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Photo: John Carlisle

Jon Parkin, Tino Lucero, Mike Mason and Casey Hanson are four of the nicest guys you’ll meet in an anti-Jesus setting. Gaza is one of the most notorious bands to come out of Utah in years. They are one of the few remaining bands from the original Exigent Records roster; they’ve toured the US again and again; they’ve toured Europe (and are heading back in 2011), yet they’ve somehow evaded X96’s pervasive “Live & Local coverage.” While Gaza hoodies are keeping people all over the world warm, their albums are keeping parents all over the world scared. They are a band with a message, an original sound, and with album titles like “I Don’t Care Where I Go When I Die” and “He Is Never Coming Back,” they’ve stepped onto a platform in the Utah music scene which had been empty for years.

SLUG: Tell us about your first experience with SLUG Magazine.
Lucero: I was raised pretty fundamentalist Christian, so I had to steal issues from my metal-head uncle. It was like, “Oh fuck, if my mom finds this she’s going to kill me,” because of the Dear Dickheads stuff and everything.
Mason: I feel like it was something about Form of Rocket.
Hanson: SLUG wasn’t everywhere in Davis County when I was growing up, so my friends and I would pick it up when we were in Salt Lake. I remember it being the first evidence to me that there was something underground and alive in Utah. It was my first exposure to a zine, period.
Parkin: My friends and I would go to Raunch, then to a coffee shop. We’d read SLUG in silence for a half an hour, then we’d talk about the shit we found in it. That was our window to what was happening in the underground.

: How have you seen the magazine change since then?
Parkin: I think the biggest difference is all of the skate shit. I think they kind of had to do that, because that all blew up again after the ‘80s. But other than that, it feels just as dirty to pick up as it did back then.
Lucero: The art and design has been elevated. It’s more of an artistic magazine now, too. It just looks better.
Hanson: I mostly feel it’s just the same, and I say that in the most glowing way I possibly can. At some point you cross the line from a “zine” to a “publication” and SLUG has continued to be a zine. That’s what makes it special.

: What is one of the most memorable SLUG articles that you have read?
Parkin: Growing up, SLUG was a goal—to get into SLUG meant that you mattered. So, the most memorable article was when we got mentioned. I’ve saved everything that SLUG has ever printed about us. It felt the same to me to see my band in SLUG as it does right now to see us in Revolver.
Lucero: I don’t collect the bigger magazines that we show up in, but I collect the SLUGs that we show up in.
Mason: I would second that. I’ve got one of them framed.

SLUG: What is your favorite SLUG cover?
Lucero: The one that made me the happiest was to see Andy [Patterson] on the cover. I took like four copies. When it comes to the local thing, I think he’s one of the, or perhaps, the most singular influential entity to put himself in the local scene. I think he’s done the most for it.

: Tell us about the most memorable SLUG event that you’ve attended.
Parkin: The anniversary event where they did the SLUG Queen competition and I got blown by some random person in the ladies bathroom upstairs ...
Lucero: Person…?
Hanson: Keyword, “person.”
Parkin: It wasn’t the SLUG Queen that blew me. But, the anniversary events have always been fun and cool.
Lucero: Yeah, and every Localized. The fact that it happens consistently is the best thing about it. I’m not always interested in the bands playing, but I’ll read the Localized articles always.

SLUG: How has SLUG affected your life?
Parkin: We did the SLUG cover when we got signed to Blackmarket Activities in 2006, and BMA thought that cover story was a big enough deal to mention as part of our press. Like, “Hey world, this is who Gaza is, and they are featured on the cover of SLUG.” It became national publicity for us, on top of everything else. SLUG has to be responsible for whatever SLC presence we have. They’ve really been the only voice other than our own that’s said, “Hey, check these guys out” in SLC.
Mason: Amen.

SLUG: Why do you think SLUG has continued to be relevant in Utah for the last 22 years?
Lucero: Because it’s part of the scene. It’s not going anywhere, and it stays focused on its goal. It keeps itself relevant by merely doing that.
Parkin: SLUG is like what Converge is as a band. It’s a group of people who do things the way they want. That has been the reason that they’ve survived, because they continue to do things their way. I think the reason SLUG is where it is, is because they have kept that integrity. It hasn’t disappeared into vanilla. My parents would still look at it with a frown, which is great.

Photo: John Carlisle