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A decade living the ‘Thrash Life’
Tim Brouk looks at 10 reasons Lucifist has been a Lafayette heavy metal survivor. Plus, another problem with WL’s Salisbury project, this time on Grant Street. And there go Crawley Center's bleachers
A couple of programing notes this morning …
Thanks to The Arts Federation for sponsoring today’s issue, with a reminder that advance tickets are available now for the Taste of Tippecanoe, coming Saturday, June 18, in downtown Lafayette. For tickets and more, click on the links below and scroll through today’s edition.
And please welcome back good friend and former J&C colleague Tim Brouk, who takes the lead story ahead of a 10-year anniversary show – and before I get to continued road woes on the West Side and more.
Here we go …
‘I’D LIKE TO BE KNOWN AND REMEMBERED AS THE HEAVY, THRASHING DUDES’
By Tim Brouk / For Based in Lafayette
Lafayette metal maniacs Lucifist’s brand of thrash metal has been a pillar of the local metal scene for 10 years.
Over the decade of decadence (but not too much to endanger their day jobs at local restaurants, breweries and a leading electrical supply wholesale distributor), the band slayed about 200 shows all over Indiana and most of its surrounding states. The riffs are deadlier than ever with a couple Eps, including “Thrash Life or Die,” a live record, and a full-length album, “Goat Slaying Devil Party Music Vol. 666,” to prove it.
Making it to the 10-year hump is a point of pride for the band.
“Just being together as long as we have is a pretty good accomplishment,” said Lucifist drummer Zac Flynn. “Seeing how many bands that have gone or aren’t actively playing shows, I feel like the fact that we’ve played as many shows as we have and stayed together is an accomplishment.”
A contender for Lafayette metal show of the year, Lucifist will celebrate 10 years of melting faces at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at North End Pub. The band will share the stage with Demiricous, Indianapolis metal kings and former Metal Blade recording artists; Mobile Deathcamp, which features former Gwar bassist Todd Evans; and the return of Sarcophagy, Lafayette death metal maestros that reigned in the 1990s.
To honor Lucifist’s milestone, here are 10 things to know about the band.
1. Hippie roots?
Lucifist vocalist Stephen Dilden is a late bloomer to the sounds of metal. The fiery singer did not embrace the heavy until his 20s, although he loved music and singing long before that. When auditioning for the band, which was just forming with Flynn, guitarist Van Smith and original bassist Markus O’Brien, Dilden recalled wearing a tie-dyed Blind Melon T-shirt to the tryout.
“I was the outcast. I was totally in this hippie phase when I joined the band,” Dilden remembered. “They introduced me to everybody when it came to the big metal bands. It kind of grew on me, I guess. It was a big transition, but it’s been fun.”
Dilden thrived with the new singing style.
“He had nothing to go by. He just screamed it, and he did a good job for just being thrust into it all,” Flynn said.
2. ‘Cool shirt. Wanna jam?’
Speaking of shirts: Today, it’s debatable whether it’s OK to wear a band’s T-shirt without really knowing much about the band. Should we let the youth think Nirvana is a fashion line? Several years ago, the donning of a Gwar shirt could get you in a band. Bassist Tony Davis frequented many a metal show from Indianapolis to Fort Wayne, as well as Greater Lafayette. He was in a few bands that circulated around the state. When Lucifist needed a new bassist, they called upon that tall guy with the tattoos they’d been seeing around.
“I kept seeing pictures of (Davis) in a Gwar shirt,” Smith recalled. “So, we were like, ‘Dude, who’s that guy? He plays bass!’”
3. Homes are where the band started
Greater Lafayette house venues have been crucial in Lucifist’s growth and longevity. The infamous Hilltop Fortress in West Lafyette was home to the band’s early shows. Soon after, The Doom Room began booking basement and outdoor shows in Lafayette.
4. In Doom we trust
Like most local metal acts in the last several years, Lucifist benefited greatly with its Doom Room affiliation. While no longer hosting house shows, Doom Room guru Nick Maxson and his crew transitioned into a promotions company. Current shows are primarily at North End Pub — along with a field day/mini festival July 2 at the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater. Past Doom Room homes included Carnahan Hall and Lafayette Theater. The mutually beneficial relationship showcased Lucifist as local support for touring bands. Maxson could always count on Lucifist to represent Lafayette metal with power and glory.
“Without Nick and The Doom Room, I don’t think the scene would be around or be what it is,” Flynn said. “Who knows where we’d be? He definitely does a lot. Without him, I think everything would be completely different.”
