Experience helps SLC rockers Danger Hailstorm 'punch you in head'
This isn’t the first rodeo for the four members of Salt Lake City hard-rock band Danger Hailstorm
Guitarist Zak Mason, 35, used to sleep on Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha’s couch when Mason was homeless. Later, he worked for Social Distortion’s Mike Ness when he was recording his first solo album. (“I got fired after one day,” Mason said. “That was memorable.”
Singer and guitarist Terrance DH, 42, has opened for Tool in a bar where only 15 showed up. Along with opening for Green Day and Sunny Day Real Estate, he has had his van ripped off during a New York tour and has been spit upon in Arkansas.
All together, the band features former members of bands The Stench, Bad Yodelers, Magstatic, Cavedoll and AM Revelator.
Now, as Danger Hailstorm, the band — which also features 30-year-old bassist BJ Parker and drummer Vanimal — released a two-song EP in October that heralds them as an experienced band to watch — a band that has paid its dues but still wants to rock Utah’s heads off, one noggin at a time.
Several members of the band answered questions posed by The Tribune about playing together, their style and influences, as well as pizza.
How did you start making and performing music together?BJ • I started out as a fan of both Ter & Van’s other bands. Through mutual musician buddies, I was introduced, auditioned and have been in the band for over a year now.
Ter • Me and Zak kept running into each other. I bumped into him at a Foo Fighters show and asked him if he’d like to jam. I hire Van for all my drum needs at the studio so he was into jamming instantly. The Spell Talk dudes hooked me up with BJ. It’s the best band with the best guys that I’ve ever been a part of.
How do you describe the creative relationships in the band?BJ • Ter does the song writing. He’ll bring a song to rehearsal , and sometimes it’s done already and he knows exactly how we should play it as a band. Other times, it’s a very loose structure of a song —“verse goes here, chorus goes like this.” Then we each add input and ideas and basically all four of us build upon that original idea, until we’re more than 60 tracks deep in ProTools.
Ter • I usually have the song somewhat already worked up in my head. I have no idea where these songs come from. It’s somewhat of a curse. I encourage the guys to add what ever they think would help the song. Ideally, we are all playing different things that work together in harmony.
Zak • BJ and Van are super-human musicians. They are automatic. Ter brings in his awesome concepts and ideas. It’s like being a kid playing along to Led Zeppelin songs — only I’m in the band. I basically just watch for the blues riff in D and try to keep up with the changes. Making this music is fun.
What inspires you -- or rather, what does not inspire you?BJ • Some of my biggest influences are Elvis Presley and John Lennon.
Ter • I’m totally not inspired by all these new indie-folk bands. I really dislike how most of the vegan restaurants in town have fly problems. I really dislike lame parents. I see them every day at my daughters’ school. They must be on depression pills or something. Wacko. I’m totally inspired everyday by all the rad people here in Salt Lake. There are so many creative and talented people and artists in this town. It’s amazing. Must be the longitude.
Zak • I am inspired by my wife Jeannette, my dog Kolob, my job, my disdain of injustice perpetrated by group-think, dogma, and theocratic nonsensical governance.
Describe your new record.BJ • These two singles we just released are my favorite for a few reasons. For one, I wasn’t just sitting in on a track that’s already been started. We all formed these songs from the ground up and each wrote our own parts. It’s also the first time the band has seen two guitarists. Zak really adds to and thickens up an already huge guitar tone, making it possible to replicate live what was created in the studio. These songs are great because they’re just big and loud and everything a rock band should sound like. They have a sound that not many bands are doing around here — it’s punk enough for the punkers amd metal enough for the metal heads, but catchy enough that people who aren’t necessarily a fan of either of those genres can still enjoy.
Zak • It’s gutsy. It’s heavy. It’s a finely finessed work of “punch you in the back of the head” music. I am excited at how huge it sounds. I’ve never recorded and felt so sure about every track. It sounds exactly awesome.
What fan-made signs would you like to see held up at one of your shows?Ter • We love it when girls flash us their boobies while performing. I really like it when people hold up Terrance DH fan club signs.
Zak • Signs that say, “I left you guys burritos from Chipotle backstage.”
Why does a round pizza come in a square box?Zak • To get to the other side.
Ter • The pizza companies will do almost anything to save money on cheese.
Why are plastic bears the only animal you can get honey from? Why can’t you get honey from a plastic bee? Zak • Bees manufacture the honey. Bears steal the honey and sell it to humans who will buy the honey. Bears do all the marketing, so of course they put themselves on the bottle.
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