SLUG is on the cusp. The big One-Six. Old enough to date. Uh, group-date, that is. Old enough to get into clubs with a fake I.D. and a whole lotta makeup (SLUG is a “she,” after all). Old enough to drive. And old enough to drive men insane. Old enough to drink beer in Germany. Old enough to drink beer and hard alcohol in Spain and Italy. And to celebrate, we’re putting together a special birthday issue. Every Sweet Sixteen party needs guests and here at SLUG, we needed the following guests, faithful supporters and vets of the local music scene. Each answered four burning questions about their memories and impressions of SLUG, which are listed below. Read their equally burning answers which follow. Self-aggrandizement rules.
1. What was your first impression and/or encounter with SLUG Magazine
2. What is your favorite issue, article, or cover story, etc. …?
3. What is your Favorite SLUG event?
4. Why does Utah need SLUG? What is the local importance of SLUG?
Associate Editor, Salt Lake City Weekly
and former SLUG hack, 1993-96:
1. I picked up the first issue with Fishbone on the cover at the Speedway Café. My impression was, “Not bad, but what this mag really needs is a hot brunette in charge.”
2. One issue in the early 90s had Henry Rollins on the cover, and Gianni Ellefsen asked me, “Who the fuck is Henry Rollins?” I said, “Uh, from Black Flag? The Rollins Band? He’s sort of a punk icon.” Blank stare. Two years later, this guy was running SLUG. The irony never fails to crack me up.
3. Used to be the SLUG Queen Pageant, but you geniuses canceled that. Until you bring it back or establish an annual Helen Wolf Appreciation Weekend, I’ll have to go with Localized.
4. Utah needs SLUG because a big chunk of the local culture’s underbelly would otherwise be without a voice, in fact, it should be renamed SLUB, Salt Lake Underbelly. It’s not like you’re going to get in-depth skateboarding and bellydancing coverage in a Stepford rag like Salt Lake Magazine. Of local importance, I’d like to believe that SLUG will infuse more freethinking people interested in writing into the market, so we won’t have to rely completely on talentless hacks like me in the future.
Owner, Kilby Court
1. First encounter with SLUG was when I was in High School. I was a young kid that wanted to get involved, so I was allowed to deliver SLUGs for a while. As a nerdy high-school kid I felt important.
2. Helen Wolf was my favorite. So funny!
3. SLUG’s Women in Rock Showcase. Two nights of really cool bands that were primarily made of girls, or guys that seemed like girls.
4. SLUG reaches the audience that all other papers try to reach, but never do. It is a fundamental part of the community, because it reflects the interests of the youth-at least the youth that are interesting anyway. The kids that don’t read SLUG are probably pretty boring, but I can’t say for sure because I don’t know any …
Founder, City Weekly
1. JR. Ruppel worked for me building ads and laying out our paper (Private Eye back then, now City Weekly) near the same time he started SLUG. He used our computer and the stuff in our office to put SLUG together for quite some time.
2. I’ve always liked the sass of SLUG. My favorite columnists were Helen Wolf, Lars, and JR’s brother who wrote “Uncle Ezra.”
4. SLUG is another voice and Utah needs more voices. Its role and place in this community cannot be dismissed.
Reporter, Arts, Entertainment & Culture
Salt Lake Tribune
1. Sixteen years ago, I was a dorky high-school kid in Ogden who spent most weekends coming to Salt Lake City for shows at the Speedway Cafe or the Painted Word. I can’t remember exactly what my first impression was, but it must have been pretty good since I still pick up SLUG every month.
2. The Riverbed Jed cover circa ’93 or ’94, based solely on the fact that my roommate at the time, the sexy/sweet Michael Hessling, was in the band and she wore my favorite western shirt for the cover photo. I still have a yellowed, deteriorating copy of it somewhere. And “Dear Dickheads” is always worth a chuckle, especially the editor’s responses. And it’s amusing for “old” guys like me to read letters from people bemoaning the lack of support for local music, just like we complained about it 16 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago.
