To the uninitiated, Trash Talk’s brand of hardcore punk mixed with skate rock and metal sensibility is a soothing tonic for today’s troubled times. Currently on tour across North America, Trash Talk speaks in harsh tones over pummeling guitar, bass, and drums and, from the looks of it, takes zero shit from anyone.
Formed by vocalist Lee Spielman, bassist Spencer Pollard, guitarist Tim Butcher, and drummer Sam Bosson in 2005, Trash Talk (which typically inverts the “A” in the word “Trash” in its name) began playing live and recording almost immediately into its career, releasing a self-titled seven-inch in 2006, a 12-song EP on Sell Your Souls Records full of heavy, angry riffs, shouting, and many discernable swear words. Part powerviolence, part Circle Jerks, the seven-inch is a must-have for any fan of straight-up power punk and a perfect soundtrack for riding a skateboard in your local empty pool. Just 18 when the band formed, Spielman delivers his vocals with an urgency and conviction reminiscent of early ’80s hardcore-punk vocalists like John Weiffenbach of Washington, D.C.’s Void and John Brannon of Detroit’s Negative Approach.
Guitarist Garrett Stephenson joined the band in 2007 and the classic lineup was made complete, at least until Butcher left the band in 2010 (and later died in 2015) and Bosson followed in 2014. Currently a four-piece, with a rotation of drummers filling in on its current tour and Stephenson manning all the guitar duties, Trash Talk is touring with new music for the first time since 2014. Earlier this year, the band put out an EP titled Tangle and, according to Spielman, looks forward to putting out a new full-length in 2017.
“This EP is our warm-up for something bigger. We just wanted to get it out there. We’re out on tour, and we want to play new music. So far, the response has been great.”
Spielman, now 28, dropped out of high school in the 10th grade to follow the opportunities being given to Trash Talk. The band has toured in Europe and Asia and criss-crossed North America multiple times.
“I was still in high school when we started. This is my first and only band,” Spielman says before talking about the band’s current dynamic, which includes opening its retail store/art space/skate spot in Los Angeles called Babylon.
“We’ve had different drummers, but me, Garrett, and Spencer have been there since the beginning. As far as decision-making, it’s just us three. We don’t have a manager ... If something fucks up, there isn’t anyone to blame except yourself,” explains Spielman.
Trash Talk’s current tour features rap artists, which seems to confound show-goers at times, but Spielman thinks it is a good thing.
“We’re on tour with Antwon and Black Noise,” Spielman says. “It’s been great to have such a mixed bill. Antwon is a rapper, but he comes with a punk background. The vibe of the show ... I think a lot of kids don’t realize that they may like [different styles] of music.”
At the time of this interview, the band was deep in the South on election day. The gravity of the moment was not lost on Spielman.
“We’re in Miami, and it’s kind of tense. I just feel like you can’t say certain things and still be a leader regardless of the politics. It’s like the fuckin’ Reagan era again. I think everyone’s going to be pissed, no matter who wins,” says Spielman, prior to President-elect Donald Trump’s stunning upset.
Trash Talk is scheduled to play Rebel Lounge on Thursday, November 17.