Brent Barker, circa 1984.

Victims Willing: A Band You Can Count On

Music Interviews

If you have ever seen Victims Willing play you will know exactly what they are talking about. After seeing them play several times, hanging out with them at shows and interviewing them for an hour, I finally put my finger on them. Victims Willing aren’t really about anything, just five guys playing rock and roll — good rock and roll. No trends, no gimmicks and no hype, just solid music you can count on.

Victims Willing is one of the longest-lasting bands in the underground scene. Only three of the original members remain, Brad Barker (vocals), Joe Jewkes (bass) and Kelley Evans (guitar). Two years ago the band added Derek Stearns (drums) and guitarists, Steve Hickock. The band feels that adding the two members gave new life to the band. Since then they have become stronger than ever.

You would never know Victims Willling are in the band, they act more like fans or roadies.
Photo: Rick Egan

Classifying their sound is really quite simple: punk/metal. If you put a screeching metal-God vocalist in place of Brad you would have a pretty solid metal band. And if you muddied up the guitar sound you would have a run-of-the-mill punk band. The closest I can come to sound-a-likes is Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne. These guys grew up listening to both heavy metal and punk/thrash music, but chose to sway toward punk rock because they liked the scene better. Brad says they could never be a metal band because they don’t have the egos for all the glam needed to pull it off. If you didn’t see them play you would never know they are in the band, they act more like fans or roadies. They don’t tow around the usual ego aura most musicians do, but it sure doesn’t show in their playing.

Victims Willing play a lot of shows and it is easy to see why: 1. They don’t bitch and moan about sound, money, crowds or line-up. In fact, they really don’t complain about anything; 2. Their sets are tight, organized and professional, they don’t piss around on stage or preach between songs; 3. Their music is tight, good and their cross-over sound can blend with all types of bands. They have played with several bands, including Danzig and DRI, but they prefer to play with smaller bands that they can relate to. Some of the best shows they have played have been with the no-name bands in front of small crowds that appreciated what they see. They prefer that over playing with the ‘big boys’ who couldn’t care less about a local band or even what town they are in.

Brad says the band isn’t really political because he just doesn’t know enough about it. Don’t get me wrong, he has plenty to say, but he doesn’t rely on politics for a crutch. Very few people are going to hear something and learn something they have never heard, but opinions do matter and some things do need to be said.

With a solid foundation and a lot of original music under their belt, the band plans on making a name for themselves. Hopefully in the next few months Raunch Records may put them out on a five song single. R.U. Ready Records (produced by Dwayne of Hate X9) is putting together a compilation tape featuring two of Victim’s songs. The band plans on several local shows in the next while, but has no plans for touring until they have material available.

Victims Willing will be around for a lot longer. Don’t plan on Victims to follow trends or whims. Many Salt Lake musicians and bands have taken to trends, but not these guys’ solid crunch sound. They won’t sell-out to make it big. They do what they do, play what they play. Count on it.

Check out some more Salt Lake Underground music content here:
Boxcar Kids: A Blend of Salt Lake’s Finest Egos
Willie Tidwell and the Roxy Age