DANA's tour kicks off with a home-opener tonight. I was able to get some thoughts from front woman Madeline Jackson and drummer-cum-guitarist Chris Lute via the internet this week in advance of the tour. Before I forget, they're touring on their new LP on Heel Turn Records. It's a ripper, so get it.
WFBR: You just wrapped up a mini-tour with Craig Bell. How was that, and what did it mean to you to have that connection with a previous generation’s Ohio music icon?
Madeline Jackson: Working with Craig was excellent. Obviously we draw heavy from that era, and we hope to count ourselves amongst other Ohio freak exports like DEVO, Brainiac, etc. In fact, in our first meeting we were covering Pere Ubu’s Street Waves at the Used Kids’ 30th Anniversary Party and Craig took video on his phone and said “I’m gonna show that to Dave (Thomas), I think he’ll get a kick out of it”. (Breakfast editor's note - holy shit!)
Chris Lute: It feels really good to be acknowledged by someone so prolifically cool, and to have that develop into friendship and touring the way it has. Like Madeline said, our fist encounter was at the Used Kids 30th Anniversary show. After Craig came up and told us he filmed our cover of “Street Waves” and sent it to “David” (Thomas), I was over-joyed and freaked out all at once. The mini-tour was great. Craig is full of great songs and stories and we look forward to doing more shows with him in the future.
Tell us a little bit about how and why (and when exactly) you formed, and about the recent lineup changes
MJ: We formed about 2 1/2 years ago, I was a fairly recent Columbus transplant and I was on a good manic wave when I texted Bobb Hatt in the parking lot of a CVS waiting on my birth control inquiring if he knew anybody that would be interested in forming what I then referred to as a "psychedelic lounge act”. He enlisted dynamo Andy Morehart to play drums, we start messing around, first with a reluctant bass player, eventually playing a show as a three piece and catching the eye of Albert Gray. We all clicked into gear pretty easily. When it came time to tour Chris (Lute) was brought on to sub for Andy. Andy would return briefly, co-authoring much of the new record, but Chris would go on as our drummer for most of the last year. In the wake of the the album’s release and with it more and more attention, Bobb decided to step away, so we’ve switched it up again this time with Chris on guitar, Val Glenn on bass, and Courtney Hall on drums.
CL: Bobb, Andy, and I went to the same high school. They are slightly older than me so I’ve always been inspired by them and trying to keep up musically. Filling in for them has been both exciting and terrifying. In general, the membership of this band are some of my all time favorite people and musicians to work with, and it’s been really nice to have a project to get involved with since moving to Columbus in July 2016. This band has always felt like a weird mutant super group of great people/musicians from different parts of my life and I am happy to be involved in whatever capacity. Particularly enjoying being involved on the more melodic, song writing side as of now though and excited for a second record.
WFBR: You’re about to go on tour - what are you looking forward to?
MJ: I booked this one by myself, for good or ill, and I’m very excited to see it come to a head. Lots of work when into it, for me personally, but more so in regard to the line up change. There’s a lot of nuance to our music and learning the set, plus all of our little eccentricities is no easy feet, so hats off to Chris, Val, and Courtney. Together we’ve come up with a sound that’s familiar but fresh and I’m really energized by that. Plus, this is the first time I’ve toured with another femme let alone two other women, so that’s something for sure.
CL: Looking forward to micro-dosing psilocybin & macro-dosing burrito bowls. Looking forward to seeing a lot of old faces and coming through with some new exciting stuff and having actual records. Looking forward to slapping DANA stickers all over the Midwest like a 13 year old. We have tons of homies in Cleveland who always come out and we’re playing with Ma Halos (one of my all time Ohio favorites) & Shagg (new favorite/major partners in crime/fall tour in the works). I’m jealous of Cleveland’s punk/rock & roll scene and Friday is about to be a prime example of why. Couldn’t be more excited about Chicago - our good friend Ashleigh Dye hooked us up with No Men, who we feel is one of the more appropriate bands we’ve been paired with in quite some time (more shows already in the works). Not to mention PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE SYNDICATE will be joining us. Can’t wait to see the Dark Circles Records crew as well. Other highlights include sharing the stage with our garage punk hero Alicja Trout (Lost Sounds) in Memphis, and finally getting to check out Matt Stuttler’s new spot The Sinkhole in St. Louis.
