Denver's unlikely metal hero TaunTaun is back, with a very sloppy burrito promotion

TaunTaun is a band of unusual provenance. Its members are all luminaries of the Denver music scene, but their other bands don't sound much like each other, and they sound even less like TaunTaun. It was the musicians' shared teenage love for '80s metal that initially informed the group's music, which also might explain the abandon and ease they display when they're together: It's like a game of Wiffle ball played by prodigiously talented grown men.

The group took a break from late 2010 to 2012 while its members focused on their other bands, including Gamits, Drag the River, Trees, the Royal, Ian Cooke and Eolian. But after 3 Kings co-owner Jim Norris suffered a near-fatal spider bite, TaunTaun hit the war path for a benefit show. Since then, the band has played occasionally, and a rare burst of activity recently will culminate with this weekend's May the Fourth Be With You festivities. The Star Wars-themed "sci-fi music and costume extravaganza," as it is described at, will feature a TaunTaun set at 3 Kings on Sunday night with The Knew and Dirty Few. In conjunction with the event, Illegal Pete's on South Broadway has created a TaunTaun-style burrito. We talked to guitarist Ian O'Dougherty and vocalist/guitarist Chris Fogal about what that means and how their band has evolved since the hiatus.

Kiernan Maletsky: How have your recent shows been different from the old ones?

Ian O'Dougherty: Overall, the band weighs more. I have a lot less hair, and [drummer Dave] Barker has a lot more. We practice less than before, but we are playing better.

If you had to pick one: Megadeth or Metallica?

Chris Fogal: Metallica, ...And Justice for All and before. After that, they both suck.

What is a TaunTaun burrito?

IO: The band name is onomatopoeia for the sound we make as a METAL band -- i.e., bam bam, boom boom, taun taun, psh psh -- but it is also a creature from Hoth. During a storm, a near-frozen Luke is rescued by Han Solo, riding a specific poor soul that freezes to death while Han is tending to Luke. Han uses a light saber -- the only time a non-Jedi ever uses a light saber -- to open up the dead TaunTaun stomach and insert Luke to keep him warm until they can be rescued, making the TaunTaun temperature "Luke-warm."

Two years ago, we developed a TaunTaun veggie wrap with City, O' City. This year we partnered up with Illegal Pete's [the South Broadway location] to bring you the TaunTaun burrito, available until May 4th. It's a choice-of burrito sliced open and filled with a mixture of green chile and queso sauce.

What Clue weapon would TaunTaun be most likely to use on Jar Jar Binks?

CF: Dagger, because it is the most metal and it would involve the most blood.

TaunTaun plays at 3 Kings Taver, with The Knew and Dirty Few. 8:30 p.m.

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Kiernan Maletsky is a former Westword intern.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky

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