Dwarves are one of the few punk bands that span time, genre and good taste with veritable ease. Blag Dahlia fronts the seminal punk rock band who are celebrating 25 years together in 2011, an achievement most modern day marriages won’t be able to hold a candle to. As part of the event, the band released “Dwarves Are Born Again” in May of this year which was the long awaited follow-up to their 2004 release “Dwarves Must Die.”
We sent a few questions to Blag who answered them in true Dwarves style. We talked about the longevity of the band, “Dwarves Are Born Again,” boring young bands, being the band that says what everyone is thinking and how they have “made the best records in punk.” They even teach us a thing or two. Check out the full interview here.
Dwarves are born again…Did you ever feel like you were dead?
Every time we were in Philadelphia.
Everyone I talk to that has listened to “Dwarves Are Born Again” simply state that it is “classic Dwarves.” Can you tell me about how this album came together and the long break between this album and “Dwarves Must Die.”
Dwarves Must Die got so eclectic it made some long time Dwarves fans furious. Not just punk, hardcore and pop, but garage, noise, even hip/hop (which really pissed everyone off!) “Dwarves Are Born Again” has more straight up punk songs for our fans and louder guitar, but still gets into all kinds of weird styles and production tricks. And it comes with a free DVD so you can see us when we were young, cute and really untalented! Something for everybody- your little sister to your grandma can play with themselves unashamed.
The world is usually about 5 years behind whatever the new Dwarves record is, but this time we seem to be in the right place, right time. The question is: what will we do to fuck it up this time?
You recently attended Punk Rock Bowling. How did Dwarves put their stamp on the 2011 event?
We didn’t get to bowl this year because we were on tour, we just showed up in time to rock. My favourite part was when this 12 year old kid came up and sang a bunch of songs while I crowd surfed. I’m strongly considering replacing myself with him now!
Then HeWhoCanNotBeNamed showed up fresh from rehab to surprise us onstage. He looks good again!
Dwarves are 25 years young in 2011. This is a major milestone for many bands. What do you attribute to the longevity of Dwarves?
We always knew who we were and always tried to get better within that framework. We tried to put on a wilder show, make a cooler, better sounding album, do an interesting album cover. It was never about managers, handlers, lawyers and record deals which is what destroys most bands. Also there was a lot of cocaine and underage girls, which makes the general tedium of Rock easier to swallow. (Speaking of easier to swallow- yer mom!)
Dwarves could hold a punk-rock master class. In a fictional world where this happened, what bands would you invite to be educated by you?
Young bands are boring. I keep waiting to be blown away by our openers; we’re so old it should be easy. They just stand their and text their girlfriends onstage. We could educate a lot of bands, but we had pretty good teachers, too, like:
Misfits, Black Flag, Ramones, Cramps, Dead Boys, Butthole Surfers, 13th Floor Elevators, Seeds, Chocolate Watchband, Eddie Cochrane, Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, the Kinks, Link Wray, Mystikal, Big Lurch, the Boswell Sisters, Son House, Little Junior Parker, Cab Calloway, Hasil Adkins, NWA, Geto Boys, Amy Winehouse, George Jones, Lily Allen and Jesus H.Christ!
If the Dwarves are the very best looking band in show business, what band would come in 2nd to you stallions and why?
Any one from Sweden. They’re just better looking than ordinary people and we strive to pollute their gene pool.
Dwarves have been targeted as a result of outrage over your lyrics and boner-driven message. Can you describe what that is like for you? (Are Dwarves meant to be taken that seriously?)
Like life, the Dwarves should always be fun, but you have to take it seriously if you want to get anything out of it. What outrages people about our lyrics is that they appear simple, but they express what ones mind actually thinks about most of the time. Fuck Eat and Fuck You Up. Fuck You Up And Get High. Better Be Women. Wish That I Was Dead.
Other bands get mad because they have to sugar coat it for their wives and girlfriends. We say what other bands wish they had the nuts to say, but don’t dare.
The imagery used by Dwarves has never lacked controversy. How do you maintain this in a world which is becoming more and more desensitized to itself?
We become less shocking all the time because of all the faux shocking stuff on the internet, but I welcome that. If you listen to it as music it holds up better than most of what is out there, especially in punk. Everyone said Ramones and Sex Pistols weren’t about music it was all attitude. It turned out to be music though didn’t it? Dwarves make the best records in punk and have since we started. Nudity on the album covers make folks think it’s not serious, but Michelangelo didn’t sculpt women with pants on, did he?
The Dwarves entity has never had a problem spanning several genres in one album. Is this something you set out to do when writing an album or a result of something else?
We set out to do it. Listening to 20 punk jams in a row is boring. No one listens that way any more, so why make an album like that? We pride ourselves on doing really good versions of whatever genre we hit- surf, garage, punk, pop, noise, death metal, whatever feels good. Even that corny nu-metal shite from 10 years ago!
Can you tell us a little bit of how you achieve this with what seems like ease?
We produce records the old fashioned way. We figure out the tempo, the groove, the key and then we rehearse it with whichever of the dozen Dwarves guys play that style best. Then we track it to tape and with cool outboard gear and mix it as old school as money will permit. You just have to love music and not answer to any outside forces. You can still make great records, it’s just complicated and most folks don’t know how to do it, especially changing genres every couple of minutes!
We’ve got ‘25 Things You Didn’t Know About Dwarves’ and you’ve got 25 years of experience behind you; what are three things that the Dwarves know about punk rock?
- Punk girls tend to be ugly, so tell the good looking ones you make dance tracks.
- Always get paid before you play.
What is next for you guys? Will you ever grow old or are the Dwarves really the gatekeepers to the fountain of youth?
I can’t speak for my prostate, but the rest of me feels pretty damn good! The Dwarves are the Wu-Tang Clan of punk rock. So many members our collective age is 1,024. We just keep on making records for ourselves and enjoying the ride. One day it will kill us, but who cares? One day you’ll be dead, too kids!
Check the website for free songs and videos and dirty pictures. We are the greatest rock n roll band of all time! UK dates scheduled for November!