossoms

Following The Jetzons[edit]

After the Jetzons breakup, keyboardist Brad Buxer went on to work with Mathew Wilder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder and was musical director for Michael Jackson for over 18 years.[10][11][12] While Buxer worked in collaboration with Jackson, the duo composed music for the 1994 video game, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which included synthesized, instrumental versions of the then unreleased Jetzons song "Hard Times".[13]

Guitarist and lead vocalist Bruce Connole has led a long list of bands including The Strand, The Cryptics,[14] The Pearl Chuckers,[15] and The Busted Hearts.[16] In the late 90s, Connole reunited with Buxer for the band The Suicide Kings, which has also used the name The Revenants at times to avoid legal problems.[4][10][17]

Bassist Damon Doiron has continued playing music, including a short-lived stint in 1985 as lead vocalist in Doug Hopkin's band Algebra Ranch,[9] as well as participating with Connole in the Strand in the late 80s. More recently, he has played in the pop band The Jennys.[1]

The Sonic 3 (and Knuckles) Controversy[edit]

On December 11, 2009, independent record label Fervor Records posted a few of The Jetzons' previously unreleased songs on YouTube. These songs were contained on the Fervor Records release The Complete Jetzons.[18] One of the songs posted, "Hard Times," unintentionally sparked renewed interest in the 1994 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 controversy which involved Michael Jackson and his possible uncredited musical contributions to the game. The Jetzons' "Hard Times" sounds noticeably similar to Sonic 3's theme "Ice Cap Zone."[19] The comparison was all the more intriguing because[clarification needed] Brad Buxer was the keyboardist for The Jetzons, arranger, and music director for Michael Jackson.[20]

For more than a decade, both Sega and Jackson denied Jackson's involvement in Sonic 3. As of 2017, Sega continues to deny his involvement. However, recent interviews with former Sega composers and executives (including Brad Buxer, Howard Drossin, and Roger Hector) suggest that fans and gamers were likely correct: Michael Jackson was involved in composing music for Sonic 3.[21] [22]

However, in regards to the "Ice Cap Zone theme," and its similarity with the song "Hard Times," current available public records from the US Performance Rights Societies ASCAP and BMI show Buxer is listed as an ASCAP affiliated songwriter, and Connole as a BMI affiliated songwriter. ASCAP does not list Buxer as an author of the song "Hard Times." Buxer is credited as a co-writer on two Jetzons songs with Connole, "You," and "4-3-1." BMI lists Connole as the sole writer of "Hard Times."[23][24][25]

TV and Film[edit]

The Jetzons' music has been featured in various TV shows and film. In June 2017, Pitchfork magazine discussed the Netflix comedy series GLOW and music supervisor Bruce Gilbert, commenting that he utilizes more obscure artists from the 80s, such as The Jetzons, to give the show a less-cliche but still authentic 1980s feel.[26] In September 2013, The Phoenix New Times made similar remarks regarding the use of The Jetzon's songs "4-3-1" and "Angel" in the 2013 Lionsgate film, The Frozen Ground.[27][28]

Song Album Title Network/Production Co. Episode
"4-3-1" The Complete Jetzons The Frozen Ground (2013) Lionsgate --
Red Oaks Amazon Studios S1E1
GLOW Netflix S1E3
"Angel" The Complete Jetzons GLOW Netflix S1E9
"Hard Times" The Complete Jetzons Brothers and Sisters ABC S4E14
Fairly Legal USA Network S2E7
The Middle ABC S6E10
Red Oaks Amazon Studios S1E4
The Americans FX S5E11
"I Love You" The Complete Jetzons Parenthood NBC S3E12
Red Oaks Amazon Studios S2E10
Mindhunter Netflix S1E1
"I Won't Wait No More" The Complete Jetzons Red Oaks Amazon Studios S1E1
"The Real Time" The Complete Jetzons The Frozen Ground (2013) Lionsgate --
Halt and Catch Fire AMC S3E7
"She Has Won" The Lost Masters Halt and Catch Fire AMC S3E7
The Americans FX S5E13
"When the Sun Goes Down" The Complete Jetzons How I Met Your Mother CBS S8E18
Red Oaks Amazon Studios S1E5
Stranger Things Netflix S2E5
Haters Back Off Netflix S2E4
"I Can't Sleep at Night" The Lost Masters Red Oaks Amazon Studios S3E3

Discography[edit]

EPs[edit]

Year Title
1982 Made in United States
  • Released: 1982
  • Format: 12" Vinyl
2008 The Complete Jetzons
  • Released September 12, 2008
  • Format: Digital
2013 The Lost Masters
  • Released: August 13, 2013
  • Format: Download

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Mohawks and Mullets
  2. ^ a b c Reformed and Re-Formed
  3. ^ The Jetzons at Discogs
  4. ^ a b Playing with the King of Hearts
  5. ^ Fervor Records Catalog
  6. ^ The Complete Jetzons
  7. ^ The Lost Masters
  8. ^ Danny Zelisko Q&A Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b c Life After Death
  10. ^ a b c Revamped Revenants Rev Up Again
  11. ^ Brad Buxer Discography at Discogs
  12. ^ Brad Buxer discusses Michael Jackson's "Who Is It" video
  13. ^ Fervor Records at Center of Sonic The Hedgehog / Michael Jackson Musical Mystery
  14. ^ AZ Local:Cryptics
  15. ^ Bruce's Lament
  16. ^ iBluegrass
  17. ^ The Suicide Kings Get Name Back
  18. ^ https://www.discogs.com/The-Jetzons-The-Complete-Jetzons/master/1221064
  19. ^ http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music/a-michael-jackson-sonic-the-hedgehog-conspiracy-runs-through-arizona-6620734
  20. ^ http://info.sonicretro.org/Michael_Jackson_Involvement_with_Sonic_3#Brad_Buxer_Interview
  21. ^ http://testkitchen.huffingtonpost.com/michaeljacksonsonic/#2/
  22. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6858197/michael-jackson-sonic-hedgehog-3-music-theory
  23. ^ https://www.ascap.com/repertory#ace/search/writer/Buxer/performer/The%20Jetzons
  24. ^ https://www.ascap.com/repertory#ace/writer/125949944/BUXER%20BRADLEY%20D
  25. ^ http://repertoire.bmi.com/DetailView.aspx?detail=titleid&keyid=9375775&ShowNbr=0&ShowSeqNbr=0&blnWriter=True&blnPublisher=True&blnArtist=True&blnAltTitles=True
  26. ^ https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/netflix-glow-music-supervision-escapes-80s-soundtrack-cliche/
  27. ^ http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music/why-arizona-80s-bands-like-the-jetzons-are-featured-in-nicolas-cages-the-frozen-ground-6595479
  28. ^ "Music by The Jetzons". Tunefind. Retrieved 2017-09-22.