September 15, 2005: Headlines: COS - Paraguay: Music: Arizona Daily Star: Paraguay RPCV Rich Hopkins leads the Sidewinders, one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Paraguay: Peace Corps Paraguay: The Peace Corps in Paraguay: September 15, 2005: Headlines: COS - Paraguay: Music: Arizona Daily Star: Paraguay RPCV Rich Hopkins leads the Sidewinders, one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands

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Paraguay RPCV Rich Hopkins leads the Sidewinders, one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands

Paraguay RPCV Rich Hopkins leads the Sidewinders, one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands

"I started when I was in the Peace Corps in 1981 in Paraguay, South America. It was just something fun to do. Everyone played music down there. I had always wanted to play music, but it took me until I got out of college and had time. I always wanted to play music as a kid, but my parents didn't really encourage me to do that so it took me a long time to get around to doing what I really always dreamed of doing."

Paraguay RPCV Rich Hopkins leads the Sidewinders, one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands

Rich Hopkins

Sep 15, 2005

Arizona Daily Star
SOUNDZ

Guitarist for Luminarios

Age: 47

For the record: The Sidewinders, one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands, formed in 1985 in a rather unexpected way.

Guitarist Rich Hopkins recorded the instrumentals for a four- song demo with studio man David Slutes. However, when Hopkins got the songs back, one of them included vocals. Slutes had written lyrics to go with Hopkins' instrumentals and sang them on the recording.

"That's kind of how the Sidewinders came into being," Hopkins said. "It was a fluke thing, but Dave impressed me by putting his vocals on a song without me asking."

The band played rock in the vein of Neil Young and Tom Petty, but with an unmistakable dusty, desert quality to the sound. The Sidewinders went on to be one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands. It signed to major record labels - Mammoth and RCA - and toured internationally.

A legal wrangle in the early '90s forced the band to change its name to the Sand Rubies, which was the beginning of the end, Hopkins said. The band broke up in 1993. The Sand Rubies reunited a couple years later and still play the occasional show, but Hopkins' side project is now his main muse.

Almost immediately after the Sand Rubies breakup, Hopkins formed Rich Hopkins & Luminarios. The band stays within the Sidewinders' format of desert power rock, but Hopkins has total creative control over the songwriting and lyrics and also sings.

When did you start playing music?

"I started when I was in the Peace Corps in 1981 in Paraguay, South America. It was just something fun to do. Everyone played music down there. I had always wanted to play music, but it took me until I got out of college and had time. I always wanted to play music as a kid, but my parents didn't really encourage me to do that so it took me a long time to get around to doing what I really always dreamed of doing."

What is your career highlight?

"For the Sidewinders, it was when we first went to New York City to impress the label people. They wanted to see what we were like because they heard our record 'Witch Doctor.' We went out there and got the record deal based upon our live performance, and that was one of the most exciting nights of my life."

What is your musical goal?

"I would love to basically get back to a point where I really could open for bands like Tom Petty and Neil Young because that's kind of where I see myself, and I think I'm really good enough and the band is good enough. But I think it's a combination of what length are you willing to go to to get there and try to 'make it again' and also the right timing. Life is a combination of work and timing."

Are there any plans for a Sand Rubies reunion tour?

"Dave and I are talking about writing and recording a new record by the end of this year. We're going to really try to do it again. If we can come up with a new album, we can go back to Europe and do another tour. I don't have any expectations beyond that, but that's good enough, just to have fun and create."

NOW PLAYING

Rich Hopkins & Luminarios will perform with the Zen Lunatics 9:30 p.m. Friday at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Tickets for the age-21-and- older show are $4, 798-1298.

Sarah Mauet. To suggest someone for this column, e-mail cburch@azstarnet.com.





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Story Source: Arizona Daily Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Paraguay; Music

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