Just Like Coming Home: Starkweather finally make their way to Utah. 

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Way back in 1991, a then-16-year-old Troy Trujillo got hold of a demo tape (remember those?) from a Philadelphia-based metal band called Starkweather. The tape was rough, but the band made a lasting impression on the local youth. n

“I was listening to more ‘youth crew’ style bands at the time like Bold, Youth of Today and Judge, but I remember the Starkweather tape being far more pissed off than all of them put together,” Trujillo says.

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The tape made the rounds, and by the time Starkweather put out their debut Crossbearer, the band already had a dedicated fan base in Salt Lake City.

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Few people today are familiar with the album, but its crushing riffs, precise musicianship and carefully intertwined melodies established Starkweather’s signature sound. And back in 1993, no one knew quite how to take a band so elegantly adept at capturing the best elements of hardcore and metal, and combining them so effortlessly.

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Along with bands like Overcast and Converge—and whether they want to admit it or not—Starkweather was one of the bands that helped pioneer today’s metalcore sound.

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Starkweather became one of those underground successes and the band that only true metal lovers knew about, but they were never much of a touring band. They would play a show or two a year on the East Coast, maybe hit Europe every once in a while, but they never made it west of Philadelphia.

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“To be honest, I don’t have the patience to do a U.S. tour. I never have,” says singer Renni Resmini. “I’m far more comfortable with my daily job, making sure my mortgage is paid on time than doing roadside vehicle repairs and having everyone grate on each others nerves.”

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“Rennie and I are pretty solitary guys,” adds guitarist Todd Forkin. “The idea of having no time to be by myself would be pretty hard on me mentally.”

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Starkweather’s aversion to touring meant guys like Trujillo would have to travel out of state to see them. Undeterred, Trujillo sat down and wrote letters asking his favorite band to come to Salt Lake City. As time went on, and the Internet made things easier, the growing fan base followed his lead. When Starkweather scheduled a few shows in New York City in early 2001, and sensing this might be the only way to see them, Trujillo and his friends began booking plane tickets.

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“I started getting e-mail from people in Salt Lake [City] asking if they could get tickets,” says Resmini. “I told them if they’re crazy enough to travel, they’re on the guest list.”

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Resmini and Forkin are both baffled and humbled by the whole thing.

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“We’ve always had weird pockets in the States where we tend to do better than others, but the Salt Lake connection is definitely the most odd,” said Forkin. “It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone in Utah gets off on the band, but proof is in the crazies that have flown across the country to see us play for half an hour.”

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“We flew out and talked to them again—this time in person—and begged them to come out to Salt Lake,” says Trujillo. “They must have thought we were insane.”

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Now, after 16 years of waiting, Starkweather is finally making their way to Salt Lake City, and they’ve been relearning a few old songs just to make sure no one is disappointed.

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“This show is definitely out of the ordinary for us and I feel a special obligation to leave the stage completely spent,” says Forkin.

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“Being gracious guests, we’ve put together a mix of old and new,” Resmini says. “Some of the old material we haven’t touched in over a decade.”

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“We’ve been joking that we turned into a Starkweather cover band,” says Forkin.

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For the ones who have been waiting half their lives to see them, it probably wouldn’t matter what they played, as long as Starkweather is here, live—up close and personal.

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STARKWEATHER
nClub Sound, 579 W. 200 South, Saturday Dec. 6, 6 p.m. All-ages

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