Sun City Girls

Sun City Girls
Origin Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Genres Experimental rock, free improv, Avant-garde
Years active 1979–2007
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]

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.

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]


Originating from 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.

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[5] 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.

Studio albums
Soundtrack albums
Compilation albums
7-inch singles
  • And So The Dead Tongue Sang (Pulp) 1987
  • You're Never Alone With a Cigarette (Majora) 1990
  • Three Fake Female Orgasms 2x7" (Majora) 1991
  • Let's Just Lounge (Majora) 1992
  • Napoleon and Josephine (Scratch) 1992
  • Caroliner tribute (Nuf Sed) 1992 [split with Thinking Fellers Union Local 282]
  • Eye Mohini (Majora) 1992
  • Borungku Si Derita double 7" (Majora) 1993 [also issued as a single 7"]
  • Live...For Chilly (bootleg) 1993
  • Carl the Barber 2003 [split 7" with Carl Wellman]
  • Uncle Jim's True Confessions of Homeland Security (Empirical) 2003

Live albums
  • Live from Planet Boomerang 2-LP (Majora) 1992
  • Live at C.O.N. Artists LP (Poon Village) 1993
  • Bright Surroundings Dark Beginnings LP (Majora) 1993, CD reissue (Majora) 1998
  • Live from the Land of the Rising Sun City Girls CD (Japan Overseas) 1997
  • Cameo Demons and Their Manifestations CD (Abduction) 2000 - CFR vol. 1
  • The Dreamy Draw CD (Abduction) 2000 - CFR vol. 2
  • Superculto CD (Abduction) 2000 - CFR vol. 3
  • A Bullet Through the Last Temple CD (Abduction) 2000 - CFR vol. 4
  • Severed Finger With a Wedding Ring CD (Abduction) 2000 - CFR vol. 5
  • Sumatran Electric Chair CD (Abduction) 2001 - CFR vol. 6
  • Libyan Dream CD reissue (Abduction) 2001 - CFR vol. 7
  • The Handsome Stranger CD (Abduction) 2001 - CFR vol. 8
  • High Asia/Lo Pacific 2-CD reissue (Abduction) 2001 - CFR vols. 9 & 10
  • Wah CD (Abduction) 2002
  • Flute and Mask CD (Abduction) 2002
  • God is My Solar System/Superpower 2-LP reissue (Eclipse) 2003
  • Bleach Has Feelings, Too!/To Cover Up Your Right To Live 2-LP reissue (Eclipse) 2003
  • Carnival Folklore Resurrection Radio 2-CD (Abduction) 2004 - CFR vols. 11 & 12
  • The Fresh Kill of a Cape Hunting Dog / Def In Italy 2-LP reissue (Eclipse) 2004
  • 98.6 IS DEATH CD (Abduction) 2004 - CFR vol. 13
  • Folk Songs of the Rich and Evil / Exotica on $5 a Day 2-LP reissue (Eclipse) 2005
  • Uncle Jim's Superstars of Greenwich Meantime LP (Black Velvet Fuckere Records) 2005
  • Static from the Outside Set CD (Abduction) 2006 - CFR vol. 14
  • Uncle Jim's Superstars of Greenwich Meantime CD reissue (Abduction) 2006
  • Live Room CD (Three Lobed) 2006
  • Montreal Pop CD
  • Djinn Funnel LP (Nashazphone) 2006
  • Piano Bar LP (Ri Be Xibalba) 2006
  • For Drummers Only LP (Ri Be Xibalba) 2006
  • Beginnings Dark LP (Enterruption) 2007
  • Midnight Cowboys from Ipanema CS (Breakfast Without Meat) 1986, LP/CD reissue (Amarillo Records) 1994
  • God is My Solar System 1982 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Superpower 1982-83 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Hatchet Rain 1983 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Bleach Has Feelings, Too! 1983-85 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • To Cover Up Your Right To Live 1983-85 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Def in Italy 1984 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Folk Songs of The Rich and Evil 1985 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Fresh Kill of a Cape Hunting Dog 1985-86 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Exotica on Five Dollars a Day 1986 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Fruit of The Womb 1986 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Polite Deception 1986 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Famous Asthma 1986-87 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • The Palm Leaves of Victory 1986-87 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Cloaven Theatre No. 1 1987 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Cloaven Theatre No. 2 1987 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • Tibetan Jazz 666 1987 CS (Cloaven) 1987
  • The Multiple Hallucinations of an Assassin 1987-88 CS (Cloaven) 1989
  • Cloaven Theatre No. 3 1988 CS (Cloaven) 1989
  • Audio Letter to Mitch Meyers 1988 CS (Cloaven) 1989
  • That Old Western Sieve 1988 CS (Cloaven) 1989
  • Graverobbing in the Future 1988 CS (Cloaven) 1989
  • Extra-Sensory Defection CS (Cloaven) 1989
  • The Great North American Tricksters CS (Cloaven) 1990
  • Pelican 92 CS (Abduction) 1993


  1. "Sun City Girls' Charles Gocher, R.I.P.". Article on Pitchfork Media. 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. Kurt B. Reighley, "Alan Bishop", Seattle Metropolitan, December 2008, p. 63.
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