So why should you, or anyone else for that matter, care about my opinions? I mean, for someone who is writing critically about a specific art form and decided to forego the college experience and get a degree from the "School of Hard Knocks," what makes my opinions have any validity? Well, for those of you who want to get to the nitty-gritty and get right to my published reviews, then go to the Article Links section below. For everyone else who would like a little more background, please enjoy the bio's below.
Although I had gone to advanced creative writing courses during the summertime when I was in grade-school, I really didn't begin writing seriously until 2012, when I started working on a book that was a look back at my life between the years of 1994 and 2000 called Confessions of a Drug-Addled Teenage Mind. <https://www.facebook.com/confessionsofadrugaddledteenagemind> After spending a year completing a rough-draft of the first half, I got in touch with an editor who had an extremely impressive resume—Rebecca Vernon. She had an M.F.A. from the University of Utah in Creative Writing (fiction emphasis), who had previously been the copy editor of the Salt Lake City Weekly, and possessed over a decade of experience. Over the next year and a half she worked with me in completing all 169,000 words of the book manuscript, and taught me everything I needed to know on how to be a professional writer; from not only how to structure everything from paragraphs and the best way to phrase sentences for maximum impact, to the fundamentals of punctuation. It was definitely a crash-course, but we worked very well together and her patience and knowledge is what truly developed me into the writer I am today. Although I must admit that after working so closely with the great editor here, Erik Nestel, for a period of time, his literary influence can definitely be felt on this site, and my writing overall. Now you know who to blame.
I started sending the manuscript to various people for feedback, and it started generating interest (my personal favorite being a short-form documentary that was inspired by the book <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5Y1jxQCJaU>). One person that showed not only an interest in the story, but in my talents as a writer as well, was Carlo Harryman, owner of the Southwestern Wyoming news outlet SweetwaterNOW.com. His familiarity with the project stemmed from the fact that the first half of the book takes place in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and there haven't been many books written about that area. We got in contact, and I was hired on to write an A&E (arts and entertainment) column about the Salt Lake City music scene. That focus was due to the fact that we are one of the largest, if not THE LARGEST news outlet in southwestern Wyoming (the entire state's population is only 500,000, and we generate over 140,000 unique visitors each month) and a portion of our readers vacation in Salt Lake City. We felt this would give them a heads-up on things to do when on holiday. My first article for SweetwaterNOW.com, an interview with a Salt Lake band called SubRosa, was published on 4/2/14. Coincidentally, that same day I had another article get published in a different news outlet-- Salt Lake Community College's "The Globe." Although I wasn't a student, I was asked to help out a student by writing a concert review for a band from Seattle who was on tour and playing at a local club. My article was an accompaniment piece to an article he was writing based on an interview he did with the band about the tour.
After a couple of months, interest in the Salt Lake music scene faded, and I moved over to writing about politics. During my tenure of political writing for SweetwaterNOW, I had articles published ranging from medical marijuana laws to common core. It was also during this time that I had an op-ed piece published in The Salt Lake Tribune about Utah alcohol laws in relation to the LDS Church and the amount of those who are followers of the faith that are addicted to prescription pain medications, and the church's official statements on both matters.
At the end of 2014, there were two major changes in my writing life. At SweetwaterNOW I had moved back to A&E, this time interviewing musicians on tour that would have shows in the Sweetwater County area and then writing pre-show coverage pieces to help promote the events. I also was hired on at Salt Lake UnderGround (SLUG) Magazine. SLUG is an independent A&E magazine that has been around for over 25 years and is a staple of the Salt Lake community. They have a monthly paper periodical with a circulation of 30,000 as well as a large web-presence due to their affiliations with CrucialFest, Pride Parade, and Craft Lake City, among others. I was hired on to write show reviews, album reviews, and interviews/pre-show pieces. This was also around the time that I began writing a book called "100 Bands in 1 Year: A Year in the Life of the UnderGround." (For a more detailed explanation of that book, head over to the Mission Statement section). Through this book and my other published works, I was hired by Sumerian Records artist DRÆMINGS to write their band biography for their official website.
After working at SLUG Magazine for five months, we parted ways; however, it was through that separation that this site was born. The writings here will continue the work that I had begun at SLUG, and take it into even more auspicious territory; including being the ONLY media outlet to cover the 2015 Salt Lake City Dark Arts Festival.
I have also worked with Bill Manspeaker from the Gold record awarded, Grammy-nominated, Guinness World Record holding band Green Jellÿ, in writing the press release for the band’s 2015 U.K. tour. <https://www.facebook.com/BILLMANSPEAKERGREENJELLO/posts/10207048549065482?pnref=story>,
as well as writing the biography for the band Suburban Birds <https://www.reverbnation.com/artist_5051725/bio>
I have been involved in music, to one degree or another, for over 20 years. I started by teaching myself how to play drums at age 10. At age 13, I had started taking guitar lessons that were being taught by a man named Mike Elizondo. He had a degree in music from Weber State University, in Ogden, Utah, and had been playing guitar for over 30 years. Although the lessons were mostly focused on learning how to play the guitar, Mike was REALLY into music theory. At my first lesson, I didn't even pick up a guitar. We went over the basic fundamentals of chord structures and how they are typically built on a system of a root note, 3rd note, and fifth note, among other things.
