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Punk Rock Icon Dave Smalley Walks Down Memory Lane

Bridge 9

DYS, Dag Nasty, ALL and Down By Law are the key bands that Dave Smalley cut his fangs in. The vocalist and guitarist has trafficked in the hardcore and punk scenes in D.C., L.A and beyond. These days he’s taking some time to forge a solo career under the more than appropriate Punk Rock Dave moniker.

Smalley is utilizing Kickstarter.com to raise $6000 to fund a four-song EP of covers via donations and contributions from fans, a method truly emblematic of the DIY ethos.

Noisecreep nabbed a few minutes with the punk icon to find out his perspective on going it alone, local scenes and fan funding.

Using Kickstarter.com is certainly as DIY a method as it gets. Why did you choose to go that route?

I really come from DIY roots — the first DYS album was completely done by ourselves, most of punk rock’s early shows were all self-organized, etc. I love the independence it gives you, and the ability to work with your friends, fans and peers to make art and music together. As soon as I heard about Kickstarter, I was psyched, and felt like this was how I wanted to do the solo album.

Being a punk rock er over the years, you’ve experienced a lot in a lot of different places. Can you pick a favorite and why, relating to the punk scene? Or maybe share some your fave qualities about each?

I think I’d get in too much trouble if I picked one place/scene! But I can definitely give you an off-the-cuff highlight from each city I’ve been part of the punk music scene:

Boston: The Boston Crew. A group of friends completely creating a scene on our own, creating and supporting each other’s bands, spray painting walls together, the whole thing. It was fun, it was honest, it was tough and real. Love those guys forever, and those bands. And I love Boston, too. DYS is back to making music now!

Washington, D.C.: Without Dischord Records, who knows what void would exist in American music — it was and is a monumentally important and honest label, and the bands from the early days had a huge impact on me. Dag Nasty was in the transition period from hardcore to slightly more intricate music, and the lyrics that we did always moved me a lot. DC is a great town, and I enjoy it a lot. Many, many good memories.

Los Angeles: Being part of the early Cruz Records scene, with ALL, and then part of the Epitaph explosion in the early ’90s, was mind-blowing. Down By Law played concerts all over the world, and I met so many cool people and made so many friends — and, some of the albums that I’m most proud of. Plus the LA scene was exciting, and the food is amazing — I still dream about Alfredo’s in Lomita and Chiquita Bonita in Pasadena.

Watch DYS’ ‘Wild Card’ Video

How did you choose which songs to cover?

I haven’t finalized the list yet, but after so many years of singing the songs by DYS, Dag Nasty, ALL and Down By Law, I sort of instinctively knew which ones might work best during solo sets live. From there, I started trying them out in the studio, and it’s really cool to hear these songs with a different approach — it’s kind of soulful, kind of a different aura, and of course more intimate, which is one of the things I love about this approach to the known/recorded versions of the songs. It’s very real.

Find out more info on Smalley’s project at Kickstarter.com.

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