Krum Bums (courtesy of myspace.com/krumbums)
"Is this Justin Hall of Krum Bums?" I was half-expecting it to be a male prostitue, who goes by the name of Gunther, whould would then proceed to yell at me for bothering him while he was buying dope.
"It is." I felt some relief. I began to explain that I was calling about the interview and asked if he had time. "How much time?" It seemed as though my call caught him off gaurd and I began to wonder if he even knew an interview had been setup. He said he could talk with me for a moment, but by the tone of his voice, he didn't sound happy about it.
"So you guys have played in Salt Lake a few times," I began, "and do you usually enjoy playing here or do you just get booked and have to deal with it?"
"We've only played there twice. The first time we had this bullshit hassle trying to get up to the show and we were kind of late...[but] I enjoy playing pretty much anywhere... Salt Lake doesn't really stick out as bad or good." Though Salt Lake may just be another city, it was nice to hear that it doesn't suck.
"Can you tell a lot about the scene in Salt Lake just from being on-stage?" As I asked the question, I realized that is was kindof a hollow question and began wondering if I could fix it on the fly, but it was too late.
"From what I can tell, the majority of the crowd, like most places, is a bunch of [young] kids." Though I wouldn't consider a lot of the kids in the scene young, there aren't many who are older than 21, at least that I know. There are a few old school punks in SLC, but I rarely ever see them at shows.
"How do scenes differ from city-to-city?" I haven't traveled much and don't really know anything about how things work in other cities. Honestly, I hoped that there were some differences in other cities that, for me, are some major issues here. "In my opinion, scenes differ in age and how they interact with other types of music." He had touched on one of the answers I was hoping to here, and filled with me some hope. "In Austin, for instance, a lot of people are older...I mean, I'm 21 and everyone else in the band is five or six years older than me...[our scenes are also] intertwined. The hardcore scene and the street punk scene are a lot closer than they are in other cities. A lot of people here hang out together." That was precisely the answer I was hoping for. In Salt Lake, or "Grudge City," the punk and hardcore scenes are anything but intertwined. With straight-edge rumors and misconceptions (though many are made true by dick head kids trying to be hard asses) running rampant throughout the punk scene and many hardcore kids hating punk altogether, I know that's how things will stay.
Though the question of money may be very cliche or too much of a VH1 Behind The Music type of topic, was curious how an underground (underground meaning "probably makes no money") street punk group looks at it. "Money is an issue, but not, you know, in a way a lot of people might think. Money is more of an issue for us personally as far as going on tour for a long period of time and not working and not really making any money. [We] just [come] home fucking shit broke and [don't have] any. A lot of us have to quit our jobs or make a lot of sacrifices...you basically have to put your life on hold. No one can have a real career or go to school or anything just cause we're leaving all the time." I really admired that they just put all the other bullshit aside just to do what they love. "Other than that, we don't give a shit about money, we just need it to live."
Everybody has a different story about how they got into the punk scene. Their parents got them into it, one of their siblings or friends got them into it, or they just stumbled upon it. Justin's was definitely the greatest story that I've heard. "My brother kind of got me into it on accident. We used to break into cars and steal shit when we were kids. One day he found some CDs and gave them to me for 10 bucks and told me to sell them to my friends...they ended up being a bunch of Black Flag, and Op. Ivy, Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys, you know, shit like that that I had never heard before and ended up really liking."
SLC also has a lot of amazing local groups that could get signed on a label, so I figured I could ask Justin if he had any advice for any of them, in case they were to pick this up. "Try something new. You're not going to go anywhere copying the bands you grew up listening to....you kinda gotta grow, otherwise no one's gonna give a shit about what you're doing, cause everyone's done it before."