dimanche 19 décembre 2010

Interview: Dennis Dalcin of the Lears

It's been quite a long time we haven't done an interview on this blog (2 months) and we're coming back with a great post. The story for me began a few weeks ago wheh i bought a 7 inches by the Lears on eBay because of the cover: it was looking cool. A couple of weeks later i've received the vinyl and put it on my little turntable, i was very nicely surprised by the music. I knew it would be probably be garagy but i didn't expect about those nice jangly guitars (12-strings are ace) and the great compositions. So i've ordered the cd "the Story so Far..." and i've discovered another bunch of great songs with those folk rock & garage (folk-punk would say Mr Expo67!) tones. So I decided to contact Dennis Dalcin, one of the main songwritters of the band (with Paul Mutchler) and he responded me very gently to my questions! So it's really a pleasure to me to talk about this band today, and the interview i think is very cool, i'll hope you'll enjoy it as i am!

Which band gave you the idea to create your own band?( to play music, and enjoy it.)
Dennis: There's so many bands that I love that have made me want to form my own band. The first would certainly be The Beatles, then The Who, then The New York Dolls and a local Tampa band in the 1970's called Amnesia who played some incredible power pop originals alongside 60's garage punk songs.

Did you have another band before the Lears?

Dennis: Yes, I first had a band called The Look that was when I was still in high school , and was a weird mix of old rock 'n' roll from the 50's & 60's with some originals that were like the early Who. Then I formed a band called The Shades in 1978 and in 1980 we released our one