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Gavin's Underground

Utah Arts Festival 2012: The Jingoes, The Samuel Smith Band

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2012-06-26 -
While most everyone's convergence of the Utah Arts Festival ended on Monday morning, my blog skips every other day, so I believe I have the privilege of being the last post on the 2012 festival. Aside from snapping over 1,000 pictures, serving as emcee for several bands and losing five pounds walking around in the hot sun, I got the opportunity to check out every single booth and as many of the performances that I could over the course of the four-day event. The food wasn't that bad, either.
To wrap up my end of the coverage, which focused mainly on the music of the festival, we have two interviews for you today from rock bands The Jingoes and The Samuel Smith Band, all complete with over 300 pictures from Day 4 for you to check out.

The Jingoes (Mike Sasich, Marc Dorwart, Eric “Spock” Uquillas and Trevor Goss)
The Jingoes on ReverbNation

(For this interview, the band chose to answer as a group)

Gavin: Hey guys. First off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Jingoes: The Jingoes — All Fender, All Loud, All Good. Marc Dorwart plays a ‘67 Fender Mustang guitar. Mike Sasich is on a ‘65 Fender Jaguar. Eric “Spock” Uquillas rides a ‘69 Fender P~Bass, and Trevor Goss holds the beat down on Ludwig Vistalites. We have a disdain for all things trending, all things hyped, and all things bullshit. You might say we are adults in a youth-driven market.

Gavin: What got each of you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical
influences growing up?

Jingoes: Who gives a shit what we like, what we were like, or who we are going to like? We could tell you stories of how we played shows at the Mabuhay Gardens with some distant subculture icons, or would stand offstage watching family members from the CBGB’s alumni create a legend, or how our parents had the coolest record collections, but we’d just be stroking the shaft of our egos. Influences?! Would this information make your readers like us more? Less? Where we come from and where we’re headed are two separate equations. Let’s just get there in one piece, in time, together.
Gavin: Uh, that works. Each of you are involved involved with other bands and projects in the SLC music scene. How was it for each of you to break into playing in bands and performing around the state?

Jingo Mike is the only band member that plays in other groups. The rest of us work only for The Jingoes.

Gavin: How did the four of you decide to come together to for the Jingoes?

Jingoes: Marc and Spock first met 17 years ago in an angst-fueled local band named “Mountain Meadow Massacre,” which felt more like Jonathan Richman rapes Robyn Hitchcocks’ “Soft Boys” than Brigham Young fucking over the Fancher Party. Marc exited quietly after being taken out of the mix by “tin-eared” bandmates. Spock, recalling the incident says, “I was going home to San Francisco for a quick holiday and left extensive notes on how the mix should be done. When I got back and took a listen, there was no Marc. What the fuck? It was just this shitty, beater, bar-chord crap.” After that came a brief stint as “Stealing Candy”, in which Marc got fired. “I was such an asshole,” says Spock. “This project was way more straight-ahead rock, and what he was laying down didn’t fit with the other guitarist’s vibe.” A few more years went by until Marc, Spock, Clint Burfitt, and a variety of drummers put together a project called “Junta DeVille”. Created in the vein of Talking Heads meets the Minutemen in a Dojo, the Junta started recording at Mike Sasich’s home studio. “We’d go upstairs to listen to the recording take,” remembers Marc, “and he’d be on his guitar playing my parts.” As goes the way of any bright flame, it burnt out. “I left to take a leak during our practice,” Spock shares, “and when I got back, Clint and Marc were at each other’s throats.” The Junta was done, so Spock and Marc vowed to work together on a new venture. “We booked an opening spot for Mike Watt,” says Marc, “even before we had a new band or name.” Calling themselves “The Jingoes,” Mike Sasich stepped up, adding color and clarity that played to Marcs’ off-the-cuff riffs. CJ Burton, drummer for “Air Supply” and “Spork,” rounded out the lineup. Mixing up some new songs with some left-over, in-the-works Junta numbers, a set was signed, sealed, and delivered to an enthusiastic crowd. Current drummer Trevor Goss’s story shows up later.
Gavin: While your style is more of a post-punk sound, you tend to lean more toward the political when it comes to tone and lyrics. What made you decide to go in that direction?

Jingoes: Shouldn’t poetry, art, and music make you think? Challenge you to think for yourself? Do you feel alive ... current ... valuable? Our direction is forward, learning from and remembering our past mistakes. Those who don’t are condemned to repeat it.

Gavin: Last year, you recorded your self-titled debut album. What was it like for you recording that, and what issues did you deal with along the way?

Jingoes: It took a very long time. Not having a permanent drummer made the process somewhat frustrating, logistically speaking, yet each hitter we brought in it gave the album a unique feel. Each of these super-talented musicians -- Dave Bach, Kevin Murphy, CJ Burton, Josh Kopinsky, Josh Dickson -- injected their beat interpretation, and helped guide us to find our voice within the songs. Once it was all done and ready to be packaged for consumption, it was very obvious that a permanent drummer was needed. We pulled a list of percussion instructors from Back Beats, the local drum shop, and sent out e-mails. Trevor Goss was the first to try out for the gig. He brought 4x5 note cards for each song. Wow, who does that? We always had a history of grabbing the first guy, so we made him wait on the back burner. Nobody else fit the bill; red flag here, red flag there, so we called Trevor back for a second audition. We told him to hit the fuck outta those heads. Trevor was in -- all ours, no sharing, ours.
Gavin: What did you think of the reviews and public reaction to it once it was released?

