Ahh The Dwarves! I don’t suppose there is too much I can say about The Dwarves that hasn’t already been said and committed to legend during their near 30 year tenure as a band. Their subject matter is lurid, their performances are bedlam, and their attitude is one of the most pure and unadulterated in all of Punk Rock ever. Blood, Guts, and Pussy, folks. That pretty much says it all.
Singer Blag Dahlia and (of course) HeWhoCannotBeNamed have played with the Who’s Who of Punk elite, probably scaring the bejesus out of most of them and everybody else present in the process. Alongside a combination of appropriately named musicians like Rex Everything and Wholly Smokkes in tow, and more than 20 releases of various formats, lengths, and labels to their credit, there is no shortage of chaos in their repertoire, so I’d advise you to make a trip to see them whenever/wherever you can.
Supporting their 2014 7” “Trailer Trash,” on Recess Records, I spoke with Blag Dhalia at during their very brief string of dates with OFF! to talk about the run, what The Dwarves are up to for the rest of 2014, some choice road stories, and their colossal releases that could make GG Allin blush.
G- Blag! How’s everything going and thank you for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today! Killer set!
B- Well thank you very much. We had a lot of fun in Austin and you pretty much covered a lot about the band, but you forgot to mention that we’re also the best looking band in show business, too. So for all you ladies out there, don’t forget that side of it.
G- It’s true. They are a bunch of dapper fellows, particularly that HeWhoCannotBeNamed because he only wears the loincloth and face mask. So if you ever needed a reason, ladies, go to it!
B- He’s got that “Modern Primitive” quality that girls just go for.
G- All he needs is a big old bat to carry around like the cavemen in the good old days and I think he could pull it off pretty well.
So, you had one of the best microphone acrobatic stunts I’ve ever seen last night when you tossed the mic to the upper deck of Mohawk and gave some kid the joy of his life. Is that something you do pretty often? That was awesome!
B- Yeah I like to have other people sing because it feels so good to know I have rented a spot in their brain and they actually know the words to my songs. But yeah that was a pretty good one. I threw it up a whole flight and somebody caught it.
G- And you were alos on top of the crowd for a lot of the show, too, so I’m glad to see you’re still not afraid to get your hands dirty with all the grimey punkers in the crowd.
B- No that’s the fun of it… The Grime.
G- Love it!
So, this is a really short run of dates. I’m new to Texas from NY and I never thought I’d get a chance to see you guys, especially in a place like Mohawk.
B- They’re very similar, people from Texas and NY, because people from NY think that NY is the only place in the world, and people from Texas is the only place in the world. So they’re very similar that way.
G- Which do you prefer? You’ve been to both.
B- Listen, I LOVE NY. If I had my choice, I’d be living in NY and lording over everybody in my Park Avenue penthouse. You just can’t compare the two. Texas is just full of wonderful people and artists and culture there, and it’s just a great place, you know? It’s part of what makes America. I would never choose between NY and Texas. They both have a lot of cute women, too.
G- For sure.
B- NY you kind of go crazy because you’re just surrounded. It’s bedlam, you know?
G- And the weird thing about Texas is people smile around here. I’ve got to go to the orthodontist and see if he can remove this perma-frown face from NYC living and winters.
B- (laughs) That’s right.
G- So, let’s talk about “Trailer Trash.” It’s one of many many many. What do you think of the release now that it’s out, and how have the reception been to the songs and everything?
B- The reception… We just made a record call Dwarves Invented Rock and Roll, and that’s the LP. The single from it is “Trailer Trash,” and it’s a love song to a fallen angel of the underclass and what can I say… I’ve always loved the demented side of females. I don’t know if there is another side to them, and “Trailer Trash” is very appealing. It was written by our old bass player Salt Peter, and it was cool because he hasn’t been in the band in 20 years, but he said ‘I’ve got a song for you and you have to do this one,’ so you know, we pulled it out. You know The Dwarves are sort of the Wu Tang Clan of Punk Rock. Nobody every really leaves; They just come back in and do weird stuff.
G- (laughing) Right on. Now you mentioned the album, so tell us about the recording process for it. Where’d you do it, who recorded it, and how long did it take to get ready?