5. Never meet your heroes? Just rock with them
Lucifist has opened for some of its favorite bands over the decade. Prong, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Green Jelly are some of the noteworthy national acts Lucifist has shared a bill with, either in clubs or festivals.
6. Polish power metal
Another boost for the band was the addition of guitarist Jakub Walczak in 2017. Born in Pruszków, Poland, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the young guitarist met Lucifist at Doom Room shows soon after moving to Lafayette for an engineering job. Walczak has since moved back to the New York City area but flies back to Indiana for big shows like Saturday’s.
Walczak summed up his time in Lucifist like a native Hoosier: “Lucifist is like an old farm truck with a blown big block engine. It leaks oil, has a hard time starting and sometimes runs like (junk), but every once in a while, when the stars line up, it can knock you back in your seat.”
Agricultural metaphors aside, Walczak’s bandmates credit his talents and welcomed calming presence for the band’s sustainability.
“He was often the voice of reason and part of the reason why we play so fast now,” Flynn said.
7. On the road, thankfully
The band has clocked thousands of miles on Indiana interstates, U.S. highways and county roads over the last decade. However, one wintery trip from Fort Wayne will live in the band’s minds forever.
Davis’ old Dodge Durango was filled to the brim with his bandmates and some Lafayette friends that tagged along for the gig. On the way home, the van hit a patch of ice, which sent it spinning forward three times along a dark stretch of a U.S. highway. Luckily, it was late at night in the middle of nowhere. No other cars were in front or behind the band. After a moment of thanks, the Lucifist crew crept back to Lafayette unscathed.
“It was a snowstorm, and Tony’s not taking any turns slow,” Flynn said. “Next thing, we’re doing multiple 360s.”
8. ‘And the winner for best heavy metal video animated in Microsoft Paint goes to … Lucifist!’
While Lucifist crafted a stellar stage show, the band’s handful of releases are strong works of sonic assault. Most were produced by Matty Crull of Outhouse Recording in Kokomo. Crull has performed in bands alongside Lucifist, too.
“We’ve gotten to know each other really well and I know their sound well,” Crull stated. “I think mostly it’s because we all get along well, and the final product reflects that. We have a lot of fun in the studio.”
Friends have chipped in their sometimes-twisted visions of Lucifist’s music. Keegan Hrybyk, drummer for Lafayette punks Yesterday’s Chips and guitarist for Graveripper, tested the limits of MS Paint with “Barfighting.” The video features animated stick figured Lucifist defeating Satan with its music and perhaps the first vomit solo in Greater Lafayette music history.
“He made that video for a case of beer. I’m not kidding,” Smith laughed. “He had free rein to do whatever he wanted. It was a hit. He did a great job.”
9. How to keep your band (mostly) happy for 10 years
Most bands won’t make it 10 years, especially independent acts like Lucifist. Everything it does is DIY. Passion for the music far outweighs the financial benefits of being in a Lafayette heavy metal band. Still, hard work, interpersonal communication and understanding is key to band longevity.
Some advice from Lucifist to newer bands:
Davis: “Learn your scales. Stay straight-headed and motivated all the time. Have your own wheels. Owning your own equipment usually helps.”
Smith: “Make sure you give your band members some space. Just learn to deal with other people.”
Flynn: “Compromise. Get along with people and try to be legit, professional and not a (jerk).”
10. Legacy of brutality and beer
As the band looks back on a decade of thrashes, trashes and hits (for Hoosier metal fans at least), Lucifist can feel satisfied for putting in the work. The band rightfully and righteously riffed its way into a deserving spot into the pantheon of 21st century Indiana metal.
“I’d like to be known and remembered as the heavy, thrashing dudes,” Flynn said. “In 20 years, I want someone to say, ‘Those dudes were (really) dope.’ If there’s more, great, but as long as people were like, ‘Those guys kicked ass,’ that’s all I want.”
IF YOU GO
Lucifist’s 10-year anniversary show, with Mobile Deathcamp, Demiricous and Sarcophagy starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at North End Pub, 2100 Elmwood Ave. Admission: $10.
The Doom Room’s seventh annual Field Day, including team games and bands, starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater, 4449 Indiana 43 North. Bands will include: The Mound Builders, King's Gambit, Beyond Deth, Wretched Idol, Voimaton, Cadaverous, My Own Fate and Lavaborne. Cover: $15. For more information, here’s your link.
