Photo: John Carlisle
Darin Piccoli and Chris Mautz moved to Utah in the late ‘90s and both quickly fell into the roles of local concert promoters, booking for events like the Red Butte and Snowbird concert series as well as the Utah Arts Festival. Both were “avid concert-goers” when they moved to Utah and turned their growing expertise into a physical reality with The State Room’s grand opening on April 1, 2009.
SLUG: Tell us about your first experience with SLUG Magazine.
Piccoli: I remember when I first moved here, finding the magazine immediately opened me up to the wide array of local music. It opened my eyes to the music scene in this town. I was impressed—almost overwhelmed—by the magazine.
Mautz: I went to the old Coffee Garden on 9th and 9th. I picked up SLUG and was kinda scared. It was completely out of my comfort zone. I was a young kid from back East and that was not necessarily my scene. What I was amazed by was the sheer amount of content. I was like, “Holy shit, where is all this coming from?” number one, and “Who are these people reading it?” I was very impressed and also intimidated, because it really was so foreign to me in a lot of ways. I had some friends growing up who were into the punk scene and it was easy for me to say, “Ah, that’s just a punk magazine,” and it’s really not. It took me a while to get over that fear and to find a great connection to it. I think it provides such an amazing service to the community.
SLUG: How have you seen the magazine change since then?
Piccoli: Older, wiser, like all of us. It’s getting buffed around the edges in a good way. It’s more diverse. They still have those [punk] articles and that feel to it. I think Chris could still pick up a magazine and be frightened by it. It’s not getting softer or anything like that. It seems to be honing in on what it’s there for.
SLUG: Why do you think SLUG has continued to be relevant in Utah for the last 22 years?
Mautz: It has all the things that its original intentions were, and it has continued to do it in a way that allows readers to connect to it and respect it, which is a pretty cool thing for 22 years. I hope The State Room can stay as close to its original intention and yet evolve and shift in ways that are really natural and not forced. Anything that I can be a part of and sustain and do that, I would be proud of.
SLUG: Tell us about the most memorable SLUG event that you’ve attended.
Mautz: I went to [the first year of] Craft Lake City and I had some friends who were exhibitors or vendors. I thought it was really cool. It made me less fearful of SLUG that they were into arts and crafts. It felt like a really nice thing SLUG was able to do and put together.
SLUG: How has SLUG affected your life?
Mautz: Moving from Boston, I had nothing to expect in Salt Lake. It’s been 13 years now and I’ve been impressed by the depth of Salt Lake City, and SLUG is a beacon on that path. To me, it’s been a part of my ability to build a career here. It’s been a supporter of live music and recorded music and music in general in Salt Lake. In some ways, it has made Salt Lake City a real place on the music map. It’s been a trusted source for a lot of members of our community.
Piccoli: I put an ad in with SLUG in Thanksgiving of ’99! I moved here from Durango, Colorado. Did a couple of shows at the Ritz bowling alley, but the first show I [promoted in SLUG] was Digital Underground at Bricks. That was my first personal experience with it. Since then I’ve kinda grown up with it. Ball is back in your court, dude.
Mautz: Wow, pulling that fucking Ritz out of his ass. Seriously? I did not see that coming. Fucking guy.
Piccoli: Obviously you can tell it’s passionate for both of us. We’re all doing our part, we feel. And hopefully down the road, it pays off for everybody. SLUG’s been doing it for 22 years. If we’re here in 11 years, I’ll be pretty stoked. If we have the same vision and direction—it’s going to be pretty sweet.