Author: Josh McGillis

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 Bombs and Beating Hearts - From Dumpsters RiseBombs and Beating Hearts
From Dumpsters Rise

Salty Hobo Records
Street: 06.22
Bombs and Beating Hearts = Harmonicas + pissed off yelling + something I’ve never heard before

Attention kind reader: please ignore my atrocious equation above and buy this. Bombs And Beating Hearts have produced a one-of-a-kind (it probably isn’t, but it’s very new to me) album and I’m in love with it, to say the least. I had attended a few of their shows around the valley and never paid much attention to them, but I was sucked in by the first track. When I phrased it to my friends it went something like this: “Yeah, well, it’s really upbeat. They have a harmonica and a tamborine and they yell like they’re super pissed, and it’s just really cool.” The best thing about the album is that it doesn’t give off the “I’m really creative and unique” vibe. It feels like a group of friends dicking around with some instruments that accidentally created a big fanbase, which I really appreciate. Pacakged inside From Dumpsters Rise is a Johnny Cash cover, which was given a little bit of SLC love to make it special. Unfortunately there is always a black sheep, “Normandie”, was the only really bad song on the album. For those that may call them “Bums and Bleeding Farts”, I can only say “Fuck you.”

 Bleary - VentriloquateBleary
Ventriloquate

Xstatic Studios
Street: 06.2006
Bleary = I Am Electric + The Brobecks – irony + The New Transit Direction

I wouldn’t exactly say I like Bleary, but I can’t say they’re bad either. I don’t have the musical ability to start or play in a band, so I can respect that they’ve gotten their shit together and released an EP. The instrumental music on Ventriloquate is very calm, but the vocalist sounds like he’s forcing himself to sing, and on some songs it seems as though he really wants to throw up. It almost sounds like lead singer, Cory Castillo is trying to sound much more sensitive that he is. The music also sounds too similar to me. The EP really is just kind of bleary; it comes off as forced to me. Despite the issues that I have with the group, the music might be something I’d find myself listening to as I try to take a quick power nap. -Josh McGillis

“Nigger,” “wetback” and “chink” are not usually words used to promote anti-racist ideas, but Miles Gregley, Rafael Agustin and Allan Axibal have taken these racial slurs and turned them into a foundation for an extremely successful, anti-racist play. Nigger Wetback Chink: The Race Play, written by three men who were tired of being typecast and discriminated against because of the color of their skin, has been on the road for the past two and a half years. It is finally coming to Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake, but not without controversy.

Nigger Wetback Chink was originally invited to attend Kingsbury Hall about nine months ago after Greg Geilmann, the director of Kingsbury Hall, saw it in Los Angeles. “One of the things we really liked about the company was that they are not only performers,” explained Sheri Jardine, an affiliate of Kingsbury Hall, “but they are also dedicated to education and outreach in the areas where they perform, to talk about the [racism and stereotype] issues the play raises.” Not only has the company been booked for two performance dates, but also for a week of outreach and educational activities. Following the scheduled performance dates in Salt Lake, the trio has booked at three other Utah venues in Park City, Utah State University and Weber State University.

Last May, the group performed at the National Conference of Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, a conference that was attended by a number of students, faculty and staff from the University of Utah. “We encouraged them to go see the show, knowing we were bringing it here, and several did,” said Jardine. “Some of those who saw the show really hated it, and some liked it.” Once the cogs for the event started rolling, Kingsbury Hall invited those who had already attended the show, along with other U of U influences to discuss any issues they may have with the play, and to further plan specific activities that would take place during the last week of October.

“Many concerns were voiced, including concern about the title, and concerns that this play, by using humor to address serious issues, was not the best vehicle to steer this debate,” Jardine explained. While it may seem ridiculous that there is controversy surrounding a play that is fundamentally anti-racist, the points raised by students were not irrational. “There is a concern that the majority students will not understand the historical context of racism or these particular racial slurs, they will not understand how hurtful they are, and therefore the show will create a sort of environment where the students of color will feel that they are being laughed at.”

