Localized: Danger Hailstorm, The Deathless Pros and Uncle Sam – December 2008

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Danger Hailstorm is a band of Salt Lake underground veterans. I sat down at Counterpoint Studios with two of the members, vocalist/ guitarist Terrance D.H. and bassist Wim Becker. Terrance had just finished engineering recordings for teen diva Vanessa Hudgens and Utah favorites, the mighty Air Supply. “I want to tell them [Air Supply] to take Wim on the road,” he said. “Cause he’s better than Jimi Hendrix.“ Terence admits however such a move could bode ill for his own band.

Photos: Chris Swainston

Terrance D.H. – Guitar, Vocals
Wim Becker – Bass
Van Christensen - Drums

Terrance will be familiar to readers from his command performance with The Stench during SLUG’s 18th-anniversary reunion show. Terrance has made numerous other contributions to local heavy music, extending as far back as the intricate stitch-and-purl metal of Bad Yodelers in the mid ‘80s, right up to the recent bong-loaded stoner doom of Cache Tolman’s Skullfuzz. Wim “Hendrix” Becker, meanwhile, has sought a much brighter, sweeter sound with his bands Cub Country and Magstatic. Win plays guitar in both. Danger Hailstorm is made a complete trio by drum juggernaut Van Christensen. The result is a stripped-down, jacked-up version of vintage buttrock. It would take a piss-poor attitude not to jump in back and joyride with these guys.

Terrance and Wim told me Danger Hailstorm came out of a renewed interest in music they loved in the past. Wim enthused over the tight ensemble sound of The Ramones, while Terence, a huge SRV fan, lamented the disappearance of tasty guitar solos. “It’s a lost art,” he said, “vanished like certain pieces of choice gear.” Terrance grew wistful at the thought of the Taurus bass pedals used by Rush. “I should have bought some in the ‘80s. Now they go for thousands.”

The right equipment is vital, all band members agreed. Massive cabinets are not empty show, Wim insisted. “They’re essential for the proper tone.” Terrance continues to work with the same workhorse gear – guitars, amps and drums - that he first used back in the day. He points out a massive kick drum and tells me most drummers who auditioned for Danger Hailstorm couldn’t handle a rig on this scale. Van Chistensen’s capacity to be the boss of it made him the natural choice. Danger Hailstorm’s sound is a direction function of this collection of sturdy gear. The punching and bouncing riffs, fused to boot-stomping beats, immediately recall anthems penned by Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. Atop this foundation stand Terrance’s distinctive vocals. High-ranging but throaty, they recall those of Crue singer Vince Neil, though, fortunately, sans the nagging and requiring less doctoring to feel good. The band also draws in other ‘80s influences, such as the shimmering arpeggios of post-core legends Dag Nasty and the pop flavoring of acid-wash gods Def Leppard. If you survived the ‘80s rock scene, or just wish you did, Danger Hailstorm has the sugar to give.

Also featured in this month’s Localized is The Deathless Pros. Another power trio, the DPs stand on no ceremony, unless said ceremony contains binge drinking, criminal indecency and the wanton mistreatment of non-regenerative body tissues. Internal injuries will, no doubt, be the order of the evening. Such injuries will be sustained by members of the band, at the very least.

Toki Von Frosst – Guitar, Vocals
Anna Crash – Bass, Vocals
Jens Jansonic - Drums

The Deathless Pros lineup includes guitaristat- large Toki Von Frosst, also of 18 Wheels of Justice, Spork and, lately, a Spork tribute band called Feel The Sport. “We play five nights a week at an eponymous theme restaurant on the Vegas strip,” Frosst sarcasticly states. Anna Crash, who “plays a giant bass and will sing your fucking heart out,” also raises hair with various side projects, including Other Pocket, SABA, Racket and Trashmodels. All primness, “Can I say fuck?” she queried. At the drums sits Jens Jansonic, concurrently a member of Swamp Donkeys and Novaburn. “The more bands, the more free beer,” Jason declared. All members agree alcohol is a primary motivating force behind the band’s activities. When asked about how they situate themselves with respect to other local acts, Jason insisted, “We want to be the loudest, and the drunkest. OK, Maybe just the drunkest.” Anna Crash puts it more cautiously: “How many drinks can I have and still sing ‘Dixie?’” “She has thirteen beers and writes a great riff,” Bill says, “and then I trash it with a gratuitous guitar solo.” Bill, ever an image-conscious performer, continued, “I want the audience to notice me, to see when my beer is empty and get me another.”

I asked the Deathless Pros what surprises they are encountering as the band develops. Frosst said he has been greatly impressed by Jasonic’s enduring sexual prowess. “The dude has more stories than Penthouse Forum.”

Though The Deathless Pros hold the current Salt Lake music scene in high esteem,Frosst keeps his gaze fixed firmly on the future. “I await a day when everyone cashes in and just plays Guitar Hero or Rock Band.” To this, Jasonic, a more worldly philosopher, countered, “I’ve already seen a lot of people in my neighborhood with Hero guitars. I have to say, the future is now.” On the other more primitive end of the digital dial, Anna Crash hopes to see rootsy music return to the Salt Lake underground. “A really kick-ass bluegrass band, that would be nice.”

Danger Hailstorm and The Deathless Pros will be playing Localized with openers Uncle Scam on Friday, December 12th, at The Urban Lounge. Your presence is requested.