Way back when I was in a college band, we had a champion in Jeff Vice. He wrote kind words about Swim Herschel Swim wherever and whenever he could. When the band had our first major opening slot for Dread Zeppelin in front of the biggest crowd we’d played for (3,000+ tickets had been sold for an outdoor show), the bad weather almost cancelled the show and we never got a sound check. Even the lowliest of bands gets a chance for a sound check. When the weather lifted, the concert organizer used our set as a sound system test. They had unplugged everything and wanted to make sure nothing got fried after the torrential rain. Rather than lose our slot, we pushed to go on. So our first big break was a four song set, mostly played without any sound going through the PA until halfway through our third song. In his Deseret News review of that show, Vice referred to us in the nicest way that forever stayed with me. Instead of roasting us as he so easily could have, he found out what happened, referenced it in his review about the show and referred to us as a class act. I can’t think of many reviewers who would have taken the trouble to find out what happened to the four song opening act, but that he did meant the world to me.
As our notoriety and the Provo exploding ska scene of the early 1990s grew, Jeff was there, sharing reviews and interviews with many other bands as well as ours.
I found out last night that Jeff passed away and his funeral was last Saturday. Gut punch.
May you be skanking somewhere, Jeff. And thank you for all the kindness you showed me and my bandmates over the years. Thank you, you made a difference to this keyboard player in a local band 20+ years ago. To your family I offer my condolences and hope for peace and strength.
Salt Lake Tribune’s Sean P. Means
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Jeff Vice, longtime Deseret News reporter and movie critic, dies