Monday, February 9, 2015

SALT LAKE HARDCORE 101: BAD YODELERS


The Salt Lake Hardcore scene has become known for integrating experimental metallic heaviness and dark melody into traditional hardcore punk. This began with the work of one band: Bad Yodelers.

The earliest incarnation of the Bad Yodelers played its first show in 1983 in the basement of Jon Shuman's house (bassist of Massacre Guys) alongside the earliest incarnation of another classic Salt Lake act, Victims Willing.

In the same year, the band recorded its first demo with its second singer, Brian Szugye. The demo featured a cover of Dr. Seuss' "One Fish Two Fish" and landed the Yodelers a now-historic opening spot with Discharge at the Salt Lake Indian Center. Szugye left the band before the show though and his replacement, Norman Frazier, dove off the stage during the band's final song, knocking his front teeth out on impact. Road manager Kevin Golding took over vocals after the show.

[On a totally tangential but interesting note, Kevin Golding was a California native who moved to Provo with his family in the early 80s, played with Bad Yodelers and Napier's Bones, and booked a number of shows at the Salt Lake Indian Center for acts including Black Flag, Battalion of Saints, Husker Du, and Minor Threat! These are shows of legend. Husker Du showed up late, after most of the crowd had left thinking the show would be canceled. They played to a handful of people, were psyched to receive $20 and used it to buy beer and pizza for all. Battalion of Saints played to an equally small crowd and threatened to beat Kevin up for it. Back to the Yodelers.]

1984 saw the release of an eleven-song cassette. The record was locally-lauded and won over a large fan base along the Wasatch Front. The Yodelers also set off on their first tour of the Rocky Mountain West. Golding left the band later in the year and Karl Alvarez of Massacre Guys became the band's 5th frontman.

Alvarez's arrival marked a shift in the band's style from its punk roots to a more experimental, metallic sound. The band recorded nine songs with Alvarez and toured extensively before he left the band to join melodic punk legends, the Descendents/ALL. A long-time friend Dow Patten fronted the band briefly before setting sail for San Francisco. Laura Jones, who went on to front Salt Lake act Commonplace, played two shows with the band before splitting due to creative differences.

In 1986, the band acquired its 8th-and-final vocalist, Terrance DH of The Stench. The band signed with European label Semaphore Records soon after and released the album, I Wonder, in 1989. I Wonder introduced the world to the polished version of the Yodelers' new hardcore/punk/thrash metal amalgam. They toured Europe the same year.

1991's Window saw the band moving toward a more refined post-hardcore/rock sound that would carry into 1993's South and the subsequent formation of the members' next project/re-naming, Season of the Spring. SOTS released a powerfully-emotional, self-titled album in 1993 but sadly disbanded shortly after.

Terrance DH shifted his focus to the band Magstatic, and now plays with Danger Hailstorm. Guitarist Mark Allen is now an assistant professor of psychology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Karl Alvarez continues to play with the Descendents and All. He's also played with acts the likes of Gogol Bordello, The Last, Underminer, The Vultures, The Real McKenzies, and The Lemonheads.



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