ThrashHead: What is your name and where are you from? Where did you grow up?
Brian: My name is Brian Morton. I am a Colorado native born in Denver. I grew up in Grand Junction I suppose I don't really feel like I ever grew up really but that was where I spent my "formidable" years.
ThrashHead: What was your introduction to punk?
Brian: To be honest my first introduction to punk music was when my older brother Scott got 'Never Mind the Bollocks...Here's the Sex Pistols' from Columbia House. I thought it sucked at first but then it grew on me
ThrashHead: What was the scene like when you were growing up?
Brian: The scene was really new when I was growing up at least in Western Colorado they were interesting days. We were different in a small town, the athletes, "cowboy's", "head bangers" and others weren't very quick to accept us. We got into a lot of fights back then and not very often was it one on one. We would hear a lot of "nice hairdo faggot" and that kind of shit back then. It wasn't really safe to go anywhere alone really in the beginning. Finally we got sick of it and decided to make our one last stand we sent out word we were ready to rumble. We were smart, we knew we would be highly out numbered so we scheduled it at two different locations, one was a park, the other a junior high school, when we got to the Jr. high school it was like 10-1 but we stood our ground we new we had to stand up for ourselves, I remember baseball bats and dogs and a lot of taunting, but I think only 3 real fights broke out maybe 4. The biggest fight was actually about the desecration of an army shirt. The police drove by just cruising their beat, and the opposition scattered. We all just stood there going hmmm. After that it was a bit mellower don't get me wrong there was still a lot of fighting to be done but that night we earned a lot of respect.
ThrashHead: When was this? What year did you graduate high school?
Brian: This would have been in 1985 maybe 1986 like I said punk was new in western Colorado but really we were behind the times but we didn't care. I graduated high school in 1988.
ThrashHead: Were there any bands in Grand Junction back then? Who were the bands in the general area?
Brian: There were a couple of bands in Junction back then there was a band called P.M.S. and a band called The SKANKS. I was actually the front man for the SKANKS and my brother was the bass player. We changed our name to SOCIAL CONTROL somewhere along the way. Man those were good times. For about 3-4 months 2 of the guys in P.M.S. had a place called the Maal Underground, a little punk clubish type hole in the wall. Bands from several areas came and played. L.D.S. from Salt Lake City, the local bands, and even a couple from the Glenwood Springs area - E.O.S. and LEGION OF FAITH to name a few. It really helped build a strong brotherhood which was good cause like I said we were out numbered and it brought us all together kinda like a family. No... like a family and those bonds are still strong today.
ThrashHead: Why do you think hardcore punk has always had such a strong scene on Colorado's Western Slope?
Brian: I think Hardcore Punk has always had a strong scene in Western Colorado because there are a lot of very intelligent kids there that don't fit into the areas "norm" they aren't athletes, or "cowboys" they are more of a group of artists, people who are outcasts because they don't rightly "fit in" with the groups that are from "normal residents" in the area. These are small towns with little outlets for kids, so we were left to our own accords to be creative and to be honest it was fun pissing the general public off, they really didn't know how to take us. I actually got fired from a job one time when my boss saw my mom and "realized" who I was. She told me " I will never forget the first time I saw you with your mom. I felt so sorry for her, and well I can't have a guy like you working for me." Any way I digress its been a strong scene because the artistic kids had to bond together and punk gave us an "identity".
ThrashHead: You were the first dude I ever knew with the Exploited 'Jesus is Dead'. DId you know that?
Brian: I didn't know that are you talking the album or the patch on the back of the jean jacket vest I used to wear over my leather?
ThrashHead: You had the Jesus is Dead album when we were going to CMC. You used to have that apartment across the street from the campus with the 6' bong. I often didnt make it to class....
Brian: Ah yes I do remember you mentioning that once. Oh the Auburn Ridge days, I actually had another extension to make that thing 9 ft man that was a hit.
ThrashHead: How do you think Grand Junction and Glenwood / the Roaring Fork Valley came together? By the early 90's dudes had moved out of Grand Junction to live in the much smaller Carbondale (120 miles away!). How did you GJ kats learn about EOS and LEGION OF FAITH or them of you?
Brian: I think the scene came together out of fate and boredom. These are small towns we are talking about, and like minded people tend to flock to each other. There was more to do in Junction than Glenwood which isn't saying much, but that brought the Glenwood crowd to G.J. and Glenwood offered a place with good friends and good parties, I remember several weekends going to Glenwood just to hang at the band sheds. Those were some good times.
