Bill French needs little introduction. He started his first band -- Deadfall -- over a decade ago. From Deadfall came 78 Days After Death. From 78 Days came Cherem. From Cherem came Up River. Here's the rest of the story:
How were you introduced to the Salt Lake Hardcore scene?
I got into hardcore in 94, when my friend Joe Dressler told me about some show that was only .25 cents to get into. A band had hit him up at a mall, saying that they were playing and gave him a flyer.
We were both too young to drive so got our friends older sister to drive us all to the show. The band was called Bleed and the venue was called The Punk House. It was an abandoned construction trailer, right over the overpass on 4th south in downtown Salt Lake. This was well before they created that giant freeway off ramp. So there was really nothing over there but abandon buildings, railroad tracks and industrial machines.
I started looking for more records like it, buying other Ebullition Records like Struggle, Downcast and Portraits of Past. In many ways, it was these bands that shaped my views on hardcore and my life on a whole.
It wasn't until two years later that I actually got involved in the SLC hardcore scene when I started tagging along with a friend of mine to some of the local shows. Believe it or not, before the internet became prevalent, you had to be in the loop about shows or you just didn't hear about them.
What are some of your greatest SLHC memories?
That's a rough question, so many things instantly come to mind. I think more than any particular instance though, the entirety of my experiences have added up into something even better than just feeling nostalgic for any one particular moment.
When i think about Salt Lake City hardcore, I just think about how lucky I have been to have such good friends and to have had such amazing times with them. From starting bands and putting on shows, through all of the hardest times, I've had the very best times in my life with some of the greatest people I have ever met. Sometimes I think we take this for granted and fail to realize how unique this really is. Just take a look around and see how other social groups interact with each other, coming in and out of each others lives, stabbing each other in the back, only scratching the surface with who they truly are.
Then I think about my life. I've known many of these people for ten to fifteen years. We've grown up and built something really positive together. Even when the bands no longer inspire, only sing about things we can't relate to or have no passion behind them, we're still here and the spirit that brought us there is still alive.
I think that could be something unique to hardcore. Without the music, the friendship and drive still exists. People still roll out to shows for bands that don't care for. They still get passionate abut seeing old bands reunited. It's another reason why so many bands get back together after a long hiatus. Even when hardcore is over saturated and exploited by the mainstream, the energy that brought us all together still exists and we are drawn to it.
Once you're a part of it, it's with you for life and you'll draw from these experiences and that spirit until the end of your days. So these are my greatest memories... that and when Vanilla Ice got punched out.
What are your favorite SLHC bands, past and/or present, and why?
Some of my very favorite... some very very good bands. Clear, Climb, Triphammer, Decontaminate, Faucet/Pathway, Lifeless, Lazarus Project, Conviction, Enchworm, and all of the bands around when I first got into hardcore and the subsequent bands that spawned from them were all very influential. I still listen to a lot of that stuff, aside from the ones that never made it to digital format.
I really liked some of the project bands that were around for only a short time. Arkham Asylum was awesome. Then the bands that I don't remember how to spell their names Carcano 6.5, Haloraker... Damn, the more I list, the more I find that I really just like most of the bands that have come out for one reason or another. Dead Peasants Insurance, Skeiff Da Bargg (I quote that line "While you count the money, fuck you." every time I go out to a group dinner. That's a good one) Tamerlane, Aftermath Of A Trainwreck... really just too many to mention.
So I can just say that I'm very thankful for everyone that I've ever been able to play in a band with, to play a show with, or been able to watch live and be influenced by.
How has hardcore and the Salt Lake scene impacted your life?
I think I could write a book on this. In many ways, I would say that it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I found a sense of purpose, realized that my life was in my hands and that if there were things in life that I didn't like, I had the power to change them. Some of the best people, most influential people and the most dear people to me I've met through the hardcore scene. It's been a great community, network of support and just a damned good time. There have been some downsides, but there is with everything.
What are your thoughts on the state of hardcore today and its future?
I think hardcore has definitely changed, but it's still very much alive and in a good place. People have always complained about how things are and wished for things to be how they were. That is nothing new. In the mid-90's people were complaining about the state of hardcore, saying it was dead while 600 kids would roll up to shows. It's changing like always, evolving and bands are still making their mark. I'm hopeful for the future.