3. I got a job working security at the Speedway when I moved to Salt Lake City in 1989, and I volunteered to work the first couple of Sabbathons. I still have the T-shirt from Sabbathon ’90 tucked in a box somewhere, which brings back many hazy, drunken but fond memories. Sadly, my other SLUG T-shirt from that era fell apart years ago. Like most of the bands.
4. SLUG’s importance probably can’t be measured, but I’m sure it gives people who often feel disenfranchised in our “pretty great state” the feeling that at least there is a voice out there shouting for them. Congrats on 16 years, SLUG. I know you’re not old enough to buy a drink yet, but maybe I can slip you a beer in the parking lot.
Local Music Vet
(Puri-Do, Purr Bats)
1. My first impression of SLUG was “Oooh, ahh,” when it first started when I was but a wee lad. Was living down in deepest darkest Utah Valley at the time, and was excited by the idea of a local music paper that covered cool stuff.
2. Favorite issue so far would probably be the Legendary Pink Dots issue. There are few mags would have the balls or sense of magic to put those guys on the cover.
3. Favorite SLUG event was when we (Purr Bats) played Localized with the Ursula Tree and Rope or Bullets. That was such a fun show to play and I love those other bands.
4. Utah needs SLUG to expose people to things they wouldn’t get exposed to otherwise. I’m glad and grateful that SLUG has been branching out and covering all sorts of things and more genres of music-even ones I don’t care for.
Bassist, Form of Rocket
1. I remember seeing SLUG when it was an all black-and-white mag when I first moved to Salt Lake at Raunch Records around 1993. I just thought that it was cool that there was a local mag that covered punk rock and some bands that I was interested in.
2. I can’t remember who wrote it or what the piece was called, but I remember reading a short story that you published by a guy who was contemplating the meaning of a taking a crap.
3. Localized maybe.
4. It’s nice to have a magazine in town that covers underground music, locally and nationally. I would suggest that local music take more of a precedent in the magazine.
Lead vocalist, Her Candane
1. I don’t think I can remember that far back, but I so do remember being “down as James Brown” that someone was putting time and attention into the local scene in a positive way.
2. I love the local spotlights and Localized articles.
3. Death by Salt … Localized … Sabbathon … etc.
4. Cuz damn…I can’t carry this scene all by myself!
Local Music Vet
(Thunderfist, The Beaumonts, The Pimp Grenade, Poopee D and the SLC Allstars, The Killpatricks)
1. I met Angela Brown in 1998 and asked her about SLUG. She told me to come in and get a few CDs to review. Next thing I knew, I had interviewed the Supersuckers, Danzig and Steve Albini.
2. The one with the Motörhead interview. Lemmy was the coolest guy I have ever talked to in my life! Not only was his interview good, but I got to see my name next to Motörhead.
3. The SLUG Anniversary Parties are off the frickin’ hook.
4. SLUG is representative of the seedy underbelly that makes SLC great. Whether it be Localized, Death by Salt, anniversary parties, snowboard events, or whatever, SLUG always finds the coolest local acts to involve.
Goth Scene Queen, Local Goth DJ Vet
2. I think it was an interview with The Damned a few years ago, shortly after 9-11. The inset was a comment by Patricia Morrison explaining that they decided to continue their tour because they refused to let the bastards get them down.
3. We had fun at Sabbathon, even though Redemption’s backtracks got a bit soggy and they had to play acoustic.
4. It helps encourage a diverse community within the underground, which has become very compartmentalized over the years. SLUG gathers all those factions of the underground together into a stronger whole.
Bad Brad Wheeler
Booker, Brewski’s, Local Music Vet
1. Discovering SLUG was like meeting that friend in junior high who showed you how to smoke pot, buy beer underage, and where to find your dad’s nasty magazine collection.
2. The one with T-Model Ford on the cover. That old dude is the epitome of underground music and culture. Punk music is no different then any other music in America in the fact that it comes from the blues just like everything else-jazz, funk, rock and roll, country. I thought the issue with T-Model Ford was not only awesome for exploring these connections between punk and blues but also for acknowledging the efforts of a 70+-year old man who has suffered all his life under brutal conditions of slavery and segregation only to rise above them through the power of music and its ability to transform situations into opportunities of expression and abstract thought. SLUG has always sought deep down inside to recognize art as well as artists no matter who or what they do.
