A couple of years ago, me and my buddy Tom went camping down south. One day, after at least a case of beer and a long conversation on the social relevance of DEVO, Tom pulled out a tape and put it in the box. He said, “Hey dude, check these guys out. Local boys.”
“Ah, punk rock, right? Ok, I guess,” I said.
Well, that’s the last I really heard about The Stench until last September when I sloughed over to the Speedway to see them open up for Psychic TV. Again, after a lot of beer, I teetered in front of the stage when they went on and said, “C’mon boys. Impress me.” They did just that.
Over the past year, I haven’t missed one of their shows. I can honestly say I haven’t been disappointed yet.
The Stench has been together for almost five years now, and it shows in their music. Both in writing and performance, The Stench has progressed into a very successful band—people have a tendency to be slightly bitter toward their popularity. The Stench has earned it.
The band hasn’t always had it this good—they say they have played more than their share of shitty gigs. Regardless of their longevity, The Stench’s music is both well written and produced. This is quite evident in their album, Crazy Moon, which is by far the best music that has come out of Salt Lake in a long time.
The band has only three members, Terrance D.H. on guitar and vocals, Geoff Williams on bass and backing vocals and Pat Young on drums. Pat is the third drummer in the band since its beginning in 1984. Pat has done more than adequate work in his part of the band. After being in the band less than a week, he did a brilliant job playing when The Stench opened up for All in June. Less than a month later, he was on tour with them.
Geoff says since Pat has been in the band, there is more energy on stage, and writing is better because Pat is taking a more active role than most drummers.
One of The Stench’s best qualities is their live performances. If you weren’t actually watching them play, you could easily think they are more than three members on stage. Terrence’s full and accurate guitar playing combined with Jeff’s driving bass and Pat’s tight drumming gives them almost an album-perfect sound. After performing together for five years, their sets are tight and smooth, making it better for the crowd. This, and their popularity, gives them plenty of opportunities to play.
One thing you can say about The Stench is that they work really hard. With a 7” EP and a full-length album (Crazy Moon) under their belt, the Stench has built quite a reputation for themselves. After a five-week, 32-show tour to the East Coast and back, The Stench built their name recognition. It is rare for a band to go on their first tour, have it be successful and come home and make actual money. They had a good response everywhere they went, playing most of their shows with Verbal Assault. They also played with Steel Pole Bath Tub, Super Touch, Wind of Change, The Herb Tarlick and The Grim. Bookings were good due to some of Pat’s connections back East, and with the help of a booking agency, they got to play big shows with big crowds. They are all looking forward to another nationwide tour in less than six months and a European tour possibly next year.
Crazy Moon, their self-produced album, has sold very fast. They sold almost everything they took with them (nearly 200) plus almost 400 of their EPs. Terrance is now talking about another 7” soon and another full-length album sometime this winter. With the acceptance of Crazy Moon being strong, the company that handled it will be releasing “I Wonder” by the Bad Yodelers. The success of The Stench is opening up a lot of doors to the Salt Lake bands who have been working a long time. All of this putting Salt Lake City on the musical map and people will start taking us seriously.
When I asked the band about politics and what they believed in, Terrence looked at Geoff and told him to take over. One of the things I like about The Stench is they don’t preach in their music. Geoff says that it’s not because they are not interested or concerned—they are. Supporting consumer boycotts and taking an active role in politics is something they feel very strongly about. With apathy running rampant, especially in Utah, they like to play for people who are concerned about what’s going around them. The band would like to say more to get people involved but are very careful because it’s easy to say things wrong or to be taken wrong. Ask them offstage, however, and they are more than happy to discuss their feelings with you.
The band has worked hard, and they are going places fast. The music they are writing just keeps getting better. They could easily put a very large nick in the nation’s music scene. They have nowhere to go but up. Check them out sometime and pick up a copy of Crazy Moon at Raunch or The Heavy Metal Shop and take The Stench into your house.
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