Over the next two years I not only learned how to play the guitar (I could hold my own, but certainly wasn't a virtuoso), but I also learned A LOT about music and the relationship that different scales and chord progressions can have on the emotional context of a piece of music. For example: he would give me the notes of each major key on a sheet of paper, then he would hand me sheets of paper that looked like a guitar neck, after that he would give me the equation to build a scale and mark the note placements on the sheet of paper that looked like a guitar neck with little black dots. Because there are TONS of scales, it would sometimes take hours to do a couple of them as Mike would want me to write them in octaves up to the 20th fret. Then, he would have me go home and write a simple three or four chord progression for the following week. I would come in and play those three or four chords using different time signatures and tempos. As I did so, he would take the papers I had written the scales on and show me that although I was playing the same background music, that by using different scales over the top of my rhythms - even though they were in the same key - it can make something go from being truly beautiful to something creepy or sinister, just by changing a few notes.
Shortly after I began playing guitar, I started forming bands. For the next 20 years I played in all kinds of them, playing in all kinds of clubs, making albums, building a studio, and producing the music of others. I've dealt with promoters, booking agents, record company people, rival bands, and other musicians. Basically, I'm pretty well-versed in not only what the music business is, but I'm also aware of a majority of all the little nooks and cranny's associated with being involved in the "biz" as a career (which, if you are thinking about this way of life, PLEASE read the book All You Need To Know About The Music Business by Donald Passman, it is essential). Once I began writing, I stopped playing music and devoted all my time to my new passion. Do I miss it? Sometimes. But then I go to a show and see band members hauling around giant speaker cabinets that weigh a ton ... and then I don't miss it as much.
I have been going to concerts for even longer than I have played guitar. Due to the length of time I have been attending shows, coupled with my love of live performances, I have had the pleasure of witnessing a countless number of events featuring hundreds upon hundreds of acts from a plethora of genres. This is one of the reasons that I had set out to see over 100 bands in one year-- it was something I knew that I could easily accomplish. Which, as of the last show I attended - the Green Jellÿ show which is in the "From The Vaults" section - I more than reached my goal, by clocking in my 112th band since December of 2014.
During my tenure at SLUG, I was known as being one of the most, if not the most, prolific writers on staff; having had reviews published covering the live performances of over 50 bands, as well as 20 album reviews, a few interview/pre-show pieces, and I was the sole source of written coverage for SLUG Magazine at the 2015 Utah Pride Parade and Festival. I had also garnered a reputation for being one of the most diverse writers as well; covering a slew of different musical styles ranging from funk to punk, classical to country, blues to black metal, and all points in between. As arrogant as this sounds, it is the truth: I've forgotten about more music than most people will ever know about in their lifetime.
Article Links (All links are arranged newest to oldest, with show reviews using the date of the event, not the date of publication)-
Electric Cathedral/Charles Ellsworth/The Wild War/Vinyl Tapestries @ Kilby Court; July 10th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/slugmag/electric-cathedral-charles-ellworth-tour-kickoff/>
CrucialFest Day Three Recap with Goatsnake/Eagle Twin/Uzala/Turbo Chugg/God's Revolver/Agape/Lesbian/Die Off/Danger Hailstorm/Magda-Vega @ Area 51 & The Urban Lounge; June 20th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/local-events/crucialfest-day-three-2015/>
CrucialFest Day Two Recap with Dead Meadow/Black Pussy/Dark Seas/Done @ The Urban Lounge; June 19th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/show-reviews/crucialfest-day-two-recap-2015/>
Zombiecock/Wulf Blitzer/Breaux/CVPITVLS @ Kilby Court; June 13th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10127/Zombiecock-Kilby-Court-0613-with-Wolf-Blitzer-Breaux-CVPITVLS.html>
2015 Utah Pride Parade and Festival with the Saliva Sisters @ Washington and Library Squares; June 7th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10125/2015-Utah-Pride-Parade-and-Festival.html>
Voltaire/Ego Likeness @ Area 51; May 23rd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9970/Voltaire-Area-51-with-Ego-Likeness.html>
Tvsk-Gypsy Cab/Timmy The Teeth/Crook & The Bluff/RuRu @ The Urban Lounge; May 16th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9965/Timmy-The-Teeth-Urban-Lounge-0516-with-TvskGypsy-Cab-Crook-amp-The-Bluff-RuRu.html>
