(L-R) Jason Heckenible, Fred Jenkins, Doug Walker and Jeff Kilpatrick of The Insurgency kick out a tight punk rock set every time they hit the stage. Photo: Martin Rivero
This month’s Localized, on June 15, showcases two hard-rocking groups of completely different spectrums. Salty old-school punkers The Insurgency and dusty vagabond gypsies Hectic Hobo will share the stage and are sure to generate two sets you can easily jerk your limbs to. To round out the evening, indie-blues cross-pollinators The Red on Black will be opening. Per usual, the event is 21+ at Urban Lounge, free until 10:30 p.m. then $5 at the door. The show is presented by GigViz.com, the ultimate online-viewing tube for you underage babies, child-addled hermits and those in faraway lands.
Like a true band of misfits, The Insurgency sauntered across The Republican, beers in hand, and introduced themselves with gusto and a few silly jokes. The Insurgency (Doug Walker, vocals; Jeff Kilpatrick, guitar; Jason Heckenible, bass; and Fred Jenkins, percussion) are experienced performers in many walks of music, and have described this particular group, out of all the others they have played with before, as the one that both pushes them the most and works most cooperatively together. Their hard work has formed a gritty garage punk ensemble that apparently has all the elements—except a steady fanbase. Well, the boys deserve better than that, so let me inform you of the ins and outs of why this band has become another one of my local favorites.
Walker formed The Insurgency more than 10 years ago—the remaining members of the band came together later. “Jeff lives across the street, so he came over and started playing. We lost some members and gained some members … Now, I’m with these guys,” Walker says. When the current lineup began playing together, they all squished claustrophobically into Walker’s basement. Soon after, they realized Kilpatrick has a large basement that they had been overlooking. It’s been so convenient that, four years later, they’re still playing with the full, live setup at Kilpatrick’s house.
Last December, the band recorded their second album, 121212, and have spent their remaining time playing shows around Salt Lake. “I’ve been in the process of doing all the cover work [for the album]. We hope to have it all printed up and ready to go for the show in June,” Walker says. The Insurgency tend to pride themselves most on the exceptional sound of their live shows. “A comment that we often get is that the band is really tight. We rehearse beforehand, so we know what we are going to play before we go on,” Kilpatrick says. At every show, they close with one or two covers, which all members see as important to help give a boost to the bands following them. This rounds out the show, and allows for a reminiscent sense of closure to their set.
“Insurgency” is a loaded word, so I asked Walker to describe to me what his band’s name means to him. “I came up with it with the guy I played with before. To me, it means a rising up or an overcoming,” he says. This weighs heavily on their lyrical content, which tends to be political. “I pull mostly from my school background in political science. I think most of what I have to say has some type of political bend to it—maybe not overtly, but there’s something there,” Walker says.
All four band members adamantly described their music as fast-paced. With their specific focus, The Insurgency feel they can easily set themselves apart in the local music scene. “If you listen to our album and then you listen to us live, you would think either we were better live or just as good as the album,” Walker says. Kilpatrick’s style reinforces the band’s cogent live performance—he says, “I don’t use any guitar pedals or effects. I plug my guitar straight into the amplifier and go. It doesn’t seem like I see that very often.” According to Jenkins, The Insurgency are multi-dimensional, and are especially good at being obnoxious, in addition to having a “good dynamic range and a real driving feel,” he says. Heckenible, Kilpatrick and Walker played music in Salt Lake long before The Insurgency, so they have a good grasp on how the punk rock scene has changed over the last 10 years. “Through the years that I’ve played, I’ve noticed a lot of people have matured, and their music has gotten better. There are younger bands coming out, and they’re just kicking our asses, so it’s our job to step it up. Even as a player of my age, I can get a lot of inspiration from the young kids,” Heckenible says. Jenkins has only been in Salt Lake for eight years, but during that time has come to appreciate many things about the local music scene. He says, “Compared to any place I have ever been, Salt Lake City has an open mind. You can play any type of music here, and often people expect the creativity.” Walker rounds it out with a sentiment I can ALWAYS get behind: “I think Burt’s cleaning up their bathroom has to be the best thing that’s happened to punk rock in the last 10 years … Maybe 20!” he says.