Walking into the home of Andrew Milne and Jared Phelps is like walking onto the set of an independent film about hometown rock heroes on the verge of making it. The walls of the kitchen are decorated with hand screen-printed flyers promoting past shows. The living room boasts a massive collection of vinyl and a record player. They share their home with a dog named Wild Bill, a spider that lives in an ancient converted television set, and one of my fellow SLUG writers. A run-down Econoline van sits in their driveway stuffed with various pillows and sleeping bags—still packed from their most recent West coast tour. It’s a Monday night and they all seem to be in a state of semi-recovery from the weekend before. Milne spent his Saturday in a red dress and apparently “took a lot of acid.” Another band member, Sammy Harper, woke up to an unfinished keg, which was followed by massive amounts of day drinking at a local reservoir. Despite their various states of weekend disrepair, they manage to pull their shit together long enough to make spaghetti dinner with homemade pasta sauce, set the table and pair each meal with a cold can of Olympia beer.


Longtime friends, Milne, Harper and Phelps formed Spell Talk in 2007 while living in an Ogden neighborhood where drive-by shootings and molotov-cocktailed cars were commonplace. “I remember playing in that basement a lot and it had a really eerie feeling. I think that helped our rock n’ roll,” Harper says. Shortly after the band’s first West Coast tour, they moved to Salt Lake City to join what they saw as a more active music and art community. “When I was in Ogden I just felt like I got on this page and I never got off that page. That’s why I wanted to move. Here everyone is doing things … it’s a creative place,” says Phelps.


In September 2009, the three piece became four when Dylan Roe joined the band playing second guitar, harmonica and helping out with vocals. Roe says that he feels hailing from Ogden has had an affect on the band’s sound that makes them stick out in the Salt Lake music scene. “Everyone knows Ogden has a big blue collar thing. These guys definitely have … something really charming. It’s hard to explain,” Roe says.


Spell Talk plays blues and psychedelia-infused rock n’ roll in the vein of groups like Dead Meadow, The Black Lips and The Entrance Band—who the band cites as a major influence. “[Guy Blakeslee of Entrance] got the delta and the piedmont, playing more than one style of guitar all at once,” Roe says. “And then he’s psychedelic, which is another thing that we’re really into,” Milne adds. “It’s a real honor to be compared to those guys … because they’re good, dude … that bass player is good ...”