EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Blag Dahlia from the Dwarves

Photo: John Gilhooley

LOS ANGELES, July 30, 2014 — The Dwarves is punk band that has always been about having a good time. There lyrics are often about blood, sex and drugs, while the music often travels through the many variations of the punk rock spectrum. They clearly play and say exactly what they want. On August 19, the Dwarves will release their 15th studio record, The Dwarves Invented Rock ‘n Roll, on Recess Records. Recently, the Dwarves lead singer, Blag Dahlia, took some time to speak with Wells on Music regarding the new album.

Scroll below the video to read the interview.

Kevin Wells: Are The Dwarves still young and good looking?


Blag Dahlia: Oh, yeah, man. We’re even younger and better looking than before.

KW: By all accounts you seem to be an excellent force behind the board in the studio. Do you have a preference in regard to writing, recording, and performing live?

BD: All three of those things are fun in their own way. I would say writing it is the best because when you write it, it’s only yours. Nobody else knows about it yet. You know what I mean? Everybody has to wait. Performing it, of course, is a great feeling and you get to bring all your friends in on it. Recording is probably the most tedious part, but that’s what you actually get to listen to when it’s all over, so.

KW: How does the writing process work for the Dwarves?

DB: Well, every record’s a little different. There’s some records where I took a lot more active hand in sort of writing a lot of stuff and then bringing in the guys, but on this record, it was like all of the guys had a song or two before I even got started and I was like, “S**t, I don’t even have anything written here.” So, I was a little bit behind on this one. I was glad. One kind of cool thing about the Dwarves is that I’ve always had these really good songwriters in the band. So, I was able to get a song out of The Fresh Prince of Darkness, a song out of Chip Fracture, Rex Everything, HeWhoCannotBeNamed. Everybody came up with something good, you know? Then I had to weigh in with my contributions to this one. I had a song called Gentleman Blag that I wrote with Josh Freese, which was kind of neat; a punk song in flat four time. That’s kind of a rarity. I wrote some stuff, Sluts of the USA, classic Dwarves bubblegum kind of s**t. So, yeah, this one was kind of all over the map in terms of songwriting.

KW: What is the deal with HeWhoCannotBeNamed? I heard he was in Vegas, but not the recent L.A. shows. Is he on the record?

DB: Oh, yeah, he’s all over the record. HeWhoCannotBeNamed is kind of, you know, he’s sort of evaporated into an almost mythical creature now. You know what I mean? You never know where he’s gonna show up or what he’s gonna do. You can’t tell if he’s gonna bring a song, if he’s gonna play guitar, if he’s gonna play keyboards, you know, he’s just a very confusing guy. He’s been confusing for many years, but now he’s entered a whole altered state of consciousness.

KW: How often does he play live with you guys?

DB: Ummm, you know he played with us in San Francisco just last week and he played with us in Vegas. You never know what he’s gonna do. Sometimes we’ll go to foreign countries and he will just show up at one of ‘em. He’s just an odd character. I used to ask him which shows he was gonna be at and where he was gonna be, but it’s just pointless, you know? You just kind of have to go with it when he shows up. He has really become this enigmatic creature.

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KW: What’s the craziest thing that has happened at your live shows?

DB: Oh, man, there’s so many. I got my d**k sucked on stage just days ago. [laughs]

KW: Wow!

DB: Which started making its way around the internet. I don’t know, some of these things are more embarrassing and weird than others, you know? But something like that isn’t really a sex act. It’s more an act of love from the audience, you know? Kind of a weird thing.

KW: Do you feel as though the future and sustainability of rock n roll is in the hands of the Dwarves?

DB: Well, yeah, rock n roll is dead and we were the inventors of the form. So, you know, if you look at it that way, I think it’s pretty reasonable to say, but there’s just nothing left but us.

KW: Do you ever see yourself slowing down? Perhaps a record in the future called, “The Dwarves are sober and not fun anymore?”

DB: [laughs] I don’t think that will ever happen, but you never know. Even when I think we’re slowing down, we’re still a lot faster than everyone else. This is still the band that plays at 350 beats a minute. It’s still a band that just blows minds daily. This new record is full of interesting material. I don’t know. I don’t worry about it. I used to think some young band was gonna come along and be better than us, but it just never seems to happen.

KW: Which label will be releasing this album?

DB: It’s coming out on Recess Records. The Dwarves have an imprint called Greedy that does our own records and then Recess is the label run by the guys from F.Y.P. and Toys That Kill. He’s been a friend of mine for years and so he puts out the vinyl versions. I get some help from other labels, NVD and Burger, and different people put out CDs and stuff. Fat Wreck Chords is gonna put out a single for this one. So, there’s sort of a few different avenues on this record.

KW: What is the single going to be?

DB: The Fat single is gonna be Gentleman Blag. The Burger single is Sluts of the USA. The single that Recess put out, the first one that’s actually out now, is called Trailer Trash, which was cool because that brought back our old bass player, Salt Peter, from the earliest days of the Dwarves and he actually wrote that one. A lot of interesting songs floating around.


KW: Will you be heading to any places you have never played while touring on this record?

DB: Well, we’re going to Australia and we have been there. The only places we haven’t really been are in South America and Central America, Puerto Rico and those kind of places. We’d love to go there. We get interest from there all the time. It’s just hard to make the expenses work. We’re hoping to get to South America on this record.

KW: Is there anything else you would like people to know either about you or anything you are working on?

DB: You know, the Dwarves are rock legends and it’s about time for motherf**kers to recognize. We’re going to Texas next week. We’re gonna play with OFF! and the Riverboat Gamblers. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. We’re going to Australia in October and we’re probably going to be seeing you on the East Coast and Midwest this year. If people just check out thedwarves.com, they can see all the dirty stuff, new record, Trailer Trash, The Dwarves Invented Rock and Roll 12”, all sorts of neat stuff. Don’t forget us. We’re still the best looking band in show business.

Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

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