when we started this website there were going to be artists we had highlighted to cover and interview and when Jeff Dahl showed up on our radar as having something new in the shops it was as good an excuse to speak to him as any (not that we needed an excuse) Talking of new record its sort of new – Well it is new but not all the songs are new…You’ll know what we mean when you read the review (Here) Anyway where were we? Oh yes he’s a punk rock legend he’s been there done it and probably appeared on the T-shirt so here are the words from the chat we had with the one and only Jeff Dahl…
Hi Jeff, hope you’re well this morning and life is treating you as it should?
I can’t complain. Peach pie & Kava tea for breakfast. Life is good. Congratulations on the new website. Right out of the blocks you’re hitting the nail dead on the head.
ok, so firstly you played in Sweden the tail end of 2017 and hooked up with Demons was the plan always to hit the studio whilst you were there?
Well, I’ve known the Demons since they first started so when I was planning to come to Sweden for a vacation, I’m crazy for museums, the idea of doing something came together really naturally. We’d talked about a tour but I was just there for 10 days so we decided to just do some rehearsals, play the show and spend a few days in the studio. I really enjoyed myself.
They’re obviously fans of your work so they knew how the tunes went or did you forward on a set list you had in mind?
They had their collective shit totally together. We discussed it over emails and we wanted to keep it easy and loose. No stress. Plug in and play. It was easy and it was fun.
You must be delighted how the songs came out? There is a new lease of life in those songs and the energy is fantastic those guys got it straight away I’m guessing?
Thanks! Oh yeah, we set up all facing each other in the studio and just played the songs. It’s exciting to record like that and I hope the songs reflect that energy. I don’t think we played any song more than 3 times, but most were first takes, and the vocals were recorded the next day. I think there were just a couple guitar leads added and that about it. It’s raw and real and that’s how we wanted it. Plus, I have not played with a band in 10 years so this was a treat for me. Demons are a great band and fantastic guys. We had fun.
Absolutely aces. Wonderful crowd. Even the sound system was top notch. I told them I did not want to play any venue where it would sound like shit. That’s a big deal with me. There’s no excuse for bad sound in a club.
What did it feel like to be back onstage playing in Sweden?
Honestly, I was a little jittery before we started rehearsals but that came together quick and easy and I got comfortable pretty fast. I had not played live in 10 years! Would I even remember how to do it? Haha. The one drag was that a month before coming over I blew up my left knee so even though I had loads and loads of lovely plain killers I was limping around in excruciating pain and not able to jump around as I would have liked to.
Has it given you the energy to get out there and play anywhere else?
Good question, I don’t know. I suppose that under the right circumstances I would think about it. But the days of 60 shows in 60 days are over! But the idea of going someplace and playing a show or two with a cool band now appeals to me.
The version of Sonic Reducer on the EP is amazing. I know its a much-covered number but a lot of bands just do other peoples songs and miss the point or never achieve the energy and attitude needed and can often sound lame or forced but not this.
You also recently mentioned the record you cut with poison idea where you did a really heartfelt tribute to Stiv and your take on some of those songs was the best I’ve heard people cover especially the Lords tracks.
Well, thank you again!
Were these your favourite lords/stiv songs? Open Your Eyes and Method are outstanding.
These are definitely among the many Stiv tunes that are my favourites. Open Your Eyes was actually Poison Ideas choice to record. I knew I could sing the Dead Boys stuff but I was a little intimidated to record that one just because Stiv had done it so well. But it came out pretty cool. In hindsight, I wish I had done one of Stiv’s powerpop songs from his time with Bomp. He had so many great songs to choose from.
I would absolutely agree with that. I think one of the real problems is that the back catalogues of the Dead Boys and the Lords has never really been properly exploited and promoted. But believe me, there are plenty of Stiv fans out there. He’s well remembered… just not by the press.
Have you had the chance to see any of the Stiv movie that is being made what’s your take on what they’re doing? Are you in the film? In your opinion is his work underrated compared to some of his peers?
Moving onto your output you have such a large back catalogue have you tried to re-release any of the albums seeing as a lot of them are hard to find especially on record. What about a box set pulling together some of your favourite albums maybe bundled with unreleased material or alternative versions?
The Triple X Records stuff is up to them. Personally, I’d prefer if they didn’t. Maybe a Vol 2 to the Best Of album would be nice. But I’m happy with my little legacy in punk rock. I can pretty much do anything I want and I’ve got great fans and friends who will always support me. I’m really more concerned with my next project, not so much with what I’ve done in the past.
Haha, no, never! When I recorded those albums I was so intensely inside those songs and sessions that its weird to go back and listen to them years later. I pretty much only listen to then when someone asks me about some lyrics or some chord changes and I have to go back and listen to figure it out. Then its a trip. Almost like I never heard them before.
What in your opinion would be the go-to records for someone just finding out about your work?
The Triple X Best Of Vol 1 album is the place to start. It’s chronological and in the notes, I talk about each album. So if someone hears something they like from a specific album they can go hunt it down. And a warning, unless you are a complete maniac and half-nuts you might want to avoid Heart Full Of Snot. Its a bit abrasive for most people. One thing I do like about my back catalogue is that among my fans everyone seems to have a different favourite. I guess that means I did something right.
It amazes where my records have travelled to. All over the world and in some of the most unlikely places you might imagine. I had a fan in Antartica who brought some of my records down there.
What about the last album getting a vinyl press is it too late for that or would it be something you’d be interested in?
You mean Made In Hawaii? Yes.
Yeah, it’ll happen on vinyl. It’ll probably be a Europe only release. But CDs? No. We did just 300 copies on CD and that’s it. If you have one, its a collector’s item already. But you can buy it on download at all the usual places online.
Is there any new material written or in the can as they say? Just asking for a friend.
Funny your friend should ask, haha. Yeah, I’ll be recording a new album in December. I have to say, though the songs are all a lot more aggressive than Made In Hawaii, they are weirder and angry-ish. Fans of my punkier stuff should be well pleased. The Angry Samoan is angry again! Ha ha ha.
Of, fuck yes. I love working with other people. The problem is that, since I live in Hawaii it makes face-to-face collaborations almost impossible. But people I’d like to do something or other with, Deniz Tek is at the top of the list. And Dave Kusworth. We’d talked about it years ago but maybe now might be the time, while we’re both still breathing. My buddy from the Samoans, Gregg Turner, and I have talked about it too. That’s one I really feel the need to do. Who else? The Nomads, Richard Duguay, Andy McCoy and my dear old pal, Freddy Lynxx… And working with Demons would be great to do again with some newly co-written material. I could go on and on. But I would want any of this to be a real and true collaboration. Starting with sitting down and writing the songs together. Not an album of 5 Jeff songs and 5 songs with the other cat.
You played with some great bands who in your opinion were the ones who did it the best, not necessarily wrote the best song but were the best to go on tour with and who just got it and killed it every night?
Oh yes. I have most definitely. This list could go on for pages but I’ll list just a few bands that I’ve had the honour to share the stage with. UK Subs, Trash Brats, NCC, Los Guarriors, Buzzcocks, GG Allin and the Jabbers, Cosmic Psychos, Hell On Heels, Throbbing Gristle, Fear, Kevin K, Slash City Daggers, Slayer, Battalion Of Saints… really, this could go on and on and I’m sure I’m missing many, many of the best. I’ve played a few shows over the years, ya know?
This one might surprise people but the acoustic tour I did with Freddy Lynxx and Nikki Sudden. It was such a pleasure. We’d each play about 30 minutes solo then we’d play about 30 or 40 minutes more together. It was such fun and we pulled great crowds everywhere. Sadly, Nikki has passed on and Freddy is MIA but we had talked about doing it again.
Over to you Jeff, anything you want to say or we’ve missed?
I just want to thank all the people who have bought some of my records or paid to see me live or offered me friendship and encouragement over these many years. It means everything to me. I am so humbled and this bond we share can never be broken. Even on to the next world we’ll all be thinking, “What’s wrong with that guy’s hair?”