As you may recall, we asked Blag Dahlia from the Dwarves a while back if he wanted to interview Eddie Spaghetti from the Supersuckers for us. He agreed and it turned out to be a fun interview. So we figured, why not go for a sequel now that the Dwarves’ new album “Invented Rock n Roll” is out?
But who do you ask to interview such a legend of rock? We certainly couldn’t do it ourselves… we are simply not worthy. So we got in touch with Dexter Holland and sure enough, he agreed to take this task upon himself.
You can now listen to part one of Blag and Dexter catching up and commenting on how the music industry has changed (for the worst?) over the years. Or - for those of you with the attention span of a hamster - simply scroll down and read a summary. We’ll have part two up in a couple of days!
Dexter starts off by telling Blag about how he used to read about The Dwarves in Maximum Rock’n’Roll and only just dared going to their shows because it always seemed kinda dangerous. They then talk about the show they’re at which had The Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise and The Vandals and an attendance of about 8000 people. Blag can’t help but have mixed feelings about it… on the one hand he thinks it wouldn’t be their thing to play in front of a herd, on the other hand he’s jealous.
“I’m a musician, I’m a whore. I’m like… Anyone, please like us!” –Dexter Holland
Dexter concludes that there’s something to both sides, but says there’s nothing better than playing a club show in front of a smaller group of people, who really get their music. They both agree on the fact that bands automatically want to further themselves and their music… except for Fugazi.
Blag then talks about how some people get scared off by their album covers, which he doesn’t get because as far as he’s concerned, The Dwarves basically play pop music which everybody can enjoy. For Dexter however, it worked the other way round. When he first saw the cover of “Blood, Guts & Pussy”, he just wanted to have that album. He thinks the problem might be that the Dwarves are too diverse and that people don’t know what to latch on to.
“Okay, I’m gonna get so good at production and song writing and shit, that they just can’t deny it. Even if it’s nudity, even if there’s swearing.” – Blag Dahlia
Blag talks about getting to know producer Eric Valentine and how he compared him to Mozart when they first met. That was a key moment for Dahlia, seeing that he now finally had the feeling that he, too, could do this. But then they started writing these diverse songs. Making both pop and punk oriented songs, Blag now felt that he was left with only a tiny sliver of fans who really got it. Punk fans said: “Fuck you, man. You’re a pop band now.” Whereas pop fans claimed the exact opposite.
“I made more money back in the day off records that nobody bought than I make now off records that they do. There was so much more money then. You could catch Brett Gurewitz when he was high and you could get like 50 grand.” – Blag Dahlia
Dexter retorts that the music industry is in fact dead nowadays. According to him, touring and stuff is great, but ultimately you want to be creating new things and getting on with your music.
Blag then replies by saying that people listening to The Offspring kind of seem to tolerate it when the band does some crazy, weird shit, because they’ll say: “Hey Dexter, okay, that was funny. Now, where’s my hit?” And then The Offspring does continue to deliver that.
“With Nirvana it was like, the guy killed himself so he wouldn’t have to try and make another hit.” – Blag Dahlia
The Dwarves’ lead singer defends Holland’s place in the punk scene, saying that he thinks it’s stupid that people start nagging the moment a band gets more than one hit. All of a sudden that band’s not a punk band anymore? Bullshit… He says: “Come on, give me a break, it’s really hard to make hits and then make another set of hits!”
Holland says he loves the energy of punk rock music, but he felt that the songs were always lacking. There was a lot of screaming, there wasn’t a lot of melody. There were only a few bands that at that time managed to get some melodic songs out there, like The Adolescents and especially Bad Religion, putting out their record Suffer. That was a turning point.
“And Bad Religion liked that melody so much they’re still doing it. But I think it’s great!” – Blag Dahlia
“Okay, but The Dwarves, we were talking about the Dwarves.” – Dexter Holland
“That’s right! We’re the fucking legends here…” - Blag Dahlia
Blag regrets the fact that the entire punk scene, whether it was in Illinois or in California, seemed to be so asexual. And the worst thing about it according to him was that the metalheads did love to fuck and party, it’s just that their music sucked!
The Offspring’s singer agrees and admits that he too hated the metal stuff because he really didn’t get the decadence. Now he gets it, but then he was really offended.
“Those punk bands all had rad little girlfriends and did cute things and half their mommies were rich.” – Blag Dahlia
“You want more hedonism. Is that what you’re saying? –Dexter Holland
“Yeah!” – Blag Dahlia
A remarkable fact is that girls nowadays do like The Dwarves whereas that didn’t used to be the case. Now, Dahlia says, they have more cute girls at their shows than any smalltown punk band. He thinks it must have something to do with the fact that if you are a girl, you’ll probably want some kind of melody, some kind of beat. As the music industry fell apart, girls started to discover The Dwarves. He jokes that that’s the one nice thing that’s happened to The Dwarves over the years.
“I’d like to think it’s because I’m so good looking and my penis is so big.” – Blag Dahlia
“That’s why you have disco and shit. It’s because you couldn’t dance to a rock song anymore.” – Blag Dahlia
Dahlia states that as soon as people noticed you couldn’t dance to punk and/or rock songs anymore, they started to pull out. Dexter says that’s true… why would you want to write songs when you can also just write beats? Writing songs is hard!