Sundown on Venus Radio Wants to Help Preserve Denver Punk History

Sundown on Venus Radio Wants to Help Preserve Denver Punk History
Ben Wiese
Anthony Gautier and Octavio “Tavo” Urbina would trek from the Westside to Capitol Hill to thumb through the bargain bins at Wax Trax Records, searching for new punk music, which they would buy with whatever lunch money their families gave them.

Punk reflected how they experienced life: as outsiders.

Gautier, who has Latino, black, and white family members, always stuck out in his family; Urbina, the youngest of five brothers, did not play sports like his other relatives. Even so, the two youth found refuge in punk music – from The Clash to The Cramps – and friendship with each other. 

“When I was younger, you’d hop on a bus and head downtown, and you might come across people that don’t really like you,” says Gautier. “So we had to let our intentions be known. Looking [punk], it’s like, 'Yo, you may think we’re freaks or whatever, but you know we’re not to be fucked with. Just let us be.'”

“[Punk] will never disagree with you – especially the records that you love and repeat,” says Urbina, who plays in the band Chemical X. “This is one thing you have solace in, and that’s never going to change. It’s just always there and always will be.”

More than fifteen years later, Gautier and Urbina’s appreciation for all things punk is as strong as ever. As co-hosts of a semi-weekly radio show – Sundown on Venus, available on – Gautier and Urbina explore punk culture.

click to enlarge Sundown on Venus co-hosts Anthony Gautier and Octavio "Tavo" Urbina with Denver Scream Queen Theresa Mercado. - BEN WIESE
Sundown on Venus co-hosts Anthony Gautier and Octavio "Tavo" Urbina with Denver Scream Queen Theresa Mercado.
Ben Wiese
“[Tavo and I] came together with the idea of wanting to show each other different bands in different scenes,” says Gautier. “Then we started recording it, and then started putting it out, and I think people really took to it, because you were hearing hardcore bands and death-rock bands from my side, and more street punk bands, more psychobilly bands from him."

Each episode is recorded in a cramped closet turned into a shrine to punk, filled with old band shirts, cassettes, posters and monster masks. The program features conversations with guests that have included Justin Lent of Clusterfux and Chain Reaction Records, Del Murry of Lockjaw and horror film programmer Theresa Mercado. Topics of conversation cover punk, pop and outsider cultures, movies, art and more; each episode offers a playlist created by guests showcasing music that might not be available otherwise online.

“When Tony approached me about being on Sundown on Venus Radio, I was stoked,” says Mercado, who was the guest on Episode 14. “I had listened to the show and appreciate his taste in music and cinema and support of the scene... There had only been one female guest before me, so I was also thrilled to bring another feminine voice to the show. And I just thought it'd be fun to hang out with Tony and Tavo, listening to records!”

The hosts hope the show introduces listeners to new music too.

“It’s a way to get people to take a chance at the fucking record store,” says Urbina. “Go find something that they think is cool – not something they saw on Instagram.” The show also puts a strong focus on the Denver punk scene, which the hosts want listeners to build in person — not just online.

“We want to show people that Denver has its own thing,” says Gautier. “Don’t go on the Internet and pay attention to what you think is punk. Get involved locally.”
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Ben Wiese is a writer in Denver. He covers music for Westword.
Contact: Ben Wiese