From: Washington, United States
Terry, Bill, Hunter and Danny from US power punkers Dot Dash took time out to chat with the Devil about plum eating, their fears of Julianne Moore and mathematical problem solving.
The Devil: Why Dot Dash?
Terry: It just seemed like a good, concise name; easy to say and kind of memorable… It’s taken from the Wire song, but not as an homage -- we just liked the sound/look of the name.
The Devil: What other names did you ponder before deciding it had to be Dot Dash?
Terry: I personally prefer band names that are made up out of thin air, rather than taken “from” something, but none were clicking, so it was on to other bands’ song titles for fodder… I liked the gentle, misty vibe of Escalator In The Rain (courtesy of Microdisney), but it’s a bit too long and unwieldy and, worse, it’s apparently easily misunderstood… I tried it out on someone and they said “Escalade In The Rain?” You probably don’t have them in the U.K., but Escalades are kind of nasty, giant SUVs favored by a strange triumvirate of The U.S. Secret Service, gangstas, and people who like to affix large American-flag decals to the back of their vehicle. It just didn’t seem right, so Dot Dash it was.
The Devil: Who are the biggest influences in your life and on your music?
Terry: Life: you know Angel from The Rockford Files? That guy. Music: If I’m being honest, The Jam, but their whole thing was basically an update of pre-Pepper Beatles, so if you say “The Jam,” you’re really saying The Beatles... Postcard-era Orange Juice and Aztec Camera made an indelible mark on my brain… and The Byrds… and Joy Division.
Bill: Favorite guitarists: Paul Weller, Pete Townshend, the Edge, Johnny Marr, Andy Gill, Jónsi Birgisson. I like to listen to a lot of stuff, from power pop to sort of ambient electronica, more the latter these days.
Hunter: Life: Basil Fawlty, Mark E. Smith and Lemmy. Music: Most of my bass parts are rip-offs of Bruce Foxton bass lines. I'm also inspired by David McClymont of Orange Juice, who was never afraid to attempt to play a cool bass line that slightly exceeded his technical ability.
Danny: Musically it’s Joe Strummer -- he was the one who admonished me to get off the sidelines and get in a band back in 79. As a result, I joined The Untouchables and haven't looked back. In life, other than my parents, it would be Thelton Henderson.
The Devil: What was the first record you owned and what was the first record you ever bought with your own money?
Terry: Someone gave me a Three Dog Night album for Christmas when I was 7 or 8. It had giant playing cards inside the sleeve, one for each member of the band. It was terrifying; I felt very uneasy about even looking at it, let alone playing it – it was a visual tableau rich in moustaches and scarves and gauzy stares, as I recall… The first record I bought with my own (lawn cutting) money was Cheap Trick, Live at Budokan at a place called Kenilworth Bazaar in Towson, Maryland.
Bill: I remember Mother Freedom by Bread as the first song that made me excited about electric guitar. It had this cool distorted-riff intro. My parents owned the record. I would crank it up on our little orange turntable. The first I bought with my own money was either London Calling, U2 War, or, possibly earlier, Darkness on the Edge of Town.
Hunter: Owned: A 45 of "The Theme From S.W.A.T." Bought: The Doors Greatest Hits
Danny: Beatles 65 was the first record I owned. Jackson 5 "I Want You Back" 45 was the first I bought with my own money. 25 cents at Kresge’s.
The Devil: What makes Dot Dash stand out from the millions of other bands across the world? What makes you unique?
Terry: Any band who would claim to be unique are complete tossers. So, to be clear, we’re not unique – but you might like us anyway.
Bill: I guess like most bands we're a product of the sausage grinder of our respective influences. Something about the way it all gets distilled in a pretty organic way. We've all been around the track a few times, so maybe it's a (gasp) maturity thing. Sometimes it feels like we're carrying the torch for the ancient ways. Meaning music made before 1995.
Hunter: We have no hope of being successful. It's liberating.
Danny: Our good looks.
The Devil: Which bands or artists on the current music scene make your spine tingle with joy?
Terry: I saw a D.C. band called The Hall Monitors a while ago at a place here called Comet Ping Pong. They melted my mind.
Bill: I don't know about tingle with joy, but Sigur Ros, Jonsi's solo stuff, Max Richter, and Beach House are usually in heavy rotation. I guess I don't listen to as much straight guitar stuff anymore, I kind of look for certain atmospheres.
Hunter: I recently discovered a band from Australia called Royal Headache, who are great. My favorite D.C. band is Title Tracks. And my favorite non-broken up band is The Oranges Band. But I think they might have just broken up.
Danny: Adam Franklin, Radiohead
The Devil: Favourite song?
Terry: “The Airport Song” by The Byrds, with “Outdoor Miner” by Wire a close second.
Bill: Hard to say. Depends on the day.
Hunter: At the moment, it's "My Place" by Honor Role. My favorite song of all time is probably "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?" by Dionne Warwick.
Danny: Today it is “All White Jack” by Punishment of Luxury.
The Devil: Favourite book?
Terry: Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Bill: Recently - Moominland Midwinter, The Suitcase (Dovlatov.)
Hunter: The best book I've read recently is The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville.
Danny: Life, A User's Manual by Georges Perec
The Devil: Favourite Movie?
Bill: Recently - Werckmeister Harmonies, Secret of Kells,The Road
Hunter: Comedy: Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Drama: Goodfellas
Danny: Perfectly Normal
The Devil: Favourite word?
The Devil: Tell me something that you've never told anyone before.
Terry: The square root of 85 is 9.21954446. There, I’ve said it.
Bill: But I barely know you.
Hunter: I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast.
Danny: I have a morbid fear of Julianne Moore, and sharks.
The Devil: If you weren't in Dot Dash how would you keep yourself occupied?
Terry: running, reading, reclining.
Bill: I'm also a photographer, a full-time teacher, and a father, so I'm pretty occupied.
Hunter: I'd spend more time in a church
Danny: Wishing I were in Dot Dash.
The Devil: Is there anything else you'd like to tell the Devil Has The Best Tuna readers?
Terry: We hope we haven’t alienated you with this interview.
Bill: Thanks for caring.
Hunter: I love orange soda.
Danny: Life is short. Don't be afraid to stand out in a crowd from time to time.
There And Back Again Lane - Dot Dash by thebeautifulmusic
Tragedy Destiny - Dot Dash by thebeautifulmusic
Dot Dash - Facebook : Last.FM