WFBR: The music can be hard to pin down in words. What does the music of DANA evoke for you?
CL: I love DANA because it’s very open ended and draws from a lot of my favorite weirdo genres including psychedelic rock, space rock, and noise, but still has the accessibility of a pop/alt rock band and the raw power (I said it) of a punk band. The fact that over the years we’ve been able to cover/draw inspiration from bands as diverse as Brainiac, Hawkwind, Bauhaus, Black Flag, and The Gun Club and have it all feel cohesive really sums it all up for me. In my opinion, a lot of artists/bands seem to pigeon-hole themselves by going for a certain sound, or trying to fit into a certain niche to be more marketable or satisfy their self-image or something. I don’t see that happening with DANA, and maybe we couldn’t do it even if we tried, but that’s one of my favorite elements of this band.
MJ: I usually dread trying to explain our “sound” to anyone for fear of sounding like a pretentious ass (plot twist, I AM), considering all the elements we incorporate, but at the end of the day it’s something I’m really proud of and something I’ve been striving for sonically for a long time. The terms “psychedelic” and “noise” get thrown around so much these days, that’s almost like the boy who cried post-genre, but call it what you will, and I’m speaking to any would-be bookers now, DANA is not an "indie-pop band”; just cause we’re cuties with a cute sounding name. DANA IS soul music, DANA IS punk music, DANA IS noise music, DANA is psychedelic, DANA is FUN, and to quote our very first write-up “somewhat terrifying."
There you have it. Now go see them. Dates at the bottom. But let's also turn to Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes, DANA's label-mates on Heel Turn Records and who also share a spot on the Twin Peaks comp. They got back to me with their unified voice just a few days ago, right before flying back to the the US of A for their summer tour.
WFBR: You just wrapped up a two week tour in France. What were the highlights for you? How did you go about getting a ten day tour in France lined up? Any comparisons or interesting contrasts to the China tour?
Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes: We are actually still in France we have one more show in Paris then we head home! Marseille was awesome, the bar we played at had hyenas all over it, and the show was really fun. Gomene was pretty cool cause it was a small countryside town and they were having a festival that translated to "head in the clouds".
A while ago a friend asked us to help get a show for a band from France called Rewinder, so we did. We ended up hanging out after and seeing them again later that week and became friends. They invited us to come play in France, and we said "Yippie Kaiyay! We would love to". So they booked all the shows and we got plane tickets.
From the shows we played, most the shows in China were on bigger stages in big rooms, and we played more smaller venues in France. Both having sound checks 3-4 hours before the show starts, which is different from home. In France you do a sound check, then they would set a couple tables and feed us home cooked meals before every show. The food was marvelous, tons and tons of Baguettes, pasta and cheese. Although I don't think we can choose between China's street food and food in France.
It has been pretty amazing to be able to translate what we do in America and do it in different countries. We have been able and lucky to travel and see two different culture's versions of punk, DIY scenes. It has really been proof that the little, touring, DIY community of musicians is welcoming, small, and available to everyone who really wants to grab it.
WFBR: You’ve been a band for a long time and your perseverance and consistency is pretty admirable. Tell us a little bit about how and why (and when exactly) you formed, and what keeps you going?
Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes: We keep doing it cause most of the time it's fun. We started like six years ago because we wanted to have fun and record some stuff in Abigail's basement with all her step-dad's stuff; and then, we thought, it's getting close to Halloween, so we gotta play a show on Halloween since its the best day and Abigail's birthday. We genuinely enjoy it. We like seeing what new people decide to do at shows we watch and play. We like sitting in the car for hours talking, eating snacks, and listening to new music. We like calling out songs during our sets, because ya never know what you're going to get. We are equally as surprised as Joey Dickerson as to what is going to happen when we play or even write music. And, heck, if we are all honest, we get a kick out of making each other mad too, so we all win every step of the way.
WFBR: You just got back to the USA and you’ve got a huge summer tour lined up. What are you looking foward to?
Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes: Mostly just getting to hang out with Boner City and all our friends that we only get to see when we go on these trips, but I guess we...well David, will be looking forward to touching the ocean—he always tries to dip his toes. And it isn't the same thing every day. Who knows what will happen along the way? Maybe, we will sleep in a freezing cold motel, Abby will lose her money for the zillionth time, or we'll end up in Disney World.
WFBR: The band has a very developed aesthetic. The clothes, the art, the videos, and the music all merge together and elevate the experience—talk about that a little bit.
Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes: It's very much just stuff we all like. We used to like to do fancy parties where people dress nice so we kept that idea when doing the band. We all bonded over watching silly movies and TV shows. We like making our own videos, we used to make short movies too. That stuff is just fun to do. None of us take things very seriously so we are all attracted to visuals, art, music, fashion, etc etc that are also fun and silly.
WFBR: Any parting thoughts? Any advice for new musicians doing it themselves?
Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes: The only parting thought I ever have (Abby speaking here) is to just remember we are, as unsigned DIY bands, all working as a machine. You never know the friends you could make at a show, it could always lead you to something you've always wanted to do, like climb a big great wall or eat all the baguettes and cheese you could ever dream of, while getting to play your music.
|Hear both bands on this and maybe buy it!
That says it all, right? Mr. Clit is honestly a huge inspiration to me, and DANA is one of the most exciting new bands I've encountered. Like I said, they both made appearances on the Glastonbury Grove EP, which was a seven-track tribute to Twin Peaks (hopefully the new season is better than when The X-Files returned). They even played the release show together! And they both have great vinyl on Heel Turn, one of my favorite small labels out there right now.
Thursday, May 18 - DANA at Ace of Cups, Columbus, OH
Friday, May 19 - DANA at Happy Dog, Cleveland, OH
Saturday, May 20 - DANA at UFO Factory, Detroit, MI
Sunday, May 21 - DANA at Bric A Brac Records, Chicago, IL [early set]
Sunday, May 21 - DANA at ECO, Chicago, IL [late set]
Monday, May 22 - DANA at Quarters, Milwaukee, WI
Tuesday, May 23 - DANA at The Sinkhole, St Louis, MO
Wednesday, May 24 - DANA at Murphy's, Memphis, MO
Thursday, May 25 - DANA at Hot Horse Records, Knoxville, TN
Friday May, 26 - DANA at Monnik, Louisville, KY; Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at PG, Evansville, IN
Saturday, May 27 - DANA at NSYC, Cincinnati, OH; Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Foam, St Louis, MO
Sunday, May 28 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Terrapin Station, Murray, KY
Monday, May 29 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at TBA, Knoxville, TN
Tuesday, May 30 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes and Bursters (ft. Ed from The Fuzzlers!) at Go Bar, Athens, GA
Wednesday, May 31 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Nighthawks, Jacksonville, FL
Thursday, June 1 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Fuzz Baby Warehouse, FL
Friday, June 2 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Churchill's, Miami, FL
Saturday, June 3 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at TBA, FL
Sunday, June 4 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Cunt Cave, Atlanta, GA
Monday, June 5 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Spinelli's Downtown, Louisville, KY
Tuesday, June 6 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Hamptons, Columbus, OH
Wednesday, June 7 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Michel's, Kent, OH
Thursday, June 8 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Otto's Shrunken Head, New York, NY
Friday, June 9 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at Spaghetti House, Kutztown, PA
Saturday, June 10 - Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes at TBA