Prodigal of Smiles: August 1993
Well, here it is. An hour after I am supposed to be at the press with the paper all finished, and I’m sitting here at my computer with that stupid look on my face staring at the computer screen. I have been fretting all week long because I haven’t been able to get a hold of Jeff, the lead singer of Prodigal Of Smiles.
Then today it hits me, why in God’s name do I even need to talk to them? I have spent many an hour sitting on the patio at Bar & Grill shootin’ the shit with these guys. Well, I needed the correct spelling of everybody’s names and I really never had a chance to talk to Andre. I grabbed my pad and pen and headed for Thom’s house where I knew the band would be anxiously awaiting my arrival.
I was wrong. I was the second person there and by the time everybody showed up, it had turned into a patio discussion about everything from The Gamma Rays to washing Sting‘s face out with snow. I should have opted for a beer because I wound up with almost no new information about the band and I lost the only notes I did take.
The band has been together in its current lineup for only six months. Jeff and Chad Larsen started the band about two years ago after the band they were in (Big Face) went the way of most good bands … nowhere. Andre Jefferson joined in on guitar, and about six months ago Thomas Barth joined them on bass. Since that time the band has become a lot more solid and the music they are writing and polishing up is much better.
Most of the times I have seen the band play, I was doing sound for them, so I just made them sound good but didn’t really pay much attention to what they were doing. Well, about six months ago, I sat through their set when they opened up for Sun-60 and I was pleasantly surprised.
One of the best things about Prodigal of Smiles is the approach to their music. They are very serious in the writing and performance of their stuff, but they have a laid-back attitude about both the presentation of themselves offstage and their conversations about their music. I can honestly say they are four of the easiest-going guys I have ever met. Their attitude is positive about almost every aspect of Salt Lake—the clubs, other bands and the scene in general. This laidback attitude and their professional way of playing lands them good slots with touring bands.
P.O.S. is easily one of the most talented bands in the valley. I met Barth five years ago when he was just a skate rat who wanted to learn how to play the bass. Now, he is one of the most talented bass players in town. If any one has ever seen Andre play guitar with P.O.S. or his other band, Mind At Large, you know what he can do. Chad never misses a beat on the drums and Jeff is easily the best frontman there is. Jeff has been fronting bands for ten years and his experience shows in his intensity and determination to always perform at his best. It’s funny because they are so relaxed offstage, but they are quite serious when they play live. They will play the same set in front of five people or a room full of people.
I wouldn’t even try to pigeonhole their music because it is impossible. They are sometimes heavy, sometimes dark and often quite experimental, but the music is written by people who know what they are doing and it glides along well. They blend a variety of sounds by mixing years of influences. I find watching the crowds they gather that people either love them or hate them. There is no gray area. The more I hear them, the more their music grows on me.
The band is very dedicated to the project and they have full intention of taking it as far as possible. It would be nice if people would support them. They have no slick image, they don’t play covers you can sing along with nor do they fall into any fluffy categories. They have sort of fallen between the cracks—but they aren’t quitting. You can see it when they play live. They get along as a band, and their unity shows in their performances and songwriting. I really think it’s about time to check them out. They will be playing at Sabbathon on August 28 at the Bar & Grill. Don’t try to make anything out of their music, just dance and listen. You may be quite surprised how easy it is.