by Sesar Sanchez
Photo by James Rexroad
It’s Saturday, June 7th, 2014. I’m at Wasted Space in Downtown Salt Lake City. It’s Day 4 of Crucialfest, an all-out showcase of the best that underground heavy music has to offer. Bands like Red Fang, Helms Alee and Cult Leader are headlining the shows, and a slew of little-known-to-better-known regional bands are taking the stage all day, everyday, for four days.
A gentleman gets on stage wearing high-waisted slacks with suspenders, a button-up white shirt, and a fedora to boot. He’s accompanied by one of the most metal drummers I’ve ever seen and a bass player that could have been picked out of the grunge era. This is Gaythiest. They are not metal. They are rock and roll at its finest. They begin to play their tunes at a frantic yet calculated pace, with well thought-out power chord rhythms, powerful drums, and tight bass lines. Gaythiest soars through a half-hour set leaving the crowd of 50 or so (including me) wanting more.
Portland’s Gaythiest—Jason Rivera (guitar), Tim Hoff (bass), and Nick Parks (drums)—has been around since 2011, and they tour whenever time permits them to. They happen to be coming to Monstros on September 10th. I had a chance to speak with Jason about Gaythiest.
JR: “I was blurting out names and it seemed original. I’m gay and an atheist. I was like, “This is perfect.” Tim and Nick loved it. Seemed to fit what the band was going for.
Your lyrical content has a broad, socially conscious and self-aware theme, while also being humorous. Is that on purpose? Or just what you felt at the time?
JR: It usually takes a while to get it all together. It’s humorous on purpose. I find most things absurd, and it works its way into what I’m singing about.
Do you set out to make lyrics first, or does the music take precedent and you meld the lyrics to them after?
JR: Usually the music comes first, and the melody, and then the lyrics come. And with more time, I fine tune, then Tim will chime in with back-up vocals.
What are some realizations or revelations you’ve had being in an underground band that tours and records as often as you do, most likely with your own money?
JR: Figuring out ways to keep our day jobs so that we can afford to make a go of it. We’ve been really lucky going out and making enough to make it worth it. The first tour we had our van break down, but since then it’s been better. We haven’t gone out for more than two weeks at a time, but that’s the next thing.
What’s your goal and mission as an underground band?
JR: Just to continue playing and making it work. I don’t know—it’s hard to take a band not too seriously, but seriously enough to keep going and having fun. It’s been working so far.
Gaythiest will be playing with locals Teeph, #whitegirlwasted (members of Badger, Mom and Dad) and Los New Huevos (members of Zabaleen, the Nogoodnix, Severance Package) on September 10th at Monstros at 8pm. It’s a mere $5. All ages. Come get that ‘za son.