There’s a romantic notion of Los Angeles as a sun-drenched retreat for the well-tanned, the wealthy and the famous. Trash Talk’s music, in contrast, tends to wander the city’s dingier, more dangerous and far-less-explored alleyways.
“Los Angeles is rough around the edges, and to get anywhere nice you have to go through Skid Row,” said Lee Spielman, reached in the midst of the band’s nationwide tour, which stops at a to-be-determined Columbus venue (more on that later) on Thursday, June 19. “Someone can have a super nice loft in the middle of L.A., and five blocks away there are 500 people sprawled out in the streets.”
The band’s hardcore scrawl frequently conjures images of these urine-and-garbage strewn avenues, Spielman hurling epithets atop a tangled mass of drums and slash-and-burn guitars so ferocious and intimidating listeners might be tempted to hand over their wallets and beat a hasty retreat to safety.
In the past, Trash Talk’s songs were more outward looking, with Spielman screaming about police brutality, classism and the frustrations brought on living among a populace all too happy to pretend those scraping by on the fringes don’t exist. These issues still surface from time-to-time on the band’s latest, No Peace — “I won’t look the other way for anyone but me,” Spielman howls on “The Hole,” channeling the nondescript businessmen that brush aside others on the daily — but there’s a more introspective bent to much of the album, with the frontman shifting his gaze inward and finding the landscape equally ravaged.
“I’ve made my mistakes,” he growls on “Jigsaw.” “I did my time!”
Part of this change could be attributed to a 2013 move, when the band relocated from a rehearsal/living space on the edge of a rougher neighborhood to an industrial loft in the comparatively calm Warehouse District, a ’hood few venture outside normal business hours and a setting that left more time for contemplation.
“From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. there’s a million people working and running down the streets with boxes, and after 6 p.m. it’s deserted,” said Spielman, 26, who was born in Sacramento and raised by a social worker mother and a biker/musician father. “There aren’t any crack heads or gang bangers, and no one is asking you for money, because there’s no one there.”
While Trash Talk might have attained some degree of stability at home, life on the road remains as chaotic as ever. For this tour, the band is playing free, all-ages shows, announcing the venue via its Facebook site only a day or two before hitting town.
“It’s fun, because we’re out here like, ‘I don’t know what to expect tonight,’” said Spielman, noting the tour is the crew’s attempt to recreate the tight-knit feel of the Sacramento punk community that incubated the musicians in their formative years. “Growing up it was important to have a place where you could feel at home … so it’s cool for those kids who can’t afford shows to just be able to vibe out and have a good time.”
Thursday Friday photo