Monday, July 29, 2013


Craft Lake City is less than two weeks away, and I'm in the process of getting everything ready for my table. It's two days this year, which will be fun.

Like usual, things that I had high hopes for early in the going didn't pan out as I'd hoped, but them's the breaks. I'll have another issue of my zine, Filler, and the Long Live Sloan t-shirts, but no comics.

My original plan was to write 4 mini-comics and have a few different friends draw them, then put them all together in a cool package. Didn't quite work out that way. I got two of the four written and none of the two were drawn. I can't be mad about it though (and I'm not) because drawing is way harder and more time-consuming than writing. All the artists have other stuff going on and they've got better things to do than draw fight scenes for free so I can sell something. Maybe I'll have them for next year, but I won't get my hopes up.

What I do have though, is the first Old News Records novel. My friend Mike wrote this really cool book called Tulip and he's letting me publish it. So, I'm taking ONR from one dying medium (cd's) to another. It's at the printer right now and I'm really excited about it.

Make sure you stop by the ONR/ table sometime on August 9 or 10 and say hi. I'll be hanging out looking for some company.

Things might be kind of quiet around here until then. I need to get all my ducks in a row for the weekend, but there may be a stray post or two between now and then. You never know.

Also, if you feel like being a volunteer for the festival, I'm sure they'd love to have you. They need all the help they can get. Go here and sign up. Tell them I sent you.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Sub Pop Records still gets legitimate mail.

A mail carrier shows up at their office every day with letters and things that they have to go through. Earlier this week, they got what might have been one of the best letters of all time.

A young woman from Virginia Tech wrote a letter to Sub Pop asking if Nirvana would be interested in recording a video for their homecoming celebration. As she states in her letter, "It presents great publicity for them, and as Virginia Tech loves Nirvana, we'd love to have her in our video."

This is where it gets confusing. Aside from Kurt Cobain having been dead for almost 20(!) years, she thinks Nirvana is a "her." It's also July. But maybe they start planning homecoming really early when you're the mascot. I don't know. Most of my college experience was spent doing anything and everything besides campus-oriented events.

But either way, Sub Pop played along. The young lady left her phone number, so Sub Pop had "Nirvana" make a video and sent it to her via text. She was thrilled.

So hopefully no one at Virginia Tech spoils the joke before the video hits the stadium of wherever it ends up, because there's now a video of Mark Arm from Mudhoney and three Sup Pop employees - one of whom is wearing the hat from the 4 Non Blondes "What's Going On?" video - posing as Nirvana. Hopefully it makes it all the way through and they're featured alongside the Ying Yang Twins, Big N Rich and three NFL players.

If this is real, it's probably a form letter that was sent out to hundreds of people and bands trying to reel in anyone that would take the bait. It's also possible that one of the older people on the board (or whatever it is that puts these things together) got kind of sick of listening to this young lady and just started throwing out the most ridiculous names they could think of to see which she'd fall for. Either way, it's pretty funny.

Good work for playing along, Sub Pop!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Salt Lake City does some amazing things.

Every year they put on the Twilight Concert Series at Pioneer Park. It's every Thursday night from mid July until late September and it's $5. You hear that? It's $5. Total.

It used to be free, but they began charging money last year - probably to keep out the homeless people, Juggalos and people that didn't want to actually watch the show.

They always have some great bands and this year is no exception. Belle & Sebastian - a band from Glasgow, Scotland that I love - kicked things off last night, so of course I went. Blitzen Trapper opened, and I'm not a huge fan of theirs, so I mostly wandered around the park to take part in favorite pastime - people watching.

Luckily for you, I documented the whole thing via Twitter.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Writing is hard.

I write a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Between writing things on this site, little articles for City Weekly, long articles for SLUG Magazine, quick posts and long rants on Tumblr, jokes on Twitter, freelance copy writing and SEO copy writing and blog posts (at my actual, day to day job), I spend at least 4 or 5 hours a day writing stuff.

It's fairly easy, and some days things flow easier than others but that's because it's all mostly non-fiction. I have a pretty good handle on journalistic and essay-style writing. I also feel like I have a few things to say every now and then, so I spit them out on the Internet and hope for the best. I don't worry too much about it and people generally seem to enjoy what goes out there.

You know what's not so easy? Fiction.

Fiction writing is way harder to do (and do well) than any form of word vomiting that I do.

That's actually why I'm writing this post right now. I was stuck on something else - a short story I'm toying with for a zine - and I'm hoping that switching gears for minute will get things back on track. I could lie and tell you that I expended all my energy writing 1800 words about pool maintenance this morning, but that would be a lie. That was easy.

But I think I've figured out what it is that makes writing fiction so hard. I've probably always known this but just never wanted to admit it, but more than hard, writing fiction is scary.

The things I ramble about on here are my opinions and worldview, if you don't like it, I don't really care. We probably wouldn't get along anyway.

But when you write fiction, it's a lot like writing a song. You're putting your creativity into something for the entertainment of others. That's scary because there's a chance that everyone might think what you're doing is just terrible.

I have no problem letting people read articles, blog posts and whatever other non-fiction work I do. It gets thrown into the world with very little second thought.

Creative stuff, though? Most of that never sees the light of day. I've started a bunch of movie scripts that very few people have read. I've written comics that no more than 3 people have ever seen. There have been short stories that were only read by complete strangers that I was fairly certain I'd never see again. There are poems sitting in a folder that met the same fate as the short stories, save for one or two people that I still see.

I'm working to change that. Not sure if it'll get done, but I'm trying.

It's hard to do, but whenever I think about it for too long, I just remember the advice of the great Jimmy Dugan:

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."

Friday, July 12, 2013


Remember the plane that crashed in San Francisco a little while back?

Well, during the subsequent mad scramble to report on the incident and in the continuing quest to beat out other networks for "scoops," Oakland Fox affiliate KTVU-TV thought they had something no one else did - the names of the pilots responsible for the crash.

Unfortunately, it was just someone playing a joke and the TV anchors were dumb enough to run with it. They claim that an NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) investigator in Washington confirmed the names, but let's get real. No. Way.

KTVU listed the names as:

Captain Sum Ting Wong (something wrong)
Wi Tu Lo (we too low)
Ho Lee Fuk (Holy Fuck)
Bang Ding Ow (Bang! Ding! Ow!)

The kicker? The news anchor READ THESE NAMES ALOUD and didn't think there was anything fishy about them.

Hat tip to Matthew Keys (@matthewkeyslive,  for pointing it out and documenting it for the rest of us.

Here's the video of it. For now anyway. Until it gets taken down because they probably feel like complete morons as they rightfully should.

And here's video of her kind of apologizing after a bunch of people probably called the station to say: "Are you serious? What's wrong with you morons? You couldn't see those were obviously fake names? How dumb can you be?"

*UPDATE* - Asiana Airlines is now suing the station because of this. They're suing because it was the made up names—not crashing into a wall while trying to land—that has left the reputation of the airline "badly damaged."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Good news, guys! I'm starting a new irregular feature on this site - very similar to the My Friends Over You feature that barely ever gets used anymore. Exciting, right?

I've done a few really fun interviews within the past few months and recorded all of them. Mostly they've been for SLUG Magazine stories, and while I really liked how they turned out, there still wasn't enough room to fit everything in. No matter how many words I have to play with, it's never enough to get through everything we talk about during our conversation. I have to find a way to tighten everything up and sometimes the structure or focus of what the article ends up being about eliminates a huge chunk of the interview.

No matter how long we talk for, and no matter how long the piece is, the interviews still all get transcribed. I spend anywhere from half an hour to two or three typing out everything that was said and it seems like a shame to let some of that go to waste. That's where this new feature comes in.

Every once in a while, I'm going to take a portion of an interview and put it up here. I didn't do all that work for nothing, god damn it.

We'll start with the Insight piece. The actual article had almost nothing from Chubba, the drummer, but that's not because he didn't say anything. He talked a lot, but it was mostly during a portion where we discussed hardcore, straight edge, music and the state of all three back in the early 90's. There wasn't room for any of that stuff when the article started taking shape, though. It would have had to go in a much different direction and would have been hard to get back to the original focus.

But we still talked about some good stuff, so now, for your reading pleasure, INTERVIEW OUTTAKES episode 1, starring INSIGHT!

You can read the proper article at, but here's the stuff from the cutting room floor.

Me: You guys were kind of the first straight edge band in Salt Lake. What was that like and what do you remember about it?

Jeremy Chatalain: I knew you were going to ask this question. I found straight edge accidentally. Andy, that was just here, he was an obsessive record collector like me. We would go to Raunch every week and buy first pressings of everything we could get. I met him at a skate shop and he asked me if I’d heard of all these bands like Justice League, Minor Threat, 7 Seconds. I went over to his house to borrow records and he drew big X’s on my hands. I was like ‘what is that?’ He just said ‘straight edge’. I said, ‘I don’t know what that is’ and he explained it to me and that was just who I was anyway. I was a skateboarder, I was Mormon growing up, and it fit my lifestyle 100%. I could get behind that. For me, straight edge was all about the music that came with it. The energy was totally addictive. One by one, as we put the band together, James and Doug, James you were into hardcore.

James Holder: Yeah, I was in to hardcore. It was more the skate rock stuff. I grew up in Heber, so Gentry (Densley) and I grew up together and he knew these guys. We were always listening to metal or a lot of skate rock stuff. Then I got in to straight edge.

Jeremy Chatalain: Mark and I had some conversations because we had been in bands before Insight, and that was kind of the thing that brought us together on the same plain. Then we were like, ‘this is what we want to do: thrashy hardcore, that’s fast and kind of metal.’ Then Mark felt like he had some things to say, and there was this platform, so not only was it about straight edge, but at the time all of us were vegetarian, there was anti-racism, everything that we thought were positive stances to take. Nobody around here was doing it and it wasn’t what it turned into eventually. The only people that were straight edge were people that we knew. When bands would come through town that were straight edge, we’d hang out with them and go skating or take them to raging waters. That was the extent of it. There wasn’t any tough mentality about it at all.

Me: There weren’t any other straight edge bands in Salt Lake at the time, right?

Jeremy Chatalain: Better Way, Gentry’s straight edge band, started pretty soon after.

Chubba: As much as straight edge it was the unity, the positive kind of thing. Everyone was friends. We played shows just about every weekend at Speedway or The Word. It was just a close community of friends.

Jeremy Chatalain: Insight shows in the late 80s were like kids from all of our high schools, sxe kids, hardcore kids, punk rockers, hippies and just a lot of energy. It started off where we’d play shows and you’d know everyone in the crowd. You’d play The Word and there’d be 35 people and you’d know all of them. Then suddenly new people that we didn’t know were showing up in Uniform Choice shirts, and more hardcore people popping out of the woodwork. Eventually we could pretty much fill up the Speedway.

Photo by Steve Midgley
Me: What have you noticed about the evolution of hardcore?

Jeremy Chatalain: Jamie and I played in other bands, but I did almost a complete 180 afterwards because I discovered Led Zeppelin. I feel like I was the same exact person, but my musical tastes just ballooned. The rest of these guys got into jazz, but I never really caught that bug. We all tried to do something different. I wasn’t involved in the scene too much after Iceburn. I had a serious thirst for music and that’s what I wanted to do—so much so that the bigger picture wasn’t really on my mind.

Chubba: Iceburn was kind of all over. We had quite the evolution and it still had a little bit of hardcore roots to it, a little bit metal, but the songs were more complicated. Once Jeremy and Doug moved on and James moved on, we kind of evolved through all these different genres but there was always a jazz influence and a classical influence. Gentry has a million ideas in his head always. There was a time when we were part of the scene, but there’d be maybe 10 people at the show.

Jeremy Chatalain: I feel like whenever I’d come home and go to an Iceburn show, it was like they’d kind of created their own scene. They were definitely a unique band.

Chubba: The hardcore scene for me kind of ended when everyone moved on and Iceburn slimmed down and went a different direction we kind of got out of the hardcore scene. We played a lot of different shows with different bands.

James Holder: With Insight we weren’t deliberately trying for it, we just played music and ended up as part of the scene. It was just part of the chemistry of it.

Jeremy Chatalain: More than any of the beliefs, I was into the music and I think these guys felt the same way. I think that’s why sometimes Insight was so intense. I also think that the flow and how things ended up – I think hardcore is a young man’s game. It takes youthful energy to have a scene and have these intense shows and I know they happen now. I work with kids that go to hardcore shows and go to house shows and do sing alongs. It happens, I know it, but it just seems the natural order of things for people to drop off and new people come up. When you’re young you can be so hyper focused on one thing and you have all this time for it and all this energy for it. At the time in 1988, I was all about hardcore. When you’re 17, 18 19 you follow this band and your belief system fits right in with theirs and suddenly they go a different direction, you’re like ‘you betrayed me.’ I’ve had these intense conversations with people over the years and they say things like, ‘I loved the first Jets To Brazil album, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, but what the fuck happened with your second record?’ And I would always have to remind them, ‘Do you realize how offensive that is?’ We’d just worked on that record for two years and if a band doesn’t evolve, they’re going to be bored shitless. If a band makes the same record over and over again they’re going to become bored and if someone is just a fan, but doesn’t play music, it’s really difficult to explain that to them.

Friday, July 5, 2013


A few months ago, I sat down with the dudes from Insight to talk to them about a reunion show they were playing. We talked mostly about hardcore, reunions and stuff like that and a lot of the best stuff made its way in to the article I wrote about them.

As the interview was winding down and we had covered all the questions I'd planned, we continued talking. Mostly it was just bullshitting about one thing or another and basically me listening in as they reminisced about old tours. I didn't think we'd be talking about anything worthwhile, so I turned off the recorder.

That was a stupid thing to do.

I've never had any formal journalism training, so I continue to sort of make it up and learn as I go, so I'm still not sure what the proper protocol is when you're done asking 'official' questions but still talking. I figured I'd be out of there in a matter of minutes. Well, we talked for about 15 more minutes because I asked Jeremy about one of his other long-dead projects, Handsome.

Jeremy told me he was working on obtaining the rights to the one record they put out so he could find someone to reissue it on vinyl, but was having a hard time getting through to anyone at Sony.

Looks like he made it work, because last week 6131 records announced that they're releasing it this September.

Even though I have no use for vinyl, this is still pretty cool and I'll probably pick one up. I love this band.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Remember when I told you that I worked in an office? It's been a little over three months now, and it's been... good. I guess. It's weird. There are as many aspects of this job that I love as I hate. Mostly I hate sitting in a chair all day.

I spent a lot of years waiting tables at a restaurant with a patio, so from March until November, I'm used to being outside nearly all day every day. It was a weird transition to make and one that I'm still struggling with. Fortunately, there's a huge pond out back with ducks. I get along well with ducks. I feel very Tony Soprano about the whole thing. There's something about them that relaxes me. If I ever own a home with a pool (however unlikely), I think I'll be okay if a family of ducks moves in. If they fly away and I collapse from a panic attack and have to go to therapy, we'll rethink things. But for now, I'm cool with ducks.

Every afternoon, I go outside and hang out by the pond with the ducks for a few minutes. It's relaxing for some reason. Not sure why, but it is. It takes the edge off being cooped up in an office all day.

Another thing about working in a big office like this? There are A LOT of people that work here. We're talking hundreds. I know maybe 15 of them and I talk to maybe 6 of those 15. There are a lot of energy drinks, fauxhawks, flip-flops, bedazzled jeans and Affliction shirts littered throughout these two buildings.

After the first week, I kind of stumbled into a bit of an office anthropological study.

My first desk (i.e. cubicle) faced the doorway and we were tucked away in a corner of the sales floor with a few other companies. The first day, I noticed a guy in a Lakers jersey. I only noticed it because I hate the fucking Lakers. The next day he was wearing a Reggie Bush USC jersey. The day after that, a different Lakers jersey. The next Monday he wore a Derek Jeter Yankees jersey, the day after he wore a Johnny Damon Red Sox jersey.

This is where my head almost exploded - simply because I couldn't get a read on what kind of fan he was. Obviously, it was a total frontrunner situation, but surely there had to be a pattern, I thought.

After my third week and a slew of different jerseys, I decided I had to keep track. I started a spreadsheet and began organizing what jersey he wore and how often he wore it. Each morning, I'd see him walk through the door and make a note of the jersey he had on.

It continued this way until last Friday. Last Friday, they moved me to a different part of the building and now I no longer see him every day. It's kind of a shame. I went over to his side of the building the past two days to get water from the break room, but really to see what he had on. He's been running repeats the past two days, which is a little disappointing.

Currently the count stands at 38 different jerseys. It's getting harder and harder to keep track of now, but I'll do it. I've just gotta keep coming up with reasons to go over there.

Don't worry though. I won't give up.