John Moreland/Sammy Brue/Blackkiss @ The Heavy Metal Shop; May 6th, 2015 <<http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9956/John-Moreland-The-Heavy-Metal-Shop-0506-with-Sammy-Brue-Blackkiss.html >>
The Circulars/Levi Rogers (Book Reading)/Bat Manors @ The Rose Establishment; May 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9953/A-Brief-History-of-Melancholy-Book-Release-The-Rose-Establishment-0502-with-The-Circulars-Bat-Manors.html>
Koala Temple/LA Font/Shark?/Starmy @ The Urban Lounge; April 27th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9947/Koala-Temple-Urban-Lounge-0427-with-LA-Font-Shark-Starmy.html>
Mushroomhead/Doyle/The Family Ruin/Natas Lived @ Area 51; April 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9791/Mushroomhead-Area-51-0402-with-Doyle-The-Family-Ruin-Natas-Lived.html>
Hurray For The Riff Raff/Adia Victoria @ The State Room; March 26th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9673/Hurray-For-The-Riff-Raff-The-State-Room-0326-with-Adia-Victoria.html>
Westward/Standing In For Joe @ The Loading Dock; March 6th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9588/Westward-CD-Release-Local-Show-at-The-Loading-Dock-0306-with-Standing-In-For-Joe.html>
Musicians Of The Utah Symphony (MOTUS) @ The Red Door; February 28th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9434/MOTUS-After-Dark-The-Red-Door-0228.html>
1349/Origin/Abysmal Dawn/Wolvhammer/Die Off @ Area 51; February 17th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9342/Chaos-Raids-USA-Tour-2015-Area-51-0217-with-1349-Origin-Abysmal-Dawn-Wolvhammer-Die-Off.html>
The Adarna @ The Dawg Pound; March 25th, 2014 <http://www.globeslcc.com/2014/04/02/the-adarna-concert-review-slc-ogden-utah/>
Advent Horizon - Stagehound; July 30th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10031/Advent-Horizon.html>
Suburban Birds - Suburban Birds; July 30th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/local-music-reviews/suburban-birds-self-titled/>
I Capture Castle - Daydreamer; July 30th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/local-music-reviews/i-capture-castle-daydreamer/>
Matt Vanaria - Matt Vanaria; July 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/national-music-reviews/matt-vanaria-self-titled/>
Six Feet Under - Crypt Of The Devil; July 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/national-music-reviews/six-feet-under-crypt-of-the-devil/>
Sick Of Sarah - Anthem E.P.; July 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10188/Sick-of-Sarah.html>
Ossatura - Ossatura E.P.; July 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10294/Ossatura.html>
False Witness - Ascent To Chaos; July 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10290/False-Witness.html>
Various Artists - Knowing Jesus; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10090/Various-Artists.html>
Squash - Squash; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10088/Squash.html>
DulceSky - Spies of the System: 03-14; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10079/DulceSky.html>
Territory - Blowback 7"; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10048/Territory.html>
Stearica - Fertile; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10021/Stearica.html>
Rongeur - The Catastrophist & As The Blind Srtive Demos; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10084/Rongeur.html>
Of Feather And Bone & Reproacher - Split 7"; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10078/Of-Feather-And-Bone.html>
Drenge - Undertow; June 4th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/10039/Drenge.html>
Hollow Tongue - Time/Death; May 1st, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9895/Hollow-Tongue.html>
The Adarna - How Perceptive; May 1st, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9864/The-Adarna.html>
Liturgy - The Ark Work; April 2nd, 2015<http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9737/Liturgy.html>
Catholic Girls - Distant 7"; April 2nd, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9713/Catholic-Girls.html>
Interviews and Pre-show Articles:
The Adarna @ Kilby 07.17 with Berlin Breaks, The Departure, and Saving Satori; May 26th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9977/The-Adarna-Kilby-0717-with-Never-Before-and-Moneypenny.html>
Magic and Friendship with That 1 Guy; March 20th, 2015 <http://www.slugmag.com/articles/9638/Magic-and-Friendship-with-That-1-Guy.html>
Teenage Bottlerocket World Tour Preview; March 8th, 2015 <http://www.sweetwaternow.com/teenage-bottlerocket-wyomings-punk-rock-phenomenon-will-play-rock-springs-march-11-rs-show-kicks-off-tour-europe-north-america/>
Punk's Not Dead-- But It's Definitely On Life-Support; May 9th, 2014 <http://www.sweetwaternow.com/punks-dead-definitely-life-support/>
Music Scene: Salt Lake City's own SubRosa; April 2nd, 2014 <http://www.sweetwaternow.com/music-scene-salt-lake-citys-subrosa/>
Band Biographies/Press Releases:
Suburban Birds Band Bio—
Green Jellÿ 2015 U.K. Tour Press Release—
DRÆMINGS Full Bio—