Feature Band: Iceburn


Since the summer of 1989 I have been keeping a close eye on the straight edge scene. I knew that it would not last, nationally that is. In Salt Lake however, things have a way of popping up a bit late and never leaving. Regardless, Insight was one of the biggest, most successful bands to emerge from this group of musicians. Insight broke up officially last winter after landing a 7” on Liberty Records and two relatively successful national tours. In Salt Lake they would pack The Word and almost fill Speedway Cafe.

From Insight and Better Way (another straight-edge band) came Brainstorm. This band featured 3 members of Insight and two members of Better Way. This band broke up the same time that Insight quit. In fact both bands played their farewell show at the Speedway Cafe Friday, September 7th 1991 to a near capacity crowd. At this point there were almost no straight edge bands left in this town and a handful of these musicians were eager to start something new. Five of these musicians including Gentry Densely (guitar from Better Way), Doug Wright (bass from Insight), Joseph Smith “Chubba” (drums from Insight), Jeremy Chatelain (vocals, ex-guitarist from Insight) and Jamie Holder (guitar from Insight) formed the first incarnation of Iceburn.

Liberty Records also signed this band to release a 7” record which is still in the works but will be available any day. The fact that Iceburn still had four of the five original members gave Liberty Records enough of a reason to release the record. this last month both Jamie and Jeremy quit the band to pursue other musical interests, leaving Iceburn a three-piece.

Before the new three-piece lineup Liberty paid Iceburn enough money to record a full-length album which they have already begun. This left both Liberty and Iceburn in a very strange situation. Jeremy has developed quite a following across the united States straight edge scene. Needless to say, Liberty Records—which is primarily a straight edge record label—was not overjoyed with the new lineup change. This did not stop them with their plans for the new album which should be available this fall or winter.

The band has a new sound. It is obvious by listening to the band that they have moved away from their traditional straight edge sound. This was fairly intentional since all the members have moved onto bigger and better things. I would have to guess that this was not so much a conscious choice, but a need for more of a variety in musical styles and expression. this still puts them at a bit of a disadvantage. All of their music is available on a straight edge label and more than likely they will be marketed as such. This will put a lot of people off that don’t like straight edge music. 

Iceburn is now doing what they can to develop and audience of people who can appreciate what they are trying to do with their music. When I asked them what they were trying to say now with their music they really didn’t have an answer. Good answer. I have a tendency to shy away from over political and over-zealous bands. Gentry told me their main concentration was on the musical aspects. They all have quite varied musical influences now including jazz, blues, avant garde and many forms of experimental music. this is not evident in their music as much now as it will be in, say, six months or a year. However, by broadening their minds musically they have developed quite an eclectic sound.

I have noticed Doug’s liking for funk become laced into their music over the past two years. Along with Gentry’s crunchy guitar sound and Chubba’s tight solid drumming, the band has become one of the most refreshing new sounds in town. One of the things I have enjoyed about listening to Iceburn is their ability to not shy away from implementing whatever they want into their music including tricky time changes and interesting chord structures.

Iceburn is a great band and they have a great future in store for themselves. As long as they stay as determined and innovative as they are now they will always move forward. The Liberty deal could give them a lot of opportunities that most Salt Lake bands will never get. if you haven’t seen them yet you probably should. They will be playing Friday, July 5th at the Fairgrounds with The Stench. This may be the last chance you will get to see them for awhile, They leave July 16th for a few week tour to the East coast and again on August 23 for a week on the West Coast. Gentry has also been asked to tour with Bad Yodelers in Europe this fall. Watch Raunch for new music from the band and keep your ears open … you will be surprised.


For more from the SLUG Archives:
Dear Dickheads: September 1990
Skate: November 1990