Life

9 Bands With Utah Connections

One of the many things I love about Utah is the music scene. Yeah, it’s seen ups and downs over the past 24 years (as long as I’ve been paying close attention), but we have a really cool scene. As a teenager, my favorite venue was the basement of DV8 (RIP). It was a place that not only allowed me to see some of my favorite bands of the 90’s, but it also gave my friends and I a chance to put our own bands on stage to show the SLC music scene what we had. Same goes for my favorite venue from a little later in life: Velour. If DV8 gave me the bug, Velour actually gave me the opportunity to live my rock star fantasy. I honestly can’t remember how many times my band, Foolish Pete (shameless plug), played Velour, but it was fun every single time… and we had pretty good crowds there too.

The point? We have a great little music scene here in Utah. The best part is that Utah has ties to some pretty cool bands…

Before I start, let me make one thing absolutely clear: I LOVE UTAH. I love it. True, I was born and raised here, but I have lived in a few other states (Indiana and Hawaii) and I have to say that Utah is quite literally THE PLACE.

One of the many things I love about Utah is the music scene. Yeah, it’s seen ups and downs over the past 24 years (as long as I’ve been paying close attention), but we have a really cool scene. As a teenager, my favorite venue was the basement of DV8 (RIP). It was a place that not only allowed me to see some of my favorite bands of the 90’s, but it also gave my friends and I a chance to put our own bands on stage to show the SLC music scene what we had. Same goes for my favorite venue from a little later in life: Velour. If DV8 gave me the bug, Velour actually gave me the opportunity to live my rock star fantasy. I honestly can’t remember how many times my band, Foolish Pete (shameless plug), played Velour, but it was fun every single time… and we had pretty good crowds there too.

The point? We have a great little music scene here in Utah. The best part is that Utah has ties to some pretty cool bands… one of which happens to be my favorite band of all time.

Without further ado, here’s your list of 9 bands (in no particular order, except for #1) with Utah connections with the bonus of my personal favorite song from each band.

***UPDATE*** A 10th band has been added to this list. Scroll to the bottom to find out who!

9. Meg & Dia

Some of you may remember Dia Frampton as the runner-up on the inaugural season of NBC’s The Voice. What you may not know is that the Draper, Utah native started in a band with her sister. Dia sang and Meg played guitar. They were around for a while, performing under a few different names before Dia went off to attempt a solo career.

My favorite Meg & Dia song: Monster

8. Fictionist

These guys hail from Provo, Utah (a running theme on this list – you’ll see). They’ve toured with a few of the other bands on this list and won a few Independent Music Awards. They were also featured at a locals’ night at my NEW favorite small music venue in SLC: the Club at 50 West.

My favorite Fictionist song: Free Spirit

7. Royal Bliss

These dudes have been around forever. I went to Skyline High School with lead singer Neal Middleton about 1,000 years ago. Yeah, I’m cool. I remember the first time anyone I know ever heard Neal sing. It was at the Skyline talent show. Nobody knew the talent this guy had. We all sat there in disbelief as he crushed whatever song he was playing. I’m pretty sure every girl in school fell in love with him that day. Neal also performed the Star Spangled Banner in front of 20,000+ people at a Real Salt Lake game last year and had a shot on NBC’s The Voice a few seasons ago. You can catch these guys live all the time in Utah… often at the bar they own. It’s called the Royal.

My favorite Royal Bliss song: Crazy

6. The Killers

It is well known to most Utahns that Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers, is originally from Nephi, Utah. Yep. Nephi. I remember reading somewhere that he loves where he is from and he never thought to be from a small town in Utah was an issue. His thought was that his music would speak for itself.

My favorite Killers song: Mr. Brightside (original, I know)

5. Panic! At The Disco

Bass player Dallin Weekes is from Clearfield, Utah. He is an original member of local stars The Brobecks and was hired by Panic! to play bass in 2009. Want to see Panic! at the Disco LIVE? They’re playing the X96 Toyota BIG ASS SHOW in a few weeks. Get your tickets HERE.

My favorite Panic! song: Miss Jackson

4. Imagine Dragons

Ok, if  you Google Imagine Dragons you’ll see they’re from Las Vegas, Nevada. Sure, they may live there now but they originated right here in Provo, Utah in 2008 and moved to Vegas after winning a BYU battle of the bands. (SIDE NOTE: My band played in that battle a few years earlier – we did not win). The guy who makes a lot of their music videos, Isacc Halasima, keeps his studio right in Provo. Check ’em out.

My favorite Imagine Dragons song: Radioactive (yeah, yeah – 353 MILLION plays on Spotify can’t be wrong)

3. Neon Trees

Another band from Provo. What is in the water down there? Anyway, if you’ve ever seen these guys live you’ll know why people love them so much. Every time I’ve seen them they leave it all on stage. Lead singer Tyler Glenn also performed the Star Spangled Banner at a Real Salt Lake game a few years ago. I also heard Tyler teamed up with Branden Steineckert (The Used, Rancid) and did a special Halloween show at Velour in Provo where they covered a bunch of Ramones songs. Wish I could have seen that…

My favorite Neon Trees song: Animal

2. The Used

These Orem, Utah residents stormed onto the American post-hardcore scene in 2001 and signed with Reprise Records a year later when they released The Used. The first time they ever left Utah was when they flew to LA to audition for a bunch of record executives. Yeah, they are that good. But you already know that. They got a new drummer in 2006. Their original drummer, Branden Steineckert, moved on to play drums for the next band on my list.

My favorite The Used song: Cut Up Angels

1. Rancid

My favorite band. Of. All. Time. And it’s not even close. The first time I ever saw these guys was at the Utah State Fairpark sometime in the 90’s. Ok, so I know Rancid isn’t from Utah, but their drummer, Branden Steineckert, is. He’s very much a resident of Utah… follow him on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean. Nothing makes me happier to be able to say my very favorite band has ties to my very favorite place on Earth.

My favorite Rancid song: This one is too hard for me. My favorite Rancid song this week is Collision Course from their new album Honor is All We Know.

So there you have it. 9 bands with ties to Utah. What do you think of my favorites? Tell me in the comments below. And be nice.

Oh, and here’s a Spotify playlist:

**UPDATE** Thanks to one of our commenters, Eric Forsgren, it was brought to my attention that one of the greatest punk bands to ever walk this Earth has ties to Utah. Thanks for the info Eric… I should be ashamed of myself.

Bonus: The Descendents

Most of the bands I grew up listening to would never have existed if it weren’t for these guys. Although The Descendents formed in Manhattan Beach, California in 1977, at least one of their members was born in the great State of Utah. Descendents’ guitarist Stephen Egerton was born in Utah. I also heard bassist Karl Alvarez has Utah ties, but I couldn’t confirm that for sure.

My favorite Descendents song: Bikeage


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