We sent this interview when DUMBELL was on tour two months ago. Surprisingly enough, it just happened that Paul (vocals/guitar) stopped Veglam’s headquarters last week and took some time to finish answering our questions while drinking tea and listening to some good old KISS songs. Enjoy!
So you’re on tour. Where are you right now and how is it goin’ so far?
well, shit…I’m at home now, I was too busy giggling at the wacky hi jinx on tour to answer any questions in an intelligent fashion. It’s like summer camp on wheels with these guys. Loads of fun!
The band went through many line-up changes these last years, how did you meet Jamy (Luxury Pushers/ex-Mystery Addicts) and your French rhythm section Nasty Samy (Teenage Renegade, Black Zombie Procession, Simon Chainsaw…) and Turbogode (Negeva/Simon Chainsaw)? Do people usually see you as a German band? An American one? Or an international one?
People usually see us as a German band which frustrates me to no end, but I suppose its unavoidable, as when we started in 1996 it was me and 3 German guys. Over the years its become more international, and that’s how I see the band, and international band of misfits.There hasn’t been a German in the band since we started touring again,except for Marcel, who is more alien than German. He quit in 2010 due to work issues, and since hes been gone, not one German passport has graced this band.
The French guys I met over Eric from the rebel assholes, we were playing some shows in January and our drummer couldn’t make it, so Turbo learned the songs in 1 day and we hit the road. After that I met Samy, and really took a liking to him, and thought, if we ever need a bass player, I’ll call him up in a new york minute. And as luck would have it, our drummer who turbo filled in for had moved to bass, and couldn’t tour anymore, so Sam got the call.
Now to my buddy Jamy….Ive known Jamy longer than hes known me. His band haunting souls(from Dayton) used to play in my hometown Cincinnati opening for national acts in the 80s, so I remember seeing him around, and we would sleaze around the same brothels, probably snogging the same goth girls when we were drunk teenagers, he’s kinda hard to forget considering he has this huge tattoo of his band name on his chest. Fast forward to 1996. Im doing a roadie job for a band from Milwaukee, and I’m picking the band up in Amsterdam, and who comes out of the terminal? Jamy. He signed on with Wanda Chrome to play drums, and since then we have been in contact, so when I was looking for a right hand man to fill Marcels alien shoes, Jamy fit the bill 199%. Im very pleased that he’s on board.
I’m actually more than pleased with the entire lineup now. Its the best this band has ever had. And I’m not the only one saying that.
You also released a split record with The Rebel Assholes from France and both bands often tour together. Did you first meet them on the road? Are they the ideal tour partners for you?
I met the rebel assholes over Laurent the ex bass player from the Nitwitz, with whom I was sharing singing and guitar slinging duties with Tony Slug. Laurent likes these guys and played the role of matchmaker over facebook, and we just got on really well. They are all really super relaxed down to earth guys with a lot of positive spirit, which is our common bond.
I have been on a mission to only be around positive people in my life, and since this mission began, positive things are happening all around. Not just for the band, but in my personal life as well! I spent too many years around negative destructive forces, and it dragged me to the gates of hell.
Paul, you formed Dumbell in 1996. Can you tell us about some of your best memories so far? Worst ones? How have things changed for the band since those days? Is it easier to book tours or release records now for instance?
Hmmmmm. The best memories are being experienced right now. The last year was really productive and fun, the way it was in the beginning. After around 2000 when the original lineup changed, the whole vibe of the band became more stressy, and we weren’t very productive, partially due to substance abuse and having negative people in the band. We would tour and record, but there were many false starts, and when I listen back to what we were doing, I can hear the sadness in my voice.The band was dying, and I was not in the position spiritually to get it back on track.
Around 2004 I put Dumbell on ice. I started it up again in 2006 and we had great times, but the damage was done from the years of misconduct and drug induced savagery. We basically had to start new, because 6 years of sporadic activity is a lifetime in the music world. In 2007 right after 1 europe tour and the release of our double LP instant Apocalypse, I had to take a 2 year break because of health issues. So really the band is reborn since october 2010 when we released DEATH RAY and started touring relentlessly again. It’s the best feeling in the world to be back! Things have changed considerably, the record industry tanked since we started, the hypes of all kinds of genres have come and gone, leaving rubble in their wake.
You moved from America to Germany years ago. How come? Did you move with the idea of starting a band?
No. I came here to play with my old band colleague sonny from shotgun rationale for some weekend shows, and i intended on only staying till those shows were done. But as luck would have it, i just stayed here and formed Dumbell, with no intention of being the singer. We were looking to have a front woman, but as time marched on and we couldn’t find anyone, i reluctantly decided to do it myself.
You’re going to be touring the US soon too. Has Dumbell been playing there these last years?
We played there around 1997, and people just didnt get it. We weren’t punk enough and we weren’t enough garage. They couldn’t place us in a specific corner. It was a long tour, like 6 weeks, and wore down the friendships of the original lineup. I was at that time quite an asshole when I look back on it.
We did continue with that lineup for 1 more album and a few europe tours, but Elmar the guitar player was fed up since the USA tour, and he quit when the success he was awaiting didnt arrive. The tour we just did in the USA was GREAT this time around. We were well received and had a ball!
Jamy, are you a permanent member of the band? Isn’t it too difficult to live in the US while the band is based in Europe? What about The Luxury Pushers? Do you guys still play? You also played in The Mystery Addicts. Are the other members still playing?
Seems to have morphed into permanent position. When Paul and I began playing together back in March of this year it was intended to be for 1 tour but here we are 3 tours and an album in and it seems to be a good fit. We’ve gotten a LOT done in 2011.
Living in the US with Dumbell being based in the EU is a bit tricky at times for sure. We’ve made it work so far.
LXP, Luxury Pushers, is on pause for now. I’ve spent 2011 focusing on Dumbell and haven’t had time for both. LXP hasn’t played since the end of 2010, seems like forever but the holding pattern will continue for awhile. I’m excited to get back to writing, actually writing and recording new LXP stuff but tick tock tick tock…
Yeah, I was a founding member of The Mystery Addicts. Of the original line-up Steven still writes and records, Purtle is back fronting a band and recording. LaBonte has been in and out of drumming. We still talk. All the bad blood in the MA’s seems to have been left on the stage. We’ve all carried on ya know.
Last bands you’ve enjoyed (album/live)?
Too many to list! Today, Cheap Trick and The Suburban Lawns, and Adam and the Ants.
New band: The Jim Jones Revue.
Is it easier to play high-energy rock’n’roll without the “help” of alcohol or drugs?
ABSOLUTELY. I never really played loaded…just a few times with disastrous results, like offending the entire country of SLovenia, or having the support band in Munster Germany take all the PA gear because we were razzing them for being EMO. Even so, playing hungover is bad in its own right. Also having to stop the van every 15 minutes for someone to pee. Or panic at border searches and lame hiding places for my drugs, like inside my passport. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that crap anymore.
What big band(s) should Dumbell open for? Why?
The Damned or the Stooges, Why, because they RIP.
Tell people why they should come and see you live!
We do what we do, no pretenses, and the stories we sing about are true. We aren’t pretending. we live to do this. And our main goal is to please the audience as opposed to indulging ourselves.