ONE MORE PROBLEM FOR WEST LAFAYETTE’S SALISBURY PROJECT: GRANT STREET SECTION DELAYED UNTIL NEXT SUMMER
Weeks after West Lafayette tacked $1.25 million to a $7 million Salisbury Street redevelopment project to fix design errors, the city pushed work scheduled this summer on Grant Street into summer 2023.
The problem: Two utility companies haven’t been able to move lines in time for construction crews to tear up and rebuild Grant Street before West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School is back in session in August.
Larry Oates, president of the West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission, announced the delay Friday. Oates did more sympathizing with gas and water companies trying to keep up with a ramped-up construction season fueled by federal pandemic relief money than he did placing blame on them.
But Oates said the city and contractors agreed it made more sense to hold off on starting that section of a 2-mile project than to tear up the street and leave it that way in hopes that CenterPoint Energy and Indiana American Water could get their work done in time.
"It's a perfect storm,” Oates said, adding labor shortages to a flood of projects across the region and the state. “You’re hitting a bottleneck, and we're right at the middle of that bottleneck at this point."
Erin Merris, a CenterPoint Energy spokesperson, said Friday that the company is preparing to work on the Grant Street section at the start of next week.
An attempt to reach Indiana American Water wasn’t immediately answered Friday.
The city started working in fall 2021 on utility, road reconstruction and trails along Salisbury and Grant streets, from Cumberland Avenue in the north to Northwestern Avenue in the south.
This spring, the city and contractor discovered an error in the project along a stretch of Salisbury Street, just south of Cumberland Avenue, that put curbs 15- to 18 inches too close to the road, leaving one lane too narrow.
How that happened, whether it was a surveying error or a miscalculation in the design, wasn’t clear, Oates said. Instead of leaving it to insurance companies to argue while a major thoroughfare laid open for another few seasons, Oates said the city and contractors agreed to fix the problems – including pulling up utility lines already laid – and settle who was responsible later. On May 11, the redevelopment commission agreed to put another $1.25 million into the project now, with the understanding that the city would aim to recoup that money later.
Oates said the Salisbury Street portion of the project is scheduled to be done by Oct. 31. Same with a section of Grant Street between Meridian Street and Northwestern Avenue.
Work on Salisbury Street, including sections reduced to one lane monitored by flagging crews, continued Friday.
That leaves the part of Grant Street that runs by the high school.
The city had timed that part of the project to start May 31 – after West Side’s graduation – and end by Aug. 7 to avoid disruptions at the high school.
Oates said Friday that CenterPoint Energy initially was scheduled to move lines by June 2021 and then by September 2021. The latest estimate, he said, was June 11. With a week to go, no work had started on Grant Street as of Friday.
CenterPoint Energy’s pipeline relocation work is scheduled to begin Monday, and will be completed, weather permitting, in approximately two weeks, Merris said. She said CenterPoint Energy's pipeline work was just one component of a larger project.
“We have remained in close contact with West Lafayette officials throughout the planning process, including coordinating construction schedules,” Merris said.
Indiana American Water posted similar delays, bumping initial plans from November 2021 to Sept. 20, 2022, Oates said.
Oates said that work needs to be done before reconstruction can start. He said the city pulled the plug now and pushed things into next summer rather than try to cram it all in after late September.
How confident was he that utility work could get done by next summer, given the recent delays and no slowdown on construction work? (Lafayette and West Lafayette each have had planned projects go without bids or with prices well over estimates, due to the load.)
“We’ll see,” Oates said. “Luckily there’s no casino here in West Lafayette, because I’m not willing to bet on it.”
SO LONG, CRAWLEY CENTER BLEACHERS: With commencement done for the Class of ’22, the bleachers at Lafayette Jeff’s Crawley Center started coming out.
The bleachers, there since the school opened the gym in 1969 with a capacity of 7,200, are being removed to make way for a $1.5 million bleacher and floor replacement, happening this summer. The LSC school board this spring agreed to rename the new court for the late Joe Heath, a Lafayette Jeff grad who also taught, coached and was principal and athletic director during his career at the high school on South 18th Street.
As for the old bleachers, Preston said the boards had been loaded into a trailer, destined for future projects in Lafayette Jeff construction trades classes.
Thanks, again, to The Arts Federation for sponsoring today’s issue. Get your advance admission for the Taste of Tippecanoe, coming Saturday, June 18, in downtown Lafayette. For tickets and more, click the link below.