You know the Dwarves invented Rock n Roll? Well thats what there 2014 LP is titled, why would they lie. For over 30 years the Dwarves ave kept the good fight going for dirty outta control garage/punk. Lead by merry mad man Blag Dahlia, the band return to Oz for the first time since 2014 to play Cheery Rock Sunday May7 and The Curtin On Friday May 5. I spoke to Blag in a quite alleyway in the city while he was in the States.
Blag: Im in Denver all the way from Colorado
Munster: Is that the homebase.
Blag: No im from San Francisco, the band is in LA so I spend a lot of time down there. Im out here on a pleasure trip seeing the family doing some regular human being stuff.
Munster: Must be a nice change of pace from the rock n roll lifestyle.
Blag: Well absolutely, you know you just can/t keep constantly committing acts of sex and violence and drug abuse. Sometimes you need a slice of mums apple pie. Whats the mum dish in Australia like a kangaroo pie? I don’t know you tell me.
Munster: Well we ave meat pies here, no idea whats in em, but I guess apple pie is like a desert so maybe a Pavlova?
Blag, perfect i/ll take both i/ll sit down with ya mum and ave a meat pie when I get there.
Munster: ill drive you to Dingley. So the upcoming tour is this tour four or five for the Dwarves?
Blag: Its our fourth tour and I also did a solo thing once, I like to do them once in a while as long as the audience can speck some kind of English, and they usually do in Australia so it usually goes over pretty well.
Munster: well I remember when you were down here in 2014 you did a solo gig at the Old Bar then two days later played with the band at the Evelyn
Blag: Yeah I loved that. That was really fun, the Old Bar is a cool spot and I like doing the acoustic stuff because its a lot different ,when you see a Dwarves show we don/t usually say anything we just power through it and its gets wild and chaotic and thats the usually Dwarfs thing, with the acoustic stuff is kind of the opposite we talk a lot of shit and ave some fun singing some harmonies you can actually hear.
Munster: Ive seen the Dwarves twice and your gig set up Is like the perfect structure for a band I can think of. Last time I saw you played just under an hour little talking the band never stopped and you played pretty much everything I expected and no encore as the job was done
Blag: Yeah I always hated encores who are you fooling whats the point? Just play your shit. Also bands talk a lot more and there pacing is differeent we try and knock it down put a lot of energy in a small amount of time?
Munster: Is HeWhoCannotBeNamed coming this time?
Blag: well you never know thats the thing he is a very mysterious character his appearance is unknown to me. He occasionally reveals himself to me. Hes like Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons you know, how an angel would appear to him sometimes. Thats the thing we ave, he was with us in New York then he wasn/t with us in New Jersey, he will be with us in Austin then he won/t be with us in Dallas and I wander whats up with him. He might appear in Geelong but then he won/t be in Perth, hes a kook so you never know with that guy.
Munster: Im in an ally way right now so theres a chance I might see him on the way back to work?
Blag: he might be there, he could be eavesdropping on our conversation, I heard a rumour that hes part of national security administration so he could be listening in as we speak.
Munster: I loved your last LP The Dwarves Invented Rock n Roll can you tell us the making of that?
Blag: I loved making that record it was a lot of fun. I ave an old friend Brant Bjork from Kyuss who has his own studio in the desert and we did the basic tracks then went back to Orange County and did the overdubs and it was a real Frankenstein record it started in one place and ended in some place reallyl different but it was a great time. The newest batch of stuff that we recorded, but it won/t be out til next year was the easiest LP we ever made it all just came together, it was the first easy record I can remember in a long time. The title is called the Dwarves Take Back the Night. It won/t be out when we/re in Australia but we/ll be doing plenty of songs from that album when we come down. Its cool when you see an old band with new tunes I think there is something for everybody. Sometime you get bands where they just want the old stuff not the new stuff but our new stuff gels well with the set. We/ve had so many records we just play a few songs from every LP and everyones pretty happy. Im really looking forward to it, Australias one of my favourite places to go I love playing there, its like old America, we/re people like each other, the crowds are good and its fun.
Munster: Ive never heard a nicer description ive ever heard of this country
Munster: You guys ave always been playing punk and garage rock but it seems the record ave become more pop punk as time goes on is that intentional?
Blag: I don/t know I would push back on that, for the last 20 years, since (The Dwarves are) Young and good looking we/ve prided ourselves putting hardcore stuff next to poppy stuff. You can always look at a record, most bands start off with a loud hard sound then they get poppier with each record trying to get a record deal or hoping things will go better and more people will like them. With the Dwarves it is really different every album, it has a bunch of extreme nasty punk songs but then they ave some poppy stuff next to it, so its a more eclectic record all round, on the last record we did a song called Bleed all Right you got Nick Oliveri screaming about murder and mayhem and then we sample this surfer guy who was in the Bail bombing screaming about seeing all the torn corpses so theres nothing really poppy about that. Then the next song is Trailer Trash which is a cute pop song about dirty girls living in trailers. The records really run the gamut, if you think somethings too poppy just wait a minute and the next one won/t be if you think somethings too hardcore and will hurt your ears just wait a minute and it will go back to pop.
Munster: You mentined how the Dwarves shows are chaotic and Maximum Rock n Roll gave you guys massive coverage in the late 80s early 90s saying your shows where outta control, where they that over the top?
Blag: absolutely they ddin/t go far enough, we were chaotic as fuck. But we still are, and chaotic still follows us around. Just when we do a few shows when nothing happens something insane happens. Its like this band really feeds off the energy of the audience, we work they crowd and feed off them, but we ave a great crowd, happens all the time.
Munster:back in the 2000s the so called Garage revival happened, do you feel cheated as you/ve been making garage rock since the 80s?
Blag: One hall mark of the Dwarves was we were in the wrong place at the right time. We made 60s garage records in the mid 80s when no one was paying attention, then in the 90s we made hardcore records when no one cared, then we started making really amazing produced records and everyone turned around and said “hey garage rock”. Ive always loved American garage rock from the 60s that’s what inspired me to start playing and was my introduction to rock n roll, and punk as well because it offered a more liberating place.
Munster: I was listening to an interview you did with Dexter from the Offspring and you mentioned you work as a producer, I know you do all the Dwarves stuff but do you do any other production stuff these days?.
Blag: I don/t do much production work anymore, on top of doing the Dwarves, playing recording and touring I don/t really ave much time.But i do a lot of writing, i love writing songs its a joy of mine so i do a bit of that when im not working on the Dwarves but if a production gig comes up i/ll consider it.
Munster: Well one of the songs you wrote was Do the Sponge for SpongeBob Squarepants.
Blag: yeah and that was in the first season of SpongeBob so there was nothing before that. It was written by the original Dwarves bass player. Its kind of what we/re best known for (laughs)
Munster: How did you become to sign with Fat Wreck Chords?
Blag: im been buddys with Fat Mike for a few decades, there a great bunch of people, we just do the odd 7 inch for them. I think its a deal where they like me more than the Dwarves.
Munster: Ive seen recently you/ve done a few joint headline shows with the Queers and the Vandals thats pretty cool these bands that could easily pack a place themselves do a joint tour.
Blag: everybody can do their own tour but its a matter of do you wanna pack the place and ave a great time, The Vandals and the Queers both ave big catalogues of greats songs and thats what im interested in. Id rather shear the night and shear the glory. We don/t drone on forever, some bands want to drone on and play all night and not let anyone ave the spotlight. Id rather do a great show then see your great show.
Munster: whats on for the rest of year
Blag: we/re doing a tour with Richie Ramones then an east coast tour which will end at punk rock bowling, im pushing 80 years old now so its a bit odd being on the road this long.
Munster: I/ll wait and see if HeWhoCannotBeNamed will be there but is Rex Everything (Nick Oliveri) coming?
Blag: yeah hes coming and we/re gonna make it happen and thanks to Australian immigration for letting Nick in
Munster: Blag thanks for your time and will ave a meat pie by on standby
Blag: You got it and tell everyone to go to the Dwarves.com
Dwarves play Cheery Rock Sunday 7 May
John Curtin Hotel Friday 5 May