Photo: Katie Panzer
Sam Simspon – Vocals
Greg Wilson – Guitar
Nick Parker – Bass
Alex Caldwell – Drums
Anyone who has ever heard of southern-style hardcore rockers Breaux has undoubtedly experienced the shit-talking that immediately follows. “Breaux” seems like it couldn’t possibly be the name of any sort of band that takes itself even half seriously—it’s just way too goofy. Even with a rich history of awful band names (members of Breaux have been in emo bands called The Sadness and Sons of Mourning) it seems like a little much, but to guitarist Greg Wilson there was never any other choice, “Dude, we have to be Breaux because we are bros, and we like to be bros,” he says. This touching brand of bro love carries over into the dynamics of the band in a very real way. The four members are like family—the kind of family that has the level of closeness and functionality that come from quality, wholesome bro activities such as getting drunk and watching the Super Bowl together. “What it really comes down to is that we are all absolute best friends. We are brothers,” says Wilson.
Breaux wants the community and music scene to feel the same kind of heartwarming bro affection and love that they feel for each other. They work hard to push the scene towards progression and to make sure that everyone is having a good time. Although it’s no easy task to keep the ball rolling in these parts, they do their damnedest. Nick Parker, Breaux’s bassist, computer lab guy at a local middle school and copy editor at the Deseret News, expresses his dismay and frustration with the constant struggle. He points out, “Little venues spring up every once in a while, but Utah, with its conservative background, wants to squash them down because they see all these kids with mohawks and black shirts and they’re like ‘we gotta get rid of this venue.’” Singer Sam Simpson (possibly named after Sampson, the world’s first ever bro?) is simple in his proposed solution to the problem. “I think what we really need to save the scene is love,” he says. “Love your music, love your scene, love your venue and don’t be a fucking dickhead.”
Due to the incredible numbers of broken noses and holes stomped through stages, Breaux shows carry a reputation of being energetic and violent. Despite this, the band insists that it’s all in fun, and to them that’s what it’s all about. “Kids feel it. They feel like they can have fun and don’t have to act tough or be angry,” says Simpson, who used to be afraid to go to shows when he was younger. “A band I liked would come and I’d be like, ‘Aw fuck.’ Some straight edge hatecore band was playing, and I didn’t want to get a baseball bat to the head so I’d just stay home,” he says. Parker is quick to clarify, “Straight edge has gotten such a bad name, but there are a lot of good straight edge kids. Straight edge didn’t do this. Dumb kids did this.”
Despite their “everybody love everybody” attitude, Breaux is certainly not a band made up of hippies, and even though their name has a little bit of a French flavor to it, they are anything but classy. They’re rednecks, pure and simple—the kind of whiskey guzzling, dirty metal kids who stumble intoxicated through Wal-Mart parking lots pissing in their drawers. They’re the guys who pass out while playing house parties, so covered in sweat and booze, minds so clouded with alarming levels of THC, that they collapse, grinning, to their knees, incapable of even the most primitive thought or reason. It’s simply who they are, and it shows in their music, which echoes the strong influences of bands like Down, He is Legend and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, as well as southern rock champions Lynyrd Skynyrd and CCR.
Don’t be fooled by their Andy-of-Mayberry-meets-MTV’s-Jackass demeanor, though. With their Brownbag EP, which has been out since August of 2009, and another yet untitled full-length due for release by the end of this year, the band’s constant touring, self-promotion and opportunity gobbling has propelled them to share stages with bands like Gaza, Dropdead Gorgeous and Parkway Drive. As of now, the band is shopping for labels, and is willing to go as far as the music will take them. “I’d love to be on Roadrunner just so I could tour with Nickleback,” Simpson says. Relax. He’s being sarcastic, bro.
