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Interview With Blag Dahlia

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 9, 2019 07:30pm | Post a Comment

Blag DahliaBy Jon Longhi

The Dwarves have been slicing a deep wound in the cultural landscape since the eighties. Their live shows are notorious for violence, on-stage sex, self-mutilation, drug taking, and other forms of disreputable behavior. Many of their shows have lasted less than fifteen minutes thanks to physical injuries caused by audience members. They're never boring, that's for sure. Their albums are the sonic equivalent of their live shows and feature songs so tasteless and politically incorrect that there's something in them to offend almost anyone, and that's kind of the point. The band wholeheartedly embraces their "turd in the punch bowl of punk" legacy. Albums like Blood, Guts, And Pussy are some of the most definitive statements in the history of the entire punk movement. They've been around for 35 years and have never taken any prisoners. You can see a hilarious history of everything they've done at their website: www.thedwarves.com. This July, they're one of the headliners at the Burger Boogaloo festival in Oakland. I recently caught up with lead singer and founding member, Blag Dahlia, and got to ask him some questions about the Burger Boogaloo show and the history of the band. (More on Burger Boogaloo HERE!)

Amoeba: How long have the Dwarves been together?

Blag: We started in 1983 in Illinois when we were in high school. We're like the Wu-Tang Clan of punk; we never really lose any members, but we just keep adding people. The original guys were me, HEWHOCANNOTBENAMED, and SALTPETER, and they'll all be at the Burger Boogaloo along with all the new legends: Nick Oliveri, The Fresh Prince Of Darkness, and Hunter Down.

Burger Boogaloo 2019Amoeba: How did the band start?

Blag: We started as a sixties garage band cover band, so by performing at Burger Boogaloo we've really come full circle. But we started out playing songs by the 13th Floor Elevators, The Chocolate Watch Band, and The Seeds. We always had the spirit of the sixties bands but we were as nasty as the eighties punks.

Amoeba: Do you ever still do stuff in that sixties garage band style?

Blag: We keep elements of it. Like we've used Farfisa organ on the last couple albums, but we're really a punk band.

Amoeba: What was your wildest show/tour story?

Blag: I would separate it into three categories: sex, drugs, violence. The Dwarves are the only band that has been attacked, ODed, and fellated at various times on stage.

Amoeba: Who ODed?

Blag: It wasn't me. But we've had people do too much speed or nod out on stage.

Amoeba: Did the act of being fellated interrupt the show?

Blag: It cost me a girlfriend.

DwarvesAmoeba: What new vinyl or CD releases do you have coming out?

Blag: Take Back The Night is our newest album. It's on Burger [Records]. We've also got a new ep coming out on Riot Style records called The Dwarves Are Hard A.F.

Amoeba: Is this the first time you've played Burger Boogaloo?

Blag: No, we played in 2015 and it was, of course, thrilling to be introduced by John Waters, who is truly the scum king.

Amoeba: Why did you drop out of last year's Burger Boogaloo?

Blag: HEWHOCANNOTBENAMED was committed to a mental institution.

Amoeba: So, you're touring Europe this summer. What are the highlights of the summer tour?

Blag: Hellfest in France is a great heavy metal festival and Rebellion in England is a great street punk festival.

Amoeba: You recently played with the Dead Kennedys in Vegas. How was that?

Blag: That was a lot of fun. It pissed Jello [Biafra] off, but that might have made it even more fun.

Amoeba: What's your favorite Dwarves album?

Blag: I have three for various reasons. Blood, Guts, and Pussy was the ultimate punk rock record, hands down, just nasty, short, fast. The Dwarves Are Young And Good Looking, that was when people started to see us as a pop punk band. That has the catchy songs. And then there's The Dwarves Must Die and that was our eclectic genre hopping production album. Every single style is on there.

Amoeba: You've put out some pretty tasteless and offensive albums. What do you think is the most tasteless and offensive album you've put out?

Blag: That's a pretty good question because things are tasteless for different reasons. I think the song Blag Dahlia"River City Rapist" is so nasty it makes even me uncomfortable. There's no specific album; there are just a lot of songs scattered around that make my skin crawl.

Amoeba: Who came up with the skull and boners logo?

Blag: An artist from Illinois named Jon Straus. He's SALTPETER's brother. He came up with it in 1988. That's one of our oldest logos.

Amoeba: What are your favorite bands you've ever performed with?

Blag: The Cramps, Urge Overkill, L7, Green Day, The Offspring, just to name a few.

Amoeba: I heard you played with Nirvana?

Blag: Not only did we play with Nirvana, we played with them in Seattle, which is kind of like playing with Moses in the Sinai. Our bass player took a bottle to the head and had to be rushed to the hospital, and then I spent the rest of the night fighting with the Melvins over money.

Amoeba: You're an author as well, what are the names of your books and what's the new one you're working on about?

Blag: My first book was called Armed To The Teeth With Lipstick. That one was more experimental. Then I wrote Nina, which was more minimal and dirty, like my music style. I'm almost done with the follow-up to Nina, which is called Highland Falls. It's the story of a teenaged girl who doesn't really act like a teenage girl, but we can always hope.

Amoeba: What's your favorite place you've ever been on tour?

Blag: Last year we got to go to South America for the first time and they really do have the best cocaine on the planet. We tend to judge a place depending on the love we get there. We tend to be a big city band so we get a lot of love in London, New York, LA, and of course in San Francisco.

Amoeba: Can you describe the history of the BLAGLIVESMATTER movement?

Blag: The purpose was to let people know that the Dwarves are people too and we have feelings.

Amoeba: Your website says you can buy pubic hair and colostomy bags in the Merch section, but I didn't see any. How can I get my Dwarves pubes and colostomy bag?

Blag: We leave HEWHOCANNOTBENAMED in charge of the more abstract Merch options.

Amoeba: Did you actually do a charity event with Bono?

Blag: I've done a lot of work with unwed mothers and I'm hoping to do more.

Amoeba: Have you ever thought about going into politics?

Blag: Yes, absolutely. I want to be the Absolute Dictator of the United States of America. We desperately need one.

Amoeba: What advice do you have for young people?

Blag: Avoid the music business.

Amoeba: What is your most kid-friendly song?

Blag: I sang a song called "Do The Sponge" on the first season of SpongeBob SquarePants. I also did an album called Candy Now! with the singer and guitar player from the East Bay band Persephone's Bees and that's suitable for kids (for the most part).

Relevant Tags

Dwarves (5), Jon Longhi (26), Blag Dahlia (1), Burger Boogaloo (14), Punk (68), Hewhocannotbenamed (1), Saltpeter (1), Nick Oliveri (1), The Fresh Prince Of Darkness (1), Hunter Down (1), Burger Records (8), Dead Kennedys (9), Jello Biafra (12), Nirvana (35), Spongebob Squarepants (1), Persephone's Bees (1)