Arizona's Come on Die Young play two Salt Lake City shows in October: Fri. Oct 14 at Raunch Records and Sat. Oct. 15 at Burt's Tiki Lounge. Photo: David Crump
Springing from the heat of Phoenix, Ariz., Come On Die Young is a band seemingly on the verge of shaking up what most people know as “punk rock.” With members who have been playing music of all types for more than half of their lives, and a guitarist whose roots lie in Salt Lake City, the band combines elements of traditional punk rock, powerviolence, metal and late-‘90s beard rock. They have recently released one of the finest slabs of vinyl that yours truly has heard all year.
Guitarist Dominic Primé is a Salt Lake City native, having played in punk bands such as Blankshot, Interstate and Deny Everything before moving to Boston, and finally to Phoenix to attend college. Primé started Come On Die Young along with guitarist/vocalist Eric Saylor in the spring of 2010. “Once Eric and I connected, it took a few months to get a full lineup together,” says Primé. The lineup was fully realized the following summer, when drummer Mike Pohlmeier and bassist/vocalist Justin Weir were recruited. “I started playing with these guys after Eric approached me with the idea of doing a melodic punk band,” says Pohlmeier. “I have always had a love for all kinds of punk and hardcore, so I was definitely interested. I came down and practiced and was super nervous, but it seemed like things started to click right away and I’m really glad they did, because I love doing this band and playing with these dudes.”
The members of Come On Die Young are all seasoned professionals when it comes to playing, recording and touring. Weir is also a member of Weird Ladies, and according to both Pohlmeier and Saylor, they have been in bands together for the majority of their adult lives. Both were part of Landmine Marathon, and Saylor is currently a member of Seas Will Rise. Once Come On Die Young’s lineup was cemented, little time was wasted before they were writing songs and playing live. They quickly solidified the material that was to become their debut, four-song 7”, which was recently released on Primé’s Man In Decline Records. The songwriting process is best described as “democratic,” with Primé introducing an idea for the music, and then having the rest of the band tweak the idea, adding their own ideas and suggestions. “The songwriting in this band keeps getting stronger, and I think we’re definitely starting to hit our stride,” says Pohlmeier. If the current release is any indication, future releases, as well as songs that people outside of Phoenix may not have heard yet, are going to be the kind of driving, punch-in-the-mouth, anthemic tunes that seem to have become scarce in the current world of punk rock. Combining the somewhat mathy riffs of Hot Water Music with the urgency of powerviolence bands like No Comment, but doing so in a way that keeps the songs cohesive and powerful without ending abruptly or dragging on forever, Come On Die Young’s brand of punk rock hearkens back to a time when punk was not just energetic, but somewhat violent, as well.
One of the best things about the band’s debut release is the overall sound. It’s not over-produced, but it doesn’t sound like it was recorded on a boom-box, either. There is a perfect melding of low-end and treble, with each taking center stage when it’s necessary. Even the bits that may, to the most picky listener, sound sloppy, have a way of sounding smartly in sync. The drums aren’t overbearing, the bass doesn’t explode the speakers, and the vocals are at the perfect level. To support the release, the band embarked on a mini-tour of California, where they partied in a haunted mansion, lost a hitch and ball mount, spent their life savings at Amoeba Records in Hollywood and blew the doors off the venues they played. Continuing the support, the band is touring again this fall, with a route that will bring them through St. George and Salt Lake. “We’re currently going into song-writing mode, and hope to have tons of new stuff to play in Salt Lake,” says Primé. “The plan is to give songwriting a good, hard push for the next couple of months, then we plan to demo some tracks, refine things and then record a full-length. Ideally, that cycle will keep happening and we’ll tour and keep putting out records for the foreseeable future.” The band explains that they are attempting to get their “touring legs,” and are hoping to continue doing smaller tours before expanding their reach across the country.
Come On Die Young has the focus, the drive and the talent to turn punk rock on its ear. The members, as seasoned as they are, display no pretention. They simply seem to be making music for themselves … but it doesn’t hurt for others to listen. Come On Die Young will be hitting Salt Lake City for two shows in October: Friday, Oct. 14 at Raunch Records with The Fucking Wrath and IX Zealot, and Saturday, Oct. 15 at Burt’s Tiki Lounge with NeverNever and All Systems Fail. This is a band that deserves your support, so show it.