Music acts leave their mark on The Depot

Published: Thursday, April 26 2012 4:18 p.m. MDT

Dave McKay points to Lindsey Buckingham's signature on the wall at The Depot in Salt Lake City, Thursday, April 26, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Some of the biggest names in music — as well as up-and-comers who went on to have successful careers — have left their marks on The Depot concert hall downtown.

Some of them literally.

Located along 400 West in the old Union Pacific Building, between Energy Solutions Arena and The Gateway Mall, The Depot has hosted more than 350 shows on its large stage with its state-of-the-art sound system since opening in 2006. The acts have ranged from the likes of legends BB King, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, and Jeff Beck to acts who were just getting their feet wet at the time like Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, The Black Keys and The Shins.

If you want to find out who has played The Depot in the past, the writing is on the wall.

After the bands finish their sets and make their way in a freight elevator down to a long and narrow hallway — reminiscent of the infamous scene in "This is Spinal Tap" where the band gets lost under the stage in Cleveland — they eventually find themselves standing in front of what is simply called The Wall.

The Wall boasts hundreds of signatures, messages, pictures and other drawings from the artists who have performed at The Depot. It's an idea that was started by Depot production manager Curtis Christofferson and his crew.

"People get lost down here so we were painting arrows on the floor anyway and one of my guys, Richard, said, 'Why don't we paint the walls so people can sign it?'"

The idea was an immediate hit and a box of Sharpies was hung on the hallway wall for artists to grab and doodle at their leisure. The first to sign the wall: Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.

Some artists sign their names while others draw pictures. Les Claypool, of Primus, drew an ogre-looking figure on the wall.

Lindsey Buckingham wrote a message to The Depot.

"Lindsey Buckingham leaves a message for my crew telling them thanks. I really like that. The Tesla guys signed it, they were really nice," Christofferson said.

Some artists even leave messages for other artists.

"I just noticed this not too long ago. Mike Ness, who is coming here next week with Social Distortion, was left a message by Donovan Frankenreiter, who said, 'Call me. Let's go surfing again, Donovan Frankenreiter,'" Dave McKay, vice president of United Concerts said while pointing to the message on the wall.

The Wall has now become so full of names that The Depot and United Concerts can't remember where all the signatures are located. Starting this weekend, the venue has prepped the wall across from the autographed area and is ready to begin Wall No. 2.

"As you can see, we have a brand new wall that we're going to start with Snow Patrol this weekend. Hopefully they'll be the first to sign the new wall," McKay said.

As for the original autographed wall, McKay said it is something that will be under the stage of The Depot as long as the venue is around.

"The funny thing about this is this is really a wall. This isn't anything that can be taken down unless they decide to cut out the entire wall. So this isn't going anywhere unless the building goes somewhere."

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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