The Subjective History Part 2
In about 1980, things got interesting. After the Roxy closed, there was no longer a steady place for bands to play their music in. This was countered in a number of ways. A friend of ours named Gordon Nordling got the ball rolling by hosting family home evening parties in his living room every Monday night. We would drink beer and listen to tapes of the Germs, China White and the The Flesh Eaters while bands like Byg Physh and Poptones played in the living room. Another house to have shows was Steve McCallister’s, near Redwood Road and 21st South. He has a complete P.A. left over from The Roxy days and a basement with all the walls knocked out. Nearly every weekend, there would be a party with minimal cover charge featuring the Boards, Atheists, Plants, or the younger bands Angle and Massacre Guys. The parties at Steve’s sort of wound down after some rednecks rushed a party and tangled with some skinheads from Long Beach. Somebody got stabbed in the course of events, and it stopped being safe to have parties there.
The only venues left to have shows were a few public halls and community centers. The Boards played a great show at Eagles Club in West Valley. The Effigies, from Chicago, were scheduled to play at the Central City Recreational Center but cancelled when their van broke down. The main place for shows was the Urban Indian Center on 13th South near Derks Field. The first couple of shows were promoted by a guy named Tim Goslin who was sort of an effeminate Paul Snider. He promoted the first T.S.O.L. and Black Flag shows in SLC and made a habit of not paying opening bands. (A habit which continues among some promoters to this day). He eventually moved to New York to become a lackey for Andy Warhol. This resulted in a void which was quickly filled by young people from “the scene,” and the bands themselves promoted their own shows. The main operators in this climate were Kevin Golding and the Massacre Guys.
Kevin Golding was from Palos Verdes, California, originally, but settled in Provo with his family where, among other things, he founded Napier’s Bones and the Bad Yodelers. He promoted shows with bands including Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, Battalion of Saints and Minor Threat, both at the Urban Indian Center and a small garage near Redwood Road and North Temple. The Hüsker Dü show was great. They were scheduled to play at The Garage, but their car broke down near Wendover. By the time they arrived, it was near midnight and there were maybe a dozen people in the audience, the rest having left without paying, thinking the show wouldn’t happen. The Hüskers played a great show nonetheless when Golding told them he could only pay them $20 after expenses. They took the money, bought a pizza and enough cheap beer to choke a camel and partied with M-Guys for a couple of days. On the other hand, when Battalion of Saints showed up a day late for their own show, they threatened to beat Kevin up because not enough people were there.
The Massacre Guys got about as close to being punk rock legends as anyone in SLC. The original band consisted of Jimmy Germ, Jamie “El Cid” Shuman, Jonnie Slaughter and Steve O’Reilley. They developed a large following through playing parties and promoting themselves at the Urban Indian Center. Eventually, they released a couple of EPs, appearing on some national compilations and on local television a number of times. They were also the first local band to play extensively out of state, playing throughout the West with bands including T.S.O.L., Dead Kennedys, Bad Religion and JFA. By this time, Jimmy Germ had moved, and original bass player Paul Maul, (Paul Maritsas, owner of the Speedway) had been replaced by Karl “Snarl” Alvarez, or “Art Gecko,” as he was known to close friends. An interesting feature of the Massacre Guys was that both Steve-O and Jonnie played both guitar and drums and would trade off during shows, playing two sets, as it were. With the addition of Paul Krowas on rhythm guitar, they were a formidable live act, performing often in white, black or blue face and were known to wear some of the most ridiculous outfits. Their sound was compared to speed metal played through shitty equipment in the beginning and later developed into a sort of melodic dirge sound closer to the more recent death rock craze. It is unfortunate that it was never adequately captured on record. It is, however, interesting to note the development of Steve-O’s early songwriting to his work with Descendents and All and compare that to Jonnie’s recent work with the Boxcar Kids, which has the same contrasts as the Massacre Guys sound. Some of the shows promoted by the Massacre Guys included Dead Kennedys, T.S.O.L. several times (one show occurring in the MG’s basement!), the first Minutemen show in SLC, as well as several shows in conjunction with Golding and Brad Collins. One local show with the Bad Yodelers and the MG’s drew nearly 400 people.
Another band which must be mentioned is Angle. Led by Ron Miller, they were the first band since Willy Tidwell to release their own EP. They played a more melodic, clean sort of metal in the tradition of say, Agent Orange. They developed a large but sporadic following and splintered into the Pedestrians while Ron produced a solo record which is quite interesting and I believe is still available at Raunch Records. Angle has recently reformed with Paul Maritsas on guitar.
Fanzines at the time include Slam, Zionoiz and Leisure Cambodian.
To end, I have to mention the most successful band at the time, 004. They were one of the best dance bands I have ever seen and achieved a level of success which has not been matched in SLC. They played predominantly original music with a few ska and reggae covers thrown in. They occupy a unique position in Salt Lake music history and showed it was possible to play original music and be commercially viable at the same time. Besides that, they created some of the best grooves ever heard in Zion. They released a 45″ and a tape called State of Affairs, which I believe is still available. 004 consisted of Doug Edwards, Wanda Day, Terri Jackson, Scott Simons and Phillip Miller.