Saturday, March 28, 2015

spotlight blog

Rob Halford

PHM0315Flash-HalfordRob Halford
Judas Priest Singer

 Judas Priest singer Rob Halford qualifies as the godfather of heavy metal music – he’s influenced countless singers in the genre over the past 40 years, sold more than 46 million records and established the genre’s leather-and-studs-look. After leaving the band in 1992 to work on other heavy metal projects, Halford rejoined in 2003, resuming Judas Priest’s upward trajectory. The band’s 2014 record Redeemer of Souls was its 17th studio album, and first to debut in the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard charts. Halford splits his time between his homes in his native Walsall, England and Phoenix. He perks up when we mention the monsoon season, and complains about his Paradise Valley neighbor, Alice Cooper (“We never see each other!”). We recently sat down with the oft-professed “metal god” to discuss his future as a full-time Phoenix resident, new musical endeavors and his dream dinner party.

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Linda Cobb

PHM0215Flash-3-LindaCobbSanitation Guru

No job is too dirty for Linda Cobb, aka “The Queen of Clean,”  though her two beloved cats provide some of her biggest cleaning challenges. “Finn has a delicate stomach, so he gives me a lot of research material,” Cobb says. A 20-year Valley resident, Cobb has spent decades concocting natural cleaning solutions and sharing them around the country, selling more than 7 million copies of her books and appearing on more than 70 talk radio shows a month. As for pets, she shares, “If the cat has a hairball, or the spaghetti doesn’t agree with the dog, cover it completely with baking soda. Wait until it dries, and vacuum it with the hose.” Look for more tips in Cobb’s upcoming cleaning mobile app.

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Craig Jackson

PHM0115Flash-1-JacksonBarrett-Jackson Boss

Calling Craig Jackson “a car guy” is like calling Michael Jordan “a basketball guy.” Jackson, the scion of one-half of the partnership that founded the legendary Barrett-Jackson car auction and show (, is the car guy. Since taking over as chairman and CEO in 1995, Jackson has grown the company into “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions,” per the company’s humble self-description. And the 2015 event taking place in Scottsdale January 10-18 promises to be a banner year for the auction, which is projected to top last year’s gross of $113 million in six days, break its own Guinness World Record for largest free-standing, manmade tent, and be the first collector car show broadcast to 1.6 billion people worldwide. We sat down with Jackson in – where else? – one of his cars, a black Cadillac Escalade, to talk about cars, Arizona and his family legacy.

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Jeff Hornacek

PHM1214Flash-5-HornacekPhoenix Suns Head Coach

Jeff Hornacek was a key piece on some of the most successful teams in Suns history. The plucky shooting guard helped lead Phoenix to four 50-win seasons and two Western Conference finals during his six seasons in the Valley (1986-1992), before decamping for Philadelphia in a blockbuster trade. Last year, “Horny” returned to Phoenix as the team’s head coach, coaxing a remarkable 48-34 record out of a team with no superstars and finishing second in NBA Coach of the Year voting. Next up: Ending the Suns’ streak of four straight non-playoff seasons. PHOENIX magazine caught up with Hornacek recently to get his thoughts on that pursuit, his coaching philosophy and bear hugs from Hall of Famer Karl Malone.

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Matt McMurry

PHMPF24Record-Setting Race Car Driver

Phoenix native Matt McMurry has never seen a single movie from The Fast and the Furious franchise. This is highly ironic given that McMurry, 16, not only represents the key demographic for such eye-candy action flicks, but is also a professional race car driver who just set a world record this past summer. McMurry was the youngest competitor ever to start and finish the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, breaking the record previously set by Pedro Rodriguez, who finished Le Mans at age 17 back in 1959. Want some more irony? McMurry, currently in his junior year at Brophy College Preparatory, doesn’t even own a car yet. Vin Diesel weeps.

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George Takei

PHM1014Flash-5-TakeiStar Trek trouper and social media king

It’s been almost 50 years since George Takei first played Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu on seminal sci-fi show Star Trek, but the 77-year-old actor is more popular than ever, thanks to his late-life roles as political activist, LGBT icon and social media crackup. He came out as gay in 2005, to oppose then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto of the Marriage Equality Bill, and has since amassed more than 7.5 million followers on Facebook, all fans of his funny photos and jokey posts. Takei seems as at ease interacting with the masses as he is when relaxing at the home in Show Low, Arizona, that he shares with husband Brad Takei. We recently sat down to chat with the part-time Arizona resident, the day after he appeared at a dinner to support the Democrat candidate for Arizona governor, Fred DuVal.

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Beth McDonald

beth mcdonald99.9 KEZ-FM Host and Semi-Pro Wine Steward.

The term “radio personality” is a bit of a misnomer with Beth McDonald. Beguiling her loyal listeners with everything from recliner recommendations to reports on people who can’t stop taking photos of themselves (“Selfies Anonymous”) to her stance on gay rights, the Indiana export and morning drive-time fixture has a personality that transcends the medium. Celebrating 30 years on Valley airwaves this month, the Beth & Friends host sat down with PHOENIX magazine at Paul Martin’s American Grill in Scottsdale to reflect on her storied career – including 20 years doing the Beth & Bill show with the late Bill Austin on 99.9 KEZ-FM – and discuss yet another of her passions: wine.

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