Jack DalrympleFat Wreck Chords
By Bobby Gorman on June 11th, 2015 at Email
Jack Dalrymple has been pushing music through speakers since 1996 – first in One Man Army, then Dead To Me with stints in The Swingin’ Utters and Re-Volts between them. But we’re not here to talk about any of those. No. Dalrymple’s focus is now entirely directed towards his latest endeavor: toyGuitar. With his signature vocals still in track, the band has delivered a much more summery, fuzzy, pop-punk record with In This Mess released earlier this year on Fat Wreck Chords.
Now the four piece is set to do a West Coast tour and we exchanged emails with Dalrymple to discuss his legacy, the album, the tour and the North Dakota governor of the same name.
Questions by Bobby Gorman and Blake Florian.
Your bio on your website says “Forget about punk pedigrees and ‘members of’ monikers” yet the Fat Wreck bio constantly references Swingin’ Utters, One Man Army and Re-Volts. Even the sales page for your Adeline Records EP simply states “Featuring members of One Man Army and Swingin’ Utters.” Is it hard finding the balance of getting recognition from your current project and also trying to build on an already established fan base?
Jack – I always feel like it’s kind of unfair for the other members involved to have to deal with the “members of” thingy. I try as much as I can to control it, but it gets away from me sometimes. I understand why people mention the previous bands thing…but we’d prefer the focus to be more on this band, right now.
Do you ever feel pressured to create something that sounds similar to your other bands? Or do you treat each project as a brand new landscape?
Jack – Nah..I never feel pressure to recreate anything I’ve done. I think you should always move forward..try other things, meet and play with other peeps, and listen to new music.
Do you find yourselves drawing on the same source of inspiration each time or are new things starting to influence you?
Jack – We are collectively all over the place as far as our influences go. We’ll try anything really, but it’s gotta fit. Having a group of people who are all friends and not afraid to call bullshit is key, too.
Speaking about former projects – Jack and Miles are both from the Utters and you pulled Paul from yet another one of your bands The Re-Volts. Rosie Gonce seems to be the only member you hadn’t played with before as far as I could find – where did you meet her?
Jack – I’ve known Miles since before he and I were in the Utters. Paul was playing in the Re-Volts with Miles and I and also in this really awesome band Primitive Hearts. Rosie was playing in bands in LA. Miles and I played a Swingin Utters show with one of her bands and we instantly knew she had to play with us. She’s soooo awesome!
Does having a completely new member that you haven’t worked with before mix things up when writing?
Jack – It totally does! I love that feeling… makes it all so new and exciting.
For toyGuitar, you have expanded your sound- going for a summery, low-fi almost Beach Boys pop with a punk kick – but there’s still a distinct “Jack Dalrymple” sound to it. However, your vocals have definitely developed a bit with a fuzzier, more poppy delivery. On recording it seems almost distant – do you try to reproduce the fuzziness of your vocals live or is that a strictly recording sound?
Jack – It’s my shitty voice man… once I start singing it sounds like every other song I’ve sang. I consciously pushed and pulled the vocals a little bit for toyGuitar. I messed with the timing… or lack thereof really. The fuzz on the vox and drums are because we wanted to record the whole thing really really hot. I have a slap-back pedal I’ll use live.
The term “Summer music” tends to be associated with some relatively hackneyed flavor-of-the-month pop but your first full length album as toyGuitar, In This Mess, has a sunny tone to it that feels completely sincere and fun. Is that tone something you strive for or did it come naturally?
Jack – We didn’t intentionally try for anything “summer” sounding. I think a lot of the tones we have lend to that feeling though. Living in always-sunny California for over 20 years may taint anything I write about… haha.
The album has a uniquely fuzzy, vintage feel to it. Was the recording process of this album any different from things you’ve made in the past?
Jack – We recorded to 2inch and hit it hard. It was important to us too have something really blown out and fuzzy sounding. That’s awesome you noticed!
Other than the mass amounts of fish tacos you eat while recording, what were the outside factors that influenced the tone of In This Mess?
Jack – Cheeseburgers & Chris Dugan.
