Terrance D.H. 

Darn Happy: SLC scene old-schooler Terrance D.H. eyes a pop prize.

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Terrance D.H. spends a lot of time by himself at Counterpoint Studios in South Salt Lake City. After giving City Weekly a tour of the facility, during which he proudly showed off the Counterpoint owner’s Fender Telecaster—which Andy Summers played in The Police—D.H. plops down on a couch overlooking what you might call the captain’s chair.

“I manage the studio,” he says, “and I’m the main engineer.”

The solo time comes from a desire to work during the day, while his children are at school. Most bands want to work at night because they have day jobs of their own. D.H. is happy to give those gigs to Counterpoint’s other producers and engineers, the guys he trained as interns.

That leaves him plenty of work with his day gigs—generally the marquee stuff, like when Vanessa Hudgens came in to complete vocal tracks for High School Musical 3, recording movie dialogue re-takes, hiring session musicians for various projects or getting someone to fix the leaky roof.

As with most jobs, sometimes working at Counterpoint can be a drag—today’s roof problem truly vexes him, and Hudgens “was kind of a bitch.”

There’s a huge upside to working at Counterpoint, though, in that it enables D.H. to work on his own music during down time and off-hours.

Four bands you have to mention when discussing Terrance D.H. are The Stench, Bad Yodelers, Season of the Spring and Magstatic. Odds are you know at least one of them, since they’ve all been prominent in the Salt Lake City music scene since the 1980s. The Stench was arguably SLC’s biggest punk band ever, and Magstatic recorded a 7-inch for Sub Pop and put out a stack of indie platters.

In recent years, there was also Skullfuzz, the metal trio fronted by Rival Schools bass player Cache Tolman, and D.H. cranked out a couple of solo albums to boot.

Now, Danger Hailstorm is D.H.’s (get it?) main band, having just released their sophomore album, Two, and he’s the token dude in Hot Pants, a nascent band fronted by local artist and photographer Teresa Flowers.

In essence an amped-up, metallic version of the power-pop he played in Magstatic, Danger Hailstorm is inspired by D.H.’s time in Skullfuzz.

“For some reason, that’s just what I’m writing lately—these stoner rock riffs,” he says.

He’s almost apologetic, except he knows it’s what he does best, writing huge, hooky songs with monster guitars and sing-along choruses. So he constantly catalogs riffs, which he either sells to music vendors like Ridgeline Productions/5 Alarm Music (with whom D.H. goes by the name Black Desert Snakes), or he banks them for future Danger Hailstorm songs. Often it’s the latter, because “I end up liking them too much to let go.”

If there’s anything he’s remotely embarrassed about, however, it’s his current fascination with writing big dumb pop music like Hudgens, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber perform.

You read that correctly: D.H. wants to be the next cheese whiz.

“I haven’t even got around to writing the lyrics yet,” he says. “But I’m just obsessed with writing the perfect pop hit. Not everyone understands it… or likes it.”

The only thing to understand is Terrance D.H. is one of the lucky ones. He gets to earn his keep making music while a million other musicians pour coffee, crank wrenches, deliver pizza or drone around an office.

“I’m either slammed down here or dead,” he says of his workday life. “It’s never consistent, but when I have a slow week I’m down here recording my friends or working on my sound library.”

Outside of fulfilling that aspiring pop mogul fantasy, D.H. wouldn’t have it any other way.

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