As far as moving to Carbondale ( myself included) it wasn't G.J. I personally wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. Plus the jobs. Getting a job in G.J. was nearly impossible for the punks, well me at least. I actually got fired from a job once my boss told me " you always looked familiar to me, then I saw you with your mom and it clicked. The first time I saw you together I felt so sorry for her. I cant have a person like you working here." Little did she know my mom took pride in shaving my head and making sure my mohawk was always straight. People in the Roaring Fork valley were much more open to hiring people like me.
The first time I was really aware of the Roaring Fork scene had to be at the Maal Underground E.O.S. played along with L.D.S. from Salt Lake and P.M.S. alot of the Glenwood scene came. I remember meeting Jason West, Marcus Taylor, Dan Schneider, to mention a few.
ThrashHead: There has always been a strong scene over there, even after guys like you and me moved away. How has it changed in the last 20 years? What hasn't changed?
Brian: The scene is strong as for what hasn't changed it is hard for me to say, like I said I bailed out of there as fast as I could, and I only go back on special occasions. My family moved away so I have no ties there except for old friends and we all grew up and have lives so getting together is special but rare. What has changed is life is easier for today's punks. I always get a bit cynical when I see these younger punks thinking you don't know how good you have it thanks to guys like me. They have been accepted more and don't have to face the hour by hour torments, the fighting 2-3 guys at a time 2-3 times a day. I am glad they chose the lifestyle I just hope they don't forget their roots, and respect the ones that came before them and carved out the niche they live so comfortably in.
ThrashHead: So tell me about the the Western Slope reunion your doing. When is it? Why is it, what is your inspiration for doing it? What are the planned festivities?
Brian: As for the reunion it is July 30th in Grand Junction. It is an all day event starting at 10 a.m. with a V.I.P. bbq at Johnny Wrong's house then from 6-8 there is a V.I.P Happy Hour at the Rocky Mountain Pub. We open the bar to the public at 8 and the bands start at 9. The bands include E.O.S., BEER DEATH, F.I.A., and FIRE IN THE ASYLUM. All local bands with either ties to G.J. or the Roaring Fork Valley. The Junction scene had its first reunion in 1998 right around my 10 yr. class reunion. We all went to different schools and graduated different years so a typical high school reunion would never bring us all back together so it was and is up to us to plan and organize these events. We have had 2 others since one on 7-7-07, and the other on 8-8-08. As for this one my first thought on it being time to do again was at a benefit for my friend Dee's roller derby team. E.O.S. had reunited and played at Two Rivers Park. I looked around at some old friends and thought yep we need to do it again this time with bands. The other three were just gatherings. Don't get me wrong they were fun but I felt if I was gonna do it it needed to be taken to the next level.
This past January I traveled to G.J. to again see E.O.S., F.F.L., and Fire in the Asylum at the Rocky Mountain Pub. Again looking around I thought yep we gotta do this, so at the after party I asked Stacy Boesch, Kelly Kramer, and Katie Johnson if I do this do you think they will come? The answer was a resounding hell yeah!!! I figured if I try and just these three girls come hell we will have the best reunion ever. I contacted Johnny about booking the bar and he made that happen. Then it was the bands, I happen to be good friends with the bands so it was easy and they were in. Then it was all up to Facebook making the event page and sending out the invites. Soon it became clear that Johnny and I had slightly different ideas of what this was gonna be, He visioned a punk show, me a reunion. Well it became very clear that a private event at the bar wasn't gonna cut it as far as expenses ( we only had 64 people confirmed at the time.). Johnny graciously offered up his house for the V.I.P. events so the reunion could happen and we could open the bar to the public to make sure costs were covered and viola The Rocky Mountain Hardcore Throwdown was born.
I want to take a moment to thank Katie Johnson for all her help in organizing this and a girls point of view, Jud Kite for his great job on the poster and t-shirt design, there will be t-shirts for sale white logo on black shirt and pink logo on black for the girls, all of the bands for taking time out of their schedules to come satisfy my whim of wanting to see my friends and giving them a reason to come, and especially Johnny Wrong for everything without him this would not have come to fruition I am for ever in the debt of every one mentioned and I hope they know I cherish not only what they have done but their friendships too.
Oh and come one come all and always remember Punk is not a look it is an attitude!!