What the cast has to say about their show is reassuring to those who voiced concern about the use of nigger, wetback and chink in the title. “These are words that we’ve dealt with, we talk about these words and how they take place in our [culture],” said Rafael Agustin, one of the writers/performers of the play. “We’ve been called these words and we have the right to confront these words. We’re not going to have a show called ‘Ethnic Friends’ and expect people to understand what kind of material we’re working with.”

Punk-rock legends are not usually seen wearing Hawaiian shirts, slacks and loafers sitting on their sister’s porch enjoying the summer afternoon. Imagine my surprise that this was the scenario in which I met Salt Lake’s own punk-rock legend Sean Fightmaster – one of the only guys cool enough to become a punk-rock legend without being in a band; a punk-rock personality, if you will. I had no idea who he was when I walked by his porch that day; I thought he was just a cool guy I’d accidentally stumbled upon. I sat across from him on the edge of the porch and we began a casual conversation, leading from small talk into music.

Once we established that the both of us listened to punk, he asked me, “So what do you listen to, Pee Wee?” Band names kept our conversation going, discussing more music, politics and a habit which would inevitably lead him to his end: “punk-rock damage;” his personal pseudonym for his heroin addiction. Sean had fought it for years and after he had finally done some major damage, he decided it was a time for change. “Yeah, man,” he explained to me, “stay away from that shit. When I was in Seattle, I checked myself into rehab for punk-rock damage. That shit’s bad, Pee Wee, stay away from it.”

“Hey,” his sister Cydnie yelled to me as she came out of the house. “Do you realize who you’re talking to? This is Sean Fightmaster,” she said to me, enthused. I still had no idea, but I recognized the name and where I had heard it slowly crept into my brain.

I made a bad pun about his last name (which I’m sure was not uncommon) to which he replied, “With a name like Fightmaster, you have a reputation to live up to. I may not always have [lived up to my reputation], but I sure as hell tried.”

His name finally clicked and I traced it to “that dude that trips out on acid” from SLC Punk! I brought up the movie and Sean began discussing it with his sister.

“I hate how that movie made our family look,” Cydnie said. “It’s bullshit.”

“Yeah, it was,” Sean chimes in. “I want to … re-make it.” I admired Sean’s desire to re-make a film that made him somewhat famous (more or less Frank N. Furter to Forrest Gump. Not to say that Sean was a transvestite or handicapped), but with an outsider’s perspective, I understand why. If The Passion of the Christ was all bullshit, I would imagine Jesus would want to re-make it, too.

I left shortly thereafter and couldn’t help but think that Sean was one of those genuinely awesome people that one would meet in life’s many serendipities. Unfortunately, the next time I would see him would also be the last.

It was mid-October and as I walked into Orion’s Music in Sugarhouse, I saw Sean talking to Leif Myrberger, the clerk, about a CD he had ordered. He ordered MIA by The Germs and Weathered Statues by TSOL. Around this time, he had also been ordering numerous Crass albums. I said hello and was greeted with a, “Hey, Pee Wee, what’s up?” I proceeded to tell him about an acquaintance of mine that had recently overdosed. “Fuckin’ junkies,” he said, sounding angry. “That’s stupid shit, man. I fucking hate junkies.”

I see this last run-in with Sean as one of those slap-in-the-face ironies. Sean had told me about his struggle with junk, and I had thought he had conquered it, yet two months later I found that the junk had finally conquered Fightmaster. It’s like the days in elementary school on the playground where you play-fight with your friends. You wrestle and roll around in the dirt, laughing as you go along. You say you won’t actually hit each other, but then you get slugged in the face by your friend. Not only does it hurt, but you’re left shocked, bewildered, asking yourself, “What the fuck just happened?” At the time, it seemed impossible for such a thing to occur, having been told it wouldn’t. Luke McCabe, a friend of mine who also knew Sean, said, “That’s just like Fightmaster … he couldn’t stand to go out by someone else’s hand, so he went out by [his own].”

The heavily exaggerated story of Sean in SLC Punk! gave him his 15 minutes, but Sean turned himself into a legend, leaving an impression (good and bad, I’m sure) with everyone he met. He will be greatly missed by those who had the luxury of meeting him and commemorated by those who didn’t. As the saying goes: Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.