3. Damn those Old Sabbathons used to really kick it in the ass; those things seemed like they would go on for three days straight.
4. It’s the only place in Utah where you’re gonna find a review of the Acid Mothers sitting next to a review of RL Burnside. SLUG allows artists to find their audience, as well as allow listeners to find artists. It has altered the cultural landscape in Utah permanently in a good way.
5. I deeply miss Willam Athey’s writings and wish he would return to his calling in life which is to inform, educate, rant and rave about the current state of music in both Utah as well as on the national scene. Athey, if you’re out there reading this, please return to your desk, and start writing some shit-we miss you and want you to come back.
Local Music Vet
(Mouthbreather, Ambergris, Optimus Prime, Purr Bats)
1. I first heard about SLUG when I got stoned at JR Ruppel’s house.
2. I’ve enjoyed playing at SLUG Localized events with Purr Bats and Optimus Prime. Also, when I took SLUG’s virginity, that was one of my favorite SLUG events.
3. The Mouthbreather issue-because they were so dangerous. There was a big, open mouth on the cover that was black and blue and white.
4. SLUG is a great way to keep on top of the when and where of my favorite local bands and is a fun and affordable advertising venue for my business, Moxie.
1. I had just moved to Salt Lake from Tennessee in 1997 and I saw SLUG at a coffeeshop. I was excited to see such a bold underground publication in a seemlingly conservative town.
2. The Kilby Court cover story, of course! I love Richard Visick’s cartoon versions of Phil and the Kilby dogs (Lucky and Cade)
3. I had a lot of fun at the 13th Anniversary party-I went around taking pictures of the crowd just for fun and drank a bunch of gin & tonics … I haven’t been to many other events because finding a babysitter isn’t so easy.
4. Seeing and reading about Utah counterculture is refreshing when you’ve just been cut off by an SUV with a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker.
Owner, Grunts & Postures
1. When I first moved to Salt Lake from Philadelphia 13 years ago, I really didn’t know anyone outside of my hippie roommates, and didn’t know where to go to listen to music. SLUG was a good place to start.
2. I always look forward to reading Localized and Dear Dickheads, and I miss reading “What’s Up With George”… I have a little routine to the way I read SLUG, and usually the cover stories are usually more like dessert to what I have already read.
3. This is a toss-up between Sabbathon and the release of the Death by Salt CD. Sabbathon is always a lot of fun, and my little boys LOVE it.
4. Utah needs SLUG to let people know what is going on right under their own noses … SLUG supports local artists and musicians by informing and often inspiring its artful readers on what is interesting and happening in our fair little city. . What would we do without the SLUG calendar??!!
1. Hanging out at Raunch. Young and punk rock, looking for fun.
2. They’re all great. How do you pick?
3. The SLUG Queen contest was always entertaining.
4. It’s awesome to read about local events and not have it tainted with religious or corporate views.
(Redd Page, On Vibrato, Kid Medusa and the Skeletons, Phono)
1. I remember about ten years ago, loitering in “Raunch Records”, when the shop was still open in Sugarhouse (where I spent most of my time skateboarding). Flipping through SLUG magazine (back when the cover was still black and white). It made me feel pretty clued in, and cultured.
2. I think (quite predictably) my favorite issues would have to be the “Female Rockers Bust Gender Barriers In Utah” issue, and “The Women In Music” issue.
3. Localized / Sabbathon.
4. Because most of Utah’s unconventional culture is underground, it is necessary to publish information so that we (as an unconventional / underground society) stay connected and informed about local art and ideas.
In most other cities, the art and ideas published in SLUG are not so uncommon and “underground”. Utah is blessed with many talented artists that would otherwise go unmentioned, unnoticed, and unsupported if it weren’t for the interest of SLUG.
SLUG is the key to underground culture in Utah, and a fucking great community.