Jingoes: Pleased. Those tracks were old to us by the time they were released, the hard work that went into them all but forgotten, so when the kind words started filtering in it brought a sense of satisfaction for all those hours spent under the microscope.

Gavin: Have you given any thoughts to touring, or are you sticking to Utah for the time being?

Jingoes: We are doing a mini NorCal tour at the end of November. Getting out of The Great State Of Utah is a good thing for any band.
Gavin: What are your thoughts on playing the Utah Arts Festival this year?

Jingoes: We have been trying to get on this gig for years, saving all our rejection letters, be they for the Junta or the Jingoes. Two years ago, we sent in a “fake” application to “Doc” Floor, saying we were “new to dis cuntree, we play de songs of revolution,” and gave ourselves Spanish names, and put in a crazy photo we found online, because we were just over it, ya know? Rejected. Then this year we went for it; legit application, some positive reviews, and then “Congratulations, Emilio,” in response to the fake names previously used. Emilio? What the fuck? Are you fucking with me? Anyhow, contract was signed, we saw our name in print ... let’s start a riot. Too bad they kicked out those homeless, invisible, Occupy Utah fucks. What a waste of protesting opportunity that was. Jobless, homeless, tons of free time to march, organize and cause a ruckus, but what did they do? Nothin’. Invisible ... such a waste.

Gavin: Moving on to local stuff, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Jingoes: We’ve been trying to break into this local scene in one form or another for 17 years. Don’t make us blow our chances now.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Jingoes: More venues, more bookers.

Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Jingoes: Anyone that will play with us, anyone that will ask us to play with them.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?

Jingoes: Bills got to get paid at the stations, so we bet you’ll hear less of the few local darlings they play.

Gavin: With so many sources out there to get music off the Web, both for publicity and sharing, what are your thoughts on putting out free tracks for anyone to listen to?

Jingoes: It costs real money to make, package, and market a recording on iTunes or whatever format is your taste. “Hell, yes, let’s give it all away,” is easy to say, but when we’re coming up short on our kids’ doctor bills, family food bills, mortgages and such, we then say, “Where are the monies?”
Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of the year?

Jingoes: Gigs, recording new album, gigs, recording new album. Oh, yeah, and the end of the world, 2012 -- remember?

Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Jingoes: Weld inc. Design/Build Custom Metal Work~ inc.weld@gmail.com. Man vs Music Recording Studio~mjsasich@yahoo.com. Spock's Skate Camp~www.spocksskatecamp.com. The Jingoes and Red Bennies Friday July 6th @ Burts Tiki Lounge.


The Samuel Smith Band (Dustin Swan, Sam Smith, Ren Pankovich and Joey Davis)

Gavin: Hey guys. First off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Dustin: We are a little band out of Salt Lake City called Samuel Smith Band. Joey Davis on drums, Ren Pankovich plays bass, Sam Smith and myself play guitar. All four of us sing. Sam leads vocals. We play blues-driven rock & roll. Hide your wives. Lock your daughters in the basement. We are native to SLC and we love Utah. We play 2-3 times a week, preferably 3- and 4-hour sets. We love to collaborate. It’s all original rock & roll. Last year, we played over 100 shows. We live rock. It’s our job. When we are not playing out, we are playing in. We rehearse twice a week and are constantly writing new material. We try to make every live experience something different. We play for our fans. We have wonderful fans.
Gavin: What got each of you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Joey: I started music lessons at age 4 and picked the drums years later because I knew my parents would have no idea if I were practicing what I had really been assigned. It worked out perfectly. Rock and soul were very ubiquitous in my upbringing and there were very large doses of Parliament.

Dustin: I bought a guitar one year and never put it down. The Stones, Hendrix, Dr. John, The Band and NWA got me going -- they still do. Whiskey and rattlesnakes made me do it.

Sam: My mom’s an opera singer and my dad plays anything that makes noise. They are both visual artists, as well. I couldn’t help but be into music. I was home-schooled. My childhood days consisted of a little math and history, a little English and a lot of music. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Towns VanZandt, Peter Green, Robert Johnson, Beck and The Stones are my bread and butter.

Ren: Frank Zappa and the Doors. I started on an upright bass. It was too big for me to travel with on my bike. I downsized.

Gavin: How did the four of you first meet and eventually form the Samuel Smith Band?

Joey: We were already playing together when Sam came along. I met Ren in the shadows of Fenway Park. He was having a Guinness for breakfast. I thought he was certainly someone I needed to meet, and he ended up coming to Utah to do his Ph.D in physics. Ren joined Mr. Swan and myself to form a group called Feel Good Patrol. Feel Good played for a few years and then Sam was introduced to us. Sam came along with about 25 original numbers. Most of them were really good. They were complete and he could sing. We naturally formed the group right away. We rehearsed for a few months and we have been grinding since.
Gavin: Rather than going for a gimmick or trying to find a genre, you went straight for rock & roll. What made you decide to go that route, and how was it collaborating on music?

Dustin: Whiskey. Beer. Women. Gimmicks suck.

Sam: Rock & roll is what happened when we got together. The songs I had written prior to the band were more folk/singer/songwriter-ish …at least in the way I was performing them -- as a solo act. Add Swan’s relentless guitar, a bassist who drives like a steam engine, a drummer who sings like three black women and the result is rock & roll.

Ren: I don’t think we really had a choice. The genre is something we were all born into. We are rock & roll.

Dustin: Collaborating is all we do now. Sam’s songs were a really good launching pad. We could swing them, we could do them drum and bass, we could put horns to all of it -- it could have been electronic dance music. The point is, it’s real music. We could do it any way we wanted to. We used those songs to get together. It all came out rock. Now, we write as a group. Things are getting much more interesting. We have different influences and it’s all starting to come out in a big way.

Gavin: Last year, you guys released your self-titled EP. What was it like putting that together and what did you think of the reception when it came out?

Dustin: The EP was exactly that: an Entry Production. We decided to record something, went to Counterpoint Studios, worked with Terrance Halterman and spent a lot of money.

Ren: It was a growing experience.

Joey: We had a great crowd the night of the release! We filled Bar Deluxe and got rid of every copy we had. We sold it for “whatever you wanna pay.” We had a great show. It was a lot of fun.
Sam: We had to start somewhere. People dug it.

Gavin: More recently, you released another self-titled record, this time a full-length. What was the difference between recording that album and the EP, and why keep both the same title?

Sam: Both albums are self-titled. We thought to name them would be pretentious. We simply picked our favorite songs, at the times of recording, and went for it. A title for an album connotes something cohesive. If the songs are not all part of some concrete, bigger idea, why name the album? What’s in a name? It’s just more shit on the cover.

Dustin: Recording the album was just like the EP except we had less time and money than before. We rehearsed the songs, as we wanted to record them and then basically did it all live. We like live. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered in a total of three days in the studio.

Gavin: What made you decide to do a collaborative release show to release it? And what did you think of the public reaction to the album when it was released?

Sam: Salt Lake City’s scene is full of hungry musicians who make music their lives. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of. Typically, you don’t see a packed bar for a local band. It just doesn’t happen all of the time. We knew we were going to pack the house for the release. We had all sorts of print, radio, social media and other help getting the word out. We decided to share the stage with as many talented people as would participate, and the response was incredible. Everyone involved got behind us and made it an amazing evening and the crowd response was astonishing.

Joey: The public response was great. We had over 400 people come through the door and we sold nearly 300 discs.
Gavin: Are you guys thinking of touring this year, or will you be sticking to Utah for now?

Ren: We have already been to Phoenix and LA this year. LA was for an MTV event. Phoenix was for Phoenix.

Joey: We need a tour manager before we can properly tour. We are great at one-offs. We can do a weekend anywhere. To string a month together is more difficult without someone to get us ‘there’ on time.

Gavin: What are your thoughts on playing the Utah Arts Festival this year?

Ren: Can’t wait!

Joey: We are collaborating again, with some of SLC’s finest.

Sam: We are pleased to have been invited to play the Utah Arts Festival. What a great compliment it is to be involved.
Gavin: Moving on to local stuff, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Dustin: The local scene is off the hook! You can see anything from dub-step to jazz on any given night. Not only is there variety but also there are incredibly talented musicians in every genre.

Sam: I am stoked on the scene. It’s a lot of fun. It doesn’t pay well, but I think that keeps us all honest. There is a venue for everyone, and people who frequently check new bands-most of the time get their money’s worth.

Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Sam: Marinade, Muscle Hawk, Pour Horse, The Suicycles, Yak Tooth, Starmy, The Chickens. We are really happy for Royal Bliss. It’s great to see them kicking so much ass.
Gavin: What’s your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?

Sam: We are in regular rotation on KBER. We love those guys! Corporate radio has been friendlier to us than nonprofit has. It was way easier to get to them. We just walked into their offices one day with a disc and said, “Put us on the air!” Other radio people are impossible to contact -- with the exception of Circus Brown. Circus has been great to us at KRCL. He has had us on twice for live sets. We had a blast. Circus is one of the coolest dudes we have met in radio. There is a LOT of music in this community and I think it’s a damne shame that only the select few get airtime on the more popular local stations.

Gavin: With so many sources out there to get music off the Web, both for publicity and sharing, what are your thoughts on putting out free tracks for anyone to listen to?

Dustin: Our music is available for free -- YouTube, Facebook, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, etc. Go getcha some.
Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of the year?

Joey: We plan to record another full length and release it this year. We will be scheming up tour plans and we will be performing three-six times a month. Come see us!

Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you’d like to plug or promote?

Brian Kubarycz. Look him up. View his art. Read his writings.


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