Your West Coast tour is coming up soon, where you’ll be making one of your first Western Canadian stops in Vancouver. Is there a particular venue or city you’re most excited about? Why?
Jack – For me it’s just being in Canada really. I haven’t been over in years! I’m just excited and super stoked to be going. I think my last time was with Dead to Me in like 2007?
Since the release of In This Mess in January, you’ve been garnering steady momentum and building a bigger crowd base – how does the crowd from a toyGuitar concert compare to any of your other bands?
Jack – It’s smaller and more intimate feeling… I truly appreciate it way more, too. Not that I didn’t in the past, but I was always so fucked up I think I just kinda took it all for granted.
Being in a constantly touring punk band, what is the strangest place you’ve ever performed in?
Jack – I don’t constantly tour… Miles however is a touring machine. I think Paul has played a show in a cave. I played a show in my bedroom with a Deaf guy running through my house with a Roman candle. Good times!
What made it stand out?
Jack – The deaf guy.
What’s the worst experience you’ve ever been through during a concert? Would you say you’ve learned from it in any way?
Jack – I’ve learned not to take a shot of anything whilst on stage. It’s not for everyone, apparently. I fell off the stage the aforementioned night.
What is your pre-concert routine? Any superstitious rituals you find yourself doing?
Jack – It use to be getting stoned, but I don’t really have one now. I should do vocal warm ups or something but I always find those people who do that stuff incredibly annoying. I get it…you’re a singer.
Now the Vancouver show is being booked by Russian Tim as an anniversary show for his weekly punk radio show, Rocket From Russia on University of BC’s CiTR radio station. With so many podcasts going now, does indie radio still play a factor in promoting underground bands such as yours?
Jack – Paul, Tim and I are in some group text thingy while we plan the show. Their knowledge of new underground bands is super crazy long! I think that comes from listening to new music, whether that be on podcasts or indie radio. I totally think it does help lots of bands like toyGuitar.
Having formed One Man Army back in 1996 and played in countless bands since, you’ve seen the ups and downs of radio – do you ever miss the prominence of university radio stations?
Jack – I do. There was so many more back then. I remember doing lots of those on campus/on-air things. Nowadays, not so much.
People often talk about the proliferation of digital media, the decline of CD sales, the importance of “likes” but the evolution of radio isn’t talked about as much. You’ve been doing it since 1996; what other big changes have happened since then that are generally just kind of overlooked?
Jack – I got a job, finally.
You had left Dead To Me after Little Brother EP to focus on the Utters but also because you had a new baby boy. Does your son enjoy your music? Do you think you have influenced his musical taste? Has he started to play any of his own music?
Jack – I stopped playing with DTM for the sole purpose of raising my boy. The Utters weren’t touring as much as they are now, so quitting DTM to focus on Utters is entirely incorrect.
I think he enjoys music?? He seems generally annoyed when I sit down and play in front of him, though… haha. But he’s written these songs, “Nothing’s gonna happen to us” and “I’ve loved you since you were 39” that are kinda amazing. I have them on my phone. Right now he’s all about writing lyrics and singing them. He’s also just started learning the drums..but he’s only got the 50’s beat going at the moment.
Late last year you tweeted that you were back with Dead To Me – how’s the new album coming along? With so many projects – toyGuitar, Dead To Me, Utters, Re-Volts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have others in the works – how do you balance them all?
Jack – I think that was Chicken that did the tweeting… I haven’t crossed over the Twitter bridge yet. The album is happening. We’ve fired off a couple of run through practices and demo’d some stuff. It’s awesome!! Finding the time to get everyone in the same place, at the same time…not awesome. So many other bands and schedules. It’ll be slow going but I’m hopeful. As far as the other bands I play in – with the exception of the Utters and toyGuitar – they’re mostly inactive, which makes it easy. I’m putting all my energy into toyGuitar, though.
Do you people ever confused you for the North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple?
Jack – Egads man! I hope not! He’s a crusty, old, white republican dude with a sketchy stand on abortion. Fuck Jack Dalrymple.