Reid Rouse – Vocals
Elliot Secrist – Bass
Adam Loucks – Drums
Trey Gardner – Guitar
Jonlarsen Larsen – Guitar
Desperate for friendship and new to the state, the first person I met when I moved to Utah as a kid was Adam Loucks, current drummer of God’s Revolver. Within minutes he managed to steal most of my best Pokemon cards and spit a huge gob of mucus on my skateboard’s grip tape. Over the following years I watched with great interest and caution as he carefully cultivated his mysterious neighborhood image of being wildly unpredictable and somewhat dangerous. Now, over a decade later, I sit outside the Blue Plate Diner listening as his bandmates (who happen to be ex-members of Parallax and The HiFi Massacre) enthusiastically assure me that’s exactly the image in which the self-proclaimed “time-travel, blackout, Western rock” band takes great pride and comfort. “You never know when,” says frontman Reid Rouse, “but there will be antics.”
Not only have they terrorized a handful of local bar owners who now harbor a wary resentment for the band and their famous brand of drunken chaos, but they’ve twice taken the show across the great United States in a retired UTA bus turned vegetable oil-powered tour craft. Guitarist Trey Gardner fondly recalls being “out in the middle of nowhere, sneaking into the back of KFCs and shit, pumping this nasty slop out of their grease containers” before he hangs his head at the thought of the bus sitting abandoned, finally done for somewhere in Maryland. Rouse says, “It was getting so that we’d have to start the engine, go outside and pound the transmission into drive with a hammer and chisel, get back inside, and take off the brakes. We’d have to do that anytime we wanted to go anywhere.”
After weeks of having the bus break down every day, tensions were mounting. One night in Ohio, loading up gear after a show with heads and guts full of mushrooms and the contents of an open bar, bassist Elliot Secrist and Loucks lost it. Between sips of his alcohol-infused coffee, Secrist tells the story in his slow drawl, “All I remember is that me and him [nodding to Loucks] were talking shit back and forth to each other about how each other sucked. At some point I lost my mind while I was moving his kick drum out and smashed [it], and he ran up and clocked me in the face. I pulled a knife on him. When everybody was holding me back it pissed me off, and I stabbed our bus window. Then I disappeared into Columbus with my whole hand torn apart. It was bleeding through my pants and through my hoodie that I was trying to hide it in. I passed out in a bunch of church lawns and the same cop woke me up like three times. When I finally got back to the bus, the only person still awake was Adam. I was just like ‘what’s up, bro? Sorry about last night.’”
God’s Revolver brought home with them stories that make weak men blush—stories of trying to ride horses bareback while on mescaline, of getting urinated on by “hot, artsy girls,” and of housefuls of howling thrash punks working themselves into beer-soaked frenzies over the group’s energetic, haunting tunes. While these tales create a certain mystique, they also make booking shows increasingly difficult. Secrist explained the self-destructive cycle: “Urban Lounge employees get pissed, and then they tell us we’re banned, and then they ask us a couple weeks later to play a show.” Gardner added, “Club Vegas banned us too, and they eventually let us play again.” The ban that hasn’t been lifted, however, is a citywide ban in Provo. One night at Muse Music, tripping balls on acid, Loucks and Gardner found themselves incapable of performing and decided to get naked instead. Loucks, not one to miss an opportunity for anarchy, threw his cymbals into the crowd like Frisbees. Jonlarsen Larsen grins as he tells the story, “The Muse thing kind of got us kicked out of everywhere in Provo, basically.”
The band claims to be heavily influenced by Neil Young, Ennio Morricone (who wrote the theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) lots of classic rock and hometown heroes Iceburn, with whom they had the recent pleasure of sharing a stage. “The desert is probably a bigger influence on us than the music we listen to. The desert and constant booze,” says Rouse. Their second album, The Rosary/The Law, is due for release on Translation Loss Records sometime within the next six months. Although the record is allegedly already 80 percent recorded, it’s experiencing major delays due to the fact that their recording engineer is touring with Air Supply.
God’s Revolver will be playing with Breaux and Maraloka at SLUG Localized on Friday, March 12 at the Urban Lounge. After making clear the group’s affection and respect for the other band, Rouse said about the show, “If Breaux tries to pull some shit, we’ll get butt-ass naked and suck.” “Just wait ‘til you see our dicks,” says Gardner.