Dillinger 4 No. 5, Interview with Dillinger 4!

24 Dec

The Proven Path of Old School Hardcore: Dillinger 4
by Balazs Sarkadi

Originally published in Left of the Dial

After you had decided to leave Lookout Records, you talked to Fat
Wreck and Epitaph as well. Why did you choose Fat? Was it partly because 
Epitaph signed Dillinger Escape Plan who you certainly not want to be
confused with?

We left Hopeless records. Fat and Epitaph are both good labels, but we’re
working mostly on weight gain these days. We’ve reached nearly 1000 lbs
 between the four of us, and we figured Fat would be more supportive when we
get to the point where we can barely make it onstage anymore.

John Dillinger was a famous bankrobber from the 1930s in the Midwest
area, where you come from. Why did you choose this name for the band?

Yes, the Midwest thing played a part in it. Also, Dillinger died in Chicago in
the alley almost next door to the record shop where Paddy and I bought many
of our first punk records. We’re both from Chicago. Dillinger also spent a
great deal of time in my neighborhood in St. Paul. There was a deal with the
cops here for all those underworld figures at the time. They agreed not to
pull any shit in St. Paul, and the cops agreed not to haul them in for stuff
they did elsewhere. He was also supposedly hung like a horse.

The new records starts off with some soundbite in Japanese. Where’s
 that from, and what’s that about? Has it something to do with the fact
t hat you toured Japan with Green Day?

We did tour Japan with Green Day, but we’ve also gone two other times by 
ourselves. Last year we went twice and it was the only touring we did at all
for the year. I guess in some ways it had to do with a nod to a country we’ve
visited a lot and love. It mostly has to do with the fact that out friend 
Takashi, from the AMAZING band Sweetjap, was hanging around at the studio and
looked bored, so we told him to yell some stuff.

Can you explain the title of the new record? The (International)
Noise Conspiracy is also using Guy Debord and situationist references in
 their songs, what do you think about this band?

You are the first person to ask about the title who is already familiar with 
Situationism! I like INC quite a bit. Musically they have done some great 
stuff, although they lose me sometimes. We’ve tried a few times to tour together, but so far it has not worked.

Can you explain what some of the lyrics on the album are about? Like
 Noble Stabbings, or Fired-Side Chat? (These are my favorites)

Noble Stabbings is a personal type of song. It’s about when you stand back
and look at a relationship you’re in objectively for the first time. Not
necessarily a romantic relationship, any kind of relationship. It’s about
when you realize that the other person is a bag of shit and that you’d be a
fool to put forth anymore effort to keep it going.
 Fired-side Chat is more of a pessimistic song about the realities of
 capitalism. It’s about how irritating it is when a major “scandal” occurs,
 and tons of people are screwed out of their livelihood by the rich, and the 
whole country freaks out and acts like it’s the first time. The outrage lasts maybe a week, then everyone goes back to their regular lives, and no justice
comes from it. Then it happens again. People don’t realize that the economic
system we live under in this country makes this cycle necessary. When people
accept that, then possibly solutions can be found, but not if everyone acts
like it’s the first time every single time. The Enron accounting scandal 
recently is a good example.

I’d say your music is noisy pop punk with artistic lyrics, with your
 vocals reminiscent of Mick Jones of the Clash, or Jim from the 90’s
 British band Carter USM. Do you agree with this definition?

Yeah that sounds pretty good to me.

You need to explain to me some vague references about the past of
 your drummer in the band bio. What’s the thing about he tried to become
a full-time Pabst mascot?And what’s the reference to one-man synchronized swimming in Las Vegas Casino fountains?

It’s all true. He has raised drunken stupidity to
the level of really more of an artform at times. Lots of people can get drunk
and be dumb, but Monkey Hustle, when he’s on, does it like no other. It’s like 
watching a master sculptor or painter. Breathtaking.

Does Lane really have a PhD in psychology? Isn’t that kinda
frightening, having such an intellectual drummer, when the rest of the
band are high school dropouts?

Yep he does. But don’t confuse intellectualism with academic degrees. He is
no intellectual, he is someone who is driven to complete the things that he
starts. He is very smart, but he is mostly a very hard worker.

What’s the Minneapolis punk scene like? I know Hüsker Dü were from
there, but who else is worth mentioning?

The Replacements usually get mentioned. Prince is from here. Morris Day and
The Time. As far as punk bands go, Minneapolis has always had great ones, but 
most have ended before they got known outside of the midwest. There are some
 great bands here right now: Rivethead, Sweetjap, The Crush, Song of Zarathu
stra. There is a compilation coming out early next year that will have
probably twenty Minneapolis punk bands on it called NO Slow… All GO. It 
should be a pretty good document of what it sounds like here these days.

You’ll tour Europe the first time in June, right? What are your
 expectations? Have you ever been there before on a private journey?

I came 10 years ago with an old band that no one would know, so I have some idea of what to expect. But then again, that was so long ago, I’m sure much
has changed. We’re really just looking to have a good time. We’ve been
looking forward to getting there for years. I don’t care if only three people
come to all the shows, we’re gonna have fun.

I’ve heard that at live shows your bass player gets naked and you
 sometimes smash everything on stage. This sounds a bit like the Dwarves,
who also originate from nearby Chicago. Can such a comparison be made
according to you?

Funny story. The very first band Paddy and I ever did together played our 
first show with the Dwarves in 1988 I believe it was. At one point, while
 they were playing, Paddy looked up at the stage, and Blag was half naked, and 
they looked like fucking morons, and they sounded like shit. He saw an 
extension cord running from the stage into the wall by his feet, looked at
 me, looked back down, and unplugged them. It was everything except the PA.
We’ve since come to like the Dwarves quite a bit.

How many punks you think it takes to change a light bulb?

None. Punks can’t change anything


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