Members of the Salt Lake City hard-rock band Danger Hailstorm have spent years paying their music-industry dues.
Guitarist Zak Mason, 35, said he slept on the couch of Zack De La Rocha, frontman for Rage Against the Machine. And he worked for Social Distortion’s Mike Ness when Ness was recording his first solo album.
“I got fired after one day,” Mason said. “That was memorable.”
Danger Hailstorm singer and guitarist Terrance “Ter” DH, 42, once opened for a young Tool — too bad only 15 people showed up to that bar performance. He’s had the thrill of opening for Green Day and Sunny Day Real Estate. On the flip side, his van was stolen during a New York tour and he was spat upon in Arkansas.
All together, the four members of Danger Hailstorm — which also features 30-year-old bassist BJ Parker and drummer Vanimal — are former members of The Stench, Bad Yodelers, Magstatic, Cavedoll and AM Revelator.
They recently answered questions about the two-song EP they released in October, their inspirations and pizza.
How did the band get together?
BJ • I started out as a fan of both Ter and 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.
Describe the creative relationships in the band.
BJ • Ter does the songwriting. 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 whatever they think would help the song. Ideally, we are all playing different things that work together in harmony.
Zak • BJ and Van are superhuman 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 does — or doesn’t — 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. I’m totally inspired every day 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.
Talk about the two-song EP you released in October.
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 and 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.
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.
To listen to and buy Danger Hailstorm’s new release, go to dangerhailstorm.bandcamp.com/