*Originally Posted December 11, 2009.
You may know Troy from his decade of work as a tattoo artist at Lost Art, Eleventh Street Electric Gallery, Yellow Rose and his new shop King of Swords. You may have seen his band Opened Up back in the early 2000s. You may have heard rumors about his jaw-dropping Salt Lake Hardcore record collection. You may not know that he's also a Salt Lake-lifer, loving father, caring husband, still vegan, still straight edge and still a "hardcore kid." I'm psyched that Troy is the first voice in our new One Voice column because he truly lives the hardcore ethic.
How were you introduced to the Salt Lake Hardcore scene?
I have a couple of cousins that are a year (or 2?) older than me, who got me into punk and hardcore. I started listening to the Misfits, C.O.C., The Exploited, 7 Seconds, etc. around 13 or 14, about the same time i started skateboarding. At that time (1988-1989), Brad Collins, who owned Raunch Records had a radio show called "Behind The Zion Curtain," which exposed me to punk and hardcore every Saturday night at at midnight (i think...maybe it was like 1?). Anyway, that was when i started to learn that i could see bands in Salt Lake that were actually from Salt Lake.
I had a few friends that I met through skateboarding who actually told me that i was straightedge, because i wouldn't partake in smoking and drinking with them. That was when i was introduced to bands like Minor Threat, Uniform Choice and the whole "youth crew" thing. I would go to Skate Jams with them, skate ramps, and they would be drinking/smoking and who knows what else, and they would actually draw X's on my hands and tell me that i was straightedge. I was a kid, and these guys were 4 or 5 years older than me. I even got my first girlfriend in this group of friends...she lasted about 3 weeks, her name was Tessa haha... I snuck out my bedroom window to check out my first show, which was an INSIGHT show. I didn't go to a lot of shows back then and didn't really start going to every possible show I could make it to until a few years later. One of the first shows I was re-introduced to SLHC through was a few years later, The Salt Flat Compilation showcase.
What are some of your greatest SLHC memories?
The Salt Flat Compliation show was amazing. It was upstairs at DV8, and it seemed like there were a million people there dancing, diving and singing along to bands. There were a few fights, but whatever.
I saw a lot of great bands when i was too young to even drive, Circle Jerks, Dead Milkmen, Bad Brains with LEEWAY and Angry Samoans, the list could go on.
As soon as i was in High School, and had friends that could drive was when i really went to literally every single show i could make it to. Along with Spidey, we would go to everything we could figure out how to get to. We saw White Zombie and Monster Magnet at Club Starzz, and the only ride we could get was by riding in the trunk of a car full of stoners....who later started the "crew" SMP that we eventually beat up.
Another show that really stands out was Slaughterchrist, Lumberjack and I'm pretty sure Makeshift played. it was snowing like crazy, and a friend Dave Williams was picking me and Spidey up. While we're sitting in the back of a van going at least 60 on a snow covered 1-15 in the middle of a blizzard towards club starz, he turns around and looks back at us and says, "My dad said I could only borrow the van if I promise to keep my eyes on the road." I thought for sure we were dead. We got to the show and there were only about 20 people there but we had fun and partied as if there were 500. Then we went to a church parking lot and did donuts and got his van stuck in a snow bank.
One of the most memorable things about SLHC though was how active people got with animal rights and other "politics." If there's one thing i wish would have carried onto today's SLHC "scene," it would definitely be how active people were in trying to better themselves and the world around them, in a not so personal/selfish way.... Not to say people are selfish, but back in the day people really actually cared about people like Mumia Abu-Jamal being behind bars basically for speaking out against police repression and police brutality/terrorism, the fact that the MOVE 9 were imprisoned for a crime that was physically impossible for 9 people to commit is ridiculous, and people knew about these issues, and we cared. We made zines, passed out flyers, and even fought each other both verbally and physically over these issues.... so i guess, i don't miss the fighting as much as i miss the awareness that people had. But sometimes the fighting was a necessary evil, and as far as i'm concerned justifiable in some cases.
Who are your favorite SLHC bands?
Favorite recordings would have to be INSIGHT "Standing Strong" on Soulforce records and all of the FLATLINE records: Brainstorm S/T, The Stench "Four Before," Search S/T , Reality "Something Hurts," Waterfront S/T, Decomposers "Death Hillbilly" and of course LIFELESS S/T and "Demo," Triphammer, the Lumberjack "Bulldozer 7" is pretty amazing. I'll listen to that all day long! But as far as i'm concerned the best SLC band ever is ICEBURN! The burn/ fall 7" is flawless. Firon is amazing and Hephaestus is fucking unbelievable! Even though people would sit down at the shows waiting for a "mosh part" that never came, they weren't afraid to play how they wanted to play. And it was amazing! The first reunion show at Club Vegas was insane. It was cool to see a lot of old faces, but some of the faces, would have looked better with a bottle smashed in, but what do you do?
There was also a band from Ogden called REFUTE that was amazing! I have the cover to the demo tape, but i don't know where the tape is, and would love to have a copy of that.
Tamerlane is fucking amazing. Tamerlane, City To City and XreflectX have been my favorites lately... however i wish there were more kids doing more traditional hardcore in the vein of their predecessors INSIGHT!!!
How has hardcore and the Salt Lake scene impacted your life?
Unlike a lot of the kids I knew growing up, I still hold true to my convictions. I'm not knocking them for changing, I understand that people change and I respect that. But there were a lot of flags flying high and it always reminds me of the lyric, "i wanna see how high is that flag gonna fly when the storm comes raging through" from Judge's "The Storm." A lot of kids flew their flags when it was comfortable, but folded in times of pressure. A lot of kids snitched on their friends, and turned their backs in some of the worst ways. I stood my ground, even when I felt like I had my back up against a wall. I've had rumors spread about me, I've faced potential prison time, and I've fought my way through, tooth and nail, to overcome some obstacles growing up. I sincerely believe that it was because of my foundation in Hardcore.
A lot of kids changed for the worst, and I'm not saying it's "worse" to not be drug free, but when kids talk shit on the rest of us for sticking with something that they once wore on their sleeves, simply because they "grew up," then it's laughable at best.
Salt Lake Hardcore taught me a lot about who I am. I went through alot of shit growing up, from an abusive alcoholic father to learning how to be comfortable in my own "brown" skin, eventually i found straightedge which helped me to not become an alcoholic like my father, and eventually be a BETTER father to my kids, than what I had growing up. I learned about Veganism, which is a very important aspect of my life still today, almost 17 years later, and is allowing me to pass on my values to my two sons who (so far) have been raised vegan. The oldest is only 3 1/2 years old but already knows the difference between vegan and non-vegan food, and has no interest in consuming anything that has "cow's milk" in it or "hurts mudder erff"... but more importantly the ethics and attitude with hardcore in general, helped me to be the best person i could be, "sure i fucked up....but i got back up!"
What are your thoughts on the state of hardcore today and its future?
Unfortunately I'm not as in touch with the current hardcore "scene" as I would like to be. I've gone through my phase of "metal" influenced hardcore and it's just not my thing anymore. I dabbled, and I like a lot of it still but none of the new stuff really strikes me as anything I would willingly listen to, or go see live. I definitely prefer 1980's-mid 1990's hardcore. It seems that a lot of bands that came out in the 00's had lost touch with the ethics of hardcore, we started seeing riders, tour busses, all sorts of guarantees, and IDs at the door... higher door prices etc. It's interesting that this is right around the time (late 90's/early 2000's) that bands on a DIY level were starting to get signed to major labels, and the "industry" found a cash crop in underground music....again.....and I believe alot of that carries on today.
However, there is hope for underground hardcore and small DIY labels with bands that give a fuck about hardcore and the ethics. Just Another Day Records is just one example, and do yourself a favor and look into some of these bands and buy their shit! React! Records has some amazing bands as well. JAD Records is about as close as I get to being up to date on current HC.
Locally I wish I could make it to more shows. But when it comes down to it, I love hardcore, but if I'm going to play around with kids that are young enough to be my kids, I'll stay home and play with my own kids.