Thursday, February 12, 2015

SALT LAKE HARDCORE 101: PUSHING UP DAISIES


In early 2000, Daryl McLaren, Mike Morgan and Gary McLaren decided they were bored of playing fast, old-school hardcore. It was still a genre that they loved, but they were all looking to expand their musical knowledge and try a different soundscape. Tempered, the band they’d been playing in for the past few years had seen moderate success and recorded a short EP, but never garnered much attention outside of a few die-hard fans.

They played one last show before quietly disbanding Tempered, but they never really stopped playing together. They recruited guitarist Tim Meyers (who was also used to playing old-school hardcore in local bands like Breakaway) and drummer Nick Foster, and quietly went to work. They kept a lid on everything they were doing (which soon became the Pushing Up Daisies way) while they put together a new set, but a buzz started to grow.

By the time they were ready to actually showcase their new sound, no one had any idea what to expect. Their first show was in February of 2001 at Wagstaff Music in Sandy. It was an all-local show headlined by 78 Days After Death and a short-lived band called Haloraker. Pushing Up Daisies went on first that night and suddenly no one wanted to play after them.

Effects pedals littered the stage, the drummer had a keyboard set up next to his hi-hat and by halfway through the first song, they had already exceeded any expectations anyone may have had. The closest comparison was would have been Cave In’s sound from Until Your Heart Stops, but even that would be doing the band injustice. The eclectic style and virtuosity that they displayed set them apart from just about every other band in the hardcore scene.

The started to play local shows all around the city, branching out and routinely playing with bands that no one would expect them to. The songs all had a heaviness that helped them fit in with bands like Cherem and 78 Days After Death, but they also dared to let them drift into something far quieter, cleaner and almost beautiful. This allowed them to play shows outside their comfort zone and at venues that straight-up hardcore bands weren’t welcome. They quickly became one of the more popular bands around town, as well as one of the anchors of a suddenly revitalized SLC scene.

Pushing Up Daisies took five tracks into the studio and recorded nearly 40 minutes of music, but the finished product almost never saw the light of day. By the time they had finished recording, Tim was getting ready to leave for a mission, forcing him to quit the band, and their drummer, Nick, soon followed suit. With no desire to spend money on an album that they couldn’t properly promote, Gary, Daryl and Mike took a small hiatus to regroup and plan their next step.

Shortly after Nick and Tim had played their last show, another local band, Compilate, decided to call it a day which opened the door for Kel Prime to take over drumming duties. They recruited ex-Haloraker and Lazarus Project guitarist Ian Peterson to take the vacant guitar spot and immediately got to work finishing the Gunslinger EP.

The album was self-released in the fall of 2003 and the band sold out of nearly every copy they had printed and embarked on a few short tours. Their fan base kept expanding and Pushing Up Daisies kept pushing the envelope on the type of shows they chose to play, but were always a staple of the hardcore scene. The EP garnered a lot of attention from labels and fans outside Salt Lake City, but everyone in the band had too many other things going on to put forth the kind of time commitment necessary to take the next step. They played their final show at the SLUG Magazine Sabbathon event in Salt Lake City in 2004.

Mike Morgan graduated from medical school, and practices emergency medicine in Salt Lake where he lives with his wife, Denise. Daryl McLaren lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Erin and their daughter, Phoebe. He recently graduated from medical school and is currently interviewing for emergency medicine positions around the country, though his crowning achievement is definitely being recently featured on the DILF’s of Disneyland Instagram account. Gary McLaren runs a successful hydraulics testing firm, Kel Prime lives in Salt Lake City with his wife Amelia and their newborn son, Truman. Ian, his wife Charity, and their many pets live in Detroit, though last we heard, he was not trying to make it as a rapper on 8-mile road and just had a regular job.

Tim Meyers and Nick Foster continue to play music with various bands around Salt Lake City, though their most famous project is the popular Palace of Buddies.

After years of trying, Pushing Up Daisies will be reuniting for another set at the Brad Hancock memorial show.

1 comment:

Austin said...

Still one of my favorites,
Also Sabbathon was 04.. crazy.