B- Well, we did the basics at my old friend Brandt Bjork’s house. Brandt was the drummer in Kyuss and we figured we’d go out to the desert there and do the basic tracks there, and then we went to my good friend Andy Carpenter and we started overdubbing in LA. I always get pretty fanatical on these records, maybe much moreso than I should at this point, but we spent the next year overdubbing and mixing it, and here it is. It’s coming out on Recess Records which is a really cool indie punk label out of San Pedro, California, and everybody seems really excited about it. It’s got that Dwarves quality that everybody like. It sounds like its fallen off the rails, and the guitar is cranked, but it’s sort of overproduced by me because I like to overproduce things, but that’s the beauty with The Dwarves. You get this really low brow aesthetic wrapped in this production, and the records always sound much better than when you see us live when we just let it all hang out. It’s more about the show when we’re live.
Lil note for you all: The Dwarves CRUSH it in concert.
G- Definitely. You guys were pretty active last night and the crowd was pretty active as well. You’ve been doing this for a long time, so what do you think the most difficult thing about being on stage every night is, man? What’s the tough part for you?
B- It’s fighting off all that pussy that I keep getting, man. That’s the tough part… I gotta beat ‘em off with a stick, literally. Then I’m accused of misogyny. Women are literally attacking me.
You know, The Dwarves are the only band that is still good that’s old. Some bands make one good record at the beginning of their career and then they just play off of that the rest of their pathetic lives and they get lamer and lamer. Only The Dwarves really bring the action, bring the noise, bring the sickness live, as well as making these cool groundbreaking records, you know. I love us!
G- I love you guys, too. But I’m not in the band, so I don’t like you for that part.
Since it’s a pretty pertinent part of our conversation, and in every man’s life anyway, give us your best Tour Lay story, sir.
B- Tour Lay story?! (laughs)
G- Yeah your best Tour Lay story. Why not? Maybe it was last night in Austin, Texas?
B- (laughs) Well, you never forget your first. I remember back in the 80’s when we went to play a show, I think we were in Phoenix, and I’m just sitting there talking to this girl all night and I’m like ‘Wow she’s pretty cute,’ and I go back in the van and she comes scampering out and says ‘Hey, do you want to go to my house?’ I’m like ‘Me?’ Like ‘Are you talking to Mick Jagger or something? This doesn’t happen to people.’ And before you know it, you’re fucking somebody because you’re in a Rock and Roll band. It’s wonderful. That’s why we got into it in the first place.
G- I think that’s why every guy gets into it.
B- Exactly, yeah. Unless you’re gay, in which case you’re getting into it to fuck guys, and that’s fine too if that’s your bag. That leaves more for me.
G- Punk Rock is equal opportunity. Everybody is trying to get it on in some way shape or form, so as long as it’s not criminal or anything.
B- Even if it is criminal. Whatever it is, I’ll do it.
G- Yeah but then you’re going to have Chris Hansen all like ‘Why don’t you come over here and have a seat. Why don’t you sit down.’
G- Ok so we got that one out of the way. The Dwarves are notorious hard rockers, hard partying guys. I want to know what your best tour hospitalization story is as a member of The Dwarves.
B- Oh man. Well, I got stabbed in Canada. I don’t know if these are the best stories. (laughs) You know, this guy was doing that thing where you just sit there drunk. They just sit there in fron of the stage and give you the finger, drunk. You’re playing music and it’s fine for a little while. But this dude just stood there for 10 minutes giving me the finger. Finally, I just took my microphone and went ‘BAMM!’ I hit the beer bottle out of his hand and it must’ve just ripped his hand because he let out a scream and just ran to the stage. He was gonna trip right before he got to me, but he just leveled me with this shrapnel of glass and left a gash in my throat. It must have been a half inch from my jugular vein… I was just bleeding out.
So, we end up finishing the show, but I went to the hospital. Fortunately it was Canada, so it was free (laughing.)
G- Nice. Try doing that here.
B- Exactly. I’d still be paying for it.
So, you’ve been interviewed a lot and have done a lot of them over a long period of time, so I figured I’d ask what is one question that you’ve never been asked, that you’d like to be asked, that you can answer right now?
B- Well, that would be ‘What is it like to be the genius of Modern Music,’ because we’re an amazing band. I think I should’ve been more well compensated financially for the level of genius that I have. So, I’m really glad you asked me that because it’s a tough burden that I have to bare, when other bands suck and mine is so much better, and I guess that’d be about it.
I’d just say to you other bands out there: Just stop it. You’re not fooling anyone. Just give it up. That would be my take on it.
G- Hmm, well you seem to have some really stiff competition with one Kanye West. Could this be the start of a physical challenge against Kanye for Ruler of The World, because I’m on your side with this one.
B- (laughing) Oh man, I don’t think there’d be much contest there physically, but I liked “Gold Digger.” He’s vastly overrated in my view. He’s not my favorite rapper. Hip Hop has sort of a Golden period. Mid 80’s great stuff, late 80’s great stuff, early and mid 90’s great stuff, late 90’s great stuff, and then it just really fizzled. Hip Hop is just not terribly great anymore. The same thing happened to Rock and Roll a long time ago. RnR has just gotten lamer and lamer.
But Hip Hop is like… Drake?! I don’t know. He almost makes Kanye look good because he’s so bad.
G- Yeah. A Canadian rapper who all the “gangstas” love, but he’s softer than a piece of angel food cake. That’s great.
G- But that brings up another good question: Who is your favorite rapper, now or then?
B- I’ve got an unlikely favorite. For the old school guys, it’s always been Slick Rick for me. And of course, there are a handful of guys that are just geniuses, like Snoop and Dre, the greatest producer ever. There’s just so many great rappers.
But if I had to pick just one who is just criminally underrated and the strongest verse rapper of all time, it’d have to be Inspectah Deck from Wu Tang Clan. Every time he comes in with a rap, it’s brilliant. And he so underrated. There are so many great rapper in that posse and they’ve gotten a lot of credit, and I think Inspectah Deck is worth a lot more looks.
G- Wow alright! We’re really scratching the surface here. But I kinda have a problem with this because we’re talking about all this other shit and should be talking about The Dwarves.
So now, do you have a personal favorite song off of any Dwarves release, or if you could only give one song to somebody who’d never heard the band before, to try and make a new fan and/or scare a parent, what would you give them?
B- Probably “We Must Have Blood.” It’s a real strong beat you over the head song, but with a chorus that you can’t forget. And it’s got nice pop song structure and a little pre-chorus deal. I like that one a lot.
Another poppier one would be “Everybody’s Girl.” A great Pop Punk song by The Dwarves is “Everybody’s Girl,” and just a great all-around Dwarves song is “We Must Have Blood.” I’d go with those. Those are a couple of my favs.
But on this new record, I’m really partial to “Trailer Trash, “ which I think is a great Pop-Punky Doo Woop kinda song, and there’s another one on there called “General Blag” which is extremely hard, swaggering kind of tune that I thought was a good encapsulation of my personality.
And there’s another good one on there called “Sluts Of The USA” which is just a celebration of the wonderful women that I’ve known.
G- (laughing) Alright!
B- The Dwarves are a feminist band. We represent that feminist aesthetic, so to get to celebrate the wonderfulness of womenhood is important to me.
G- And everyone can go check out “Trailer Trash” right HERE at this link, so go check that out. All you have to do is click the link… It takes 2 seconds. Thanks for that New Noise Mag.
And the last question I want to ask is you’ve been doing this a long time, and a lot of kids want to do this and go on the road, so aside from not getting stabbed in Canada and stuff like that, what advice could you give some of these kids, a bunch of who were carrying skateboards at the show and knew every word?
B- I would tell them to give it up. Don’t bother. You’ll never be as good as me. Get a job selling shoes.
G- And with that, I think we’ve done one of “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” interviews. We got a lot accomplished there, man, so I want to say again thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today. Hopefully the tour goes off as hard as it did the other night! Can’t wait to see you guys again and travel safe, play hard, and LONG LIVE THE DWARVES!
B- Right on man. Tell the fans they can hit us at WWW.THEDWARVES.COM
G- Done and done!