Local band Bloodfish written in a newspaper.

Local Band: Bloodfish


For those who are not familiar with “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupery, it is an enlightening book about a young prince, whose interplanetary journey leads him to a revelation. He discovers, “What is essential is invisible to the eye,” as taught to him by an insightful fox. During his journey, the prince encounters a tippler (alcoholic), a greedy man and an arrogant man. Although he tries to relate to these characters, he must leave them behind in his search for integrity. 

Greed, self-importance and alcoholism—anyone associated with the local music scene knows that these are the characteristics one must go up against every day. Just when it seems that “the three evils” will get you, the prince and the fox resurface to save the universe. The prince and the fox have been most recently spotted in Salt Lake City as two members of the local band Bloodfish. 

The Bloodfish encounter begins with Rez, the bass player (or the prince) who is appropriately nicknamed “Supernova” by the band, a reference to the song by Liz Phair. Immediately upon learning that I was doing the write up for SLUG, he asked me out on a “date”. Being the kind of woman that does not like to be played, and a writer intrigued by his total lack of judgment, I could not wait to see what this “date” was about. Unfortunately, it consisted of the band’s practice (which the rest of us call an interview) and listening to Rez talk about himself. This was quite a let down after listening to the lyrics to his namesake. 

“I have looked all over the place, and you have got my favorite face / You fuck like a volcano and you’re everything to me” 

I figured he would at least put out, but no such luck. The date turned out to be nothing more than an unfortunate distraction from his music. Giving Rez one last chance to save himself with me, he was asked if it was wise to try to date the press: “I didn’t really mean it as a date. I’ve never talked to a Black girl before, and I thought it would be intriguing…” Bloodfish has a running joke about never allowing Rez near the media, and keeping a piece of tape over his mouth. 

Despite his lack of judgment, a closer look at Rez as a person and musician makes it impossible to hold it against him. Rez grew up in Philly, where he ran with unsavory crowds. The kind that beat people up for superficial reasons. He made a decision to leave this lifestyle behind. His story is amazingly close to the “find music or die” story commonly told in the music industry. He came to Salt Lake with a nice little Mormon girl, but had no idea what he was getting into. He lost the girl and found Bloodfish, which he feels is one of the best things to ever happen to him. Bloodfish is my life, and those guys are like brothers to me,” he says. While he seems arrogant at first, his confidence stems from a new found sense of self and change of lifestyle. 

Previously known as a womanizer, he made the decision to not allow his libido to get in the way of his music. On most days he makes a noble effort. Growing up he liked Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Van Halen. He’s now a fan of Biohazard, and is heavily affected by their song “Wrong Side of the Tracks.” While playing, he looks as if he is on a skateboard. Before Bloodfish, he played in W.A.D., and the guitarist gave him some help. Playing on “Rez time”, he is consistently at least a beat behind. 

More practice and less distractions should definitely make him into a better player. His strength lies in his determination. If he doesn’t get it the first time, he keeps plugging away. The fact that the band’s personalities seem to compliment each other translates into their music, and especially their lyrics. While Rez is definitely naive, Uncle Shame offers a healthy contrast with the wisdom offered by his lyrics. Enter the fox. 

Uncle Shame is a veteran of the Salt Lake City music scene who started writing music at 16. His first attempt at punk rock was with Hate X9 in 1988. After going on tour with two bands crammed into one van, it all came to an end when two passengers made a desperate escape very close to their destination. At the age of 29, it seems that Bloodfish could be Shame’s last great attempt at a band. “Bloodfish was hatched as an antidote to Shame’s alcoholism, but also as a salve to the world’s insanity,” Rez says. For the lead singer of a band, a recovering alcoholic and a talented poet, Shame is an amazingly mellow guy. Strolling into band practice an hour late, he is sipping a soda as if he hadn’t a care in the world. Apparently the role of savior takes much preparation. When he starts singing, it’s obvious he has a lot on his mind. 

“Sometimes I wonder how much more I will take…the half of me that wants to take it all and throw me down…” Trent Reznor, the late Kurt Cobain and Tom Waits are his major influences. His song “Get Rich” is a sad but inspiring song dedicated to Cobain, that discusses exploitation and hopelessness. A reluctant interview, it is discovered that while pouring himself into his music, there is much more left unsaid, protected. He admits that the band does want to make it. “We want to blow MTV to pieces,” Shame says. They also want to make it to Letterman, where they will finally let Rez speak freely. Besides his musical talent, Shame is talented in graphic art and promotion. He is currently studying different vocal techniques and still seems to have untapped creative drive hidden in an undisclosed space in his soul. 

Nardo and Jeffo are on drums and guitar respectively. Although they haven’t been assigned any cute character names, they have successfully avoided “the three evils” on their own. They are low-profile members of the group, but are by no means being led. They are quiet and modest and let their music speak for them. There is not much to say about Nardo except that he is extremely talented. He is the kind of guy we all love. You know, the kind that only speaks when he has something to say. Other than that, he is content to play. During practice it’s sometimes hard to get him to stop playing when the other guys are trying to talk. For the interview, he considered staying behind his drums, but reluctantly worked his way over to join the conversation. I did notice that he positioned himself so he didn’t have to fall victim to my searching eyes. 

A long time partner in crime to Shame, Nardo is also a local music veteran (3.3 and Hate X9). He is originally from Orange County, California, and is influenced by Suicidal Tendencies, 311 and Slayer. Jeffo has been playing guitar since he was 10, and it shows. He is amazingly fast and accurate, was a Kiss fan as a youngster and enjoys Prong, Biohazard and Pro-Pain presently. An “Orange County Survivor”, at 22, Jeffo began playing originals until a job moved him here in 1990. Jeffo played with Plug until Dec. 1993, and joined Bloodfish in 1994. He changed their sound and lifted the censorship that had been forced upon them by former straight-edge members. Bloodfish combines young, diverse music with the talent and anger most often found in grunge and thrash. Although they have lyrics worth hearing, they are almost impossible to understand on tape. They were scheduled to appear at Earth Jam this year, which fell through letting down many fans and musicians. 

My favorite Bloodfish tune is “The Color of the Underlie” written by Shame, which is an insightful commentary on superficiality. 

“…scared as the feelings inside…we all hide from the color of the underlie…” 

Shame adds, “We get too caught up in the differences, but we’re all the same inside.” Thank god for foxes. 

Read more from Issue 77 here.