Music » Music Stories & Interviews

From pot to paydirt

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Contrasting the rowdy craziness of a Dash Rip Rock performance, an interview with vocalist/guitarist Bill Daivs is about the easiest task asked of a writer. Davis and bassist Ned "Hoaky" Hickel Jr. met while Davis was completing a master's in journalism at Louisiana State University, but even after assuming the role of interviewee, it's nice to have a subject begin with, "So let's see, this is supposed to start with our beginnings, right?"

So here, in Davis' words, are the origins of Dash Rip Rock.: "Hoaky and I were in different bands in Baton Rouge. My band was sort of like Devo, and Hoaky's was sort of like Adam Ant," Davis remembers. "We >met in '84 from playing in these New Wave bands, but we both had a love for >rockabilly bands, so we ended up adding rockabilly to college rock." > >Not content sticking to rockabilly, Dash's sound soon incorporated >influences ranging from REM to the Ramones. Davis describes the band's >current sound as "punk/pop with a rockabilly background," all aspects of >which, particularly the more pop-sounding lyricism, are evident on Dash Rip >Rock's upcoming record, "Pay Dirt," scheduled for release on July 25 by San >Diego-based PC Music. Loaded with hooks, "Pay Dirt" is Dash's eighth >record and best bet yet on scoring a legitimate hit. Not that this veteran >road band isn't familiar with stardom -- their 1996 novelty single "(Let's >Go) Smoke Some Pot," a parody of Danny & the Junior's rock 'n roll classic >"(Let's Go) To The Hop," won the band favor in many local radio markets in >the United States and managed to create a stir as far away as Australia. > >"'Let's Go Smoke Some Pot' made it to 69 as a single in Australia," says >Davis. "In Australia, pot's sort of legal, you can have a few plants in >your back yard and smoke it in your house and they won't really mess with >you. The two big stations in Australia are government-run, and one of them >called us on the phone and were really excited because the song was such a >tongue-in-cheek hit that some of the council members, or whatever they call >the politicians in Australia, were using our song as an example of how the >media was going to the dogs." > >Despite the inclusion of some more radio-friendly songs on "Pay Dirt," >Dash's signature raucous humor is all over the record, particularly in the >track "False Profit." The song makes a wide swipe at rock stars, and a >more pointed jab (although, the band insists, all in fun) at former Dash >drummer and now leader of Cowboy Mouth, Fred LeBlanc, who produced "Pay >Dirt." Dash are a rock 'n roll band that can make proper -- and >appropriate -- use of "sycophant" in a song that fits the DIY, fuck-all >punk idiom while wrapping it in a song that's got enough popular appeal to >win airplay nationwide. As for Dash Rip Rock live, the band, perhaps >reinvigorated by addition of relative youngster Kyle Melancon on drums, >embodies the image of a constant-touring, hard-living rock 'n roll band. > >"When the pot song took off, it was really fun to play the part of big rock >stars. It would have been better to have a real song make it, something >I'd written, but by hook or crook it was really a blast to have that >experience. What we're hoping to have happen with the new record is, we >met a lot of people in radio when that song hit so big, and most of them >still have their jobs `laughs`, so we're hoping to go in and say, 'these >songs aren't as funny as the pot song, but they're tongue-in-cheek and your >listeners will probably like them. The pot song was really big in Orlando >and Tampa, so every time we go back we still have a big following. We'll >be playing a lot of songs off the new record, doing lots of the usual >hijinx -- the people of Orlando can expect nudity, profanity, and anything >but sobriety `laughs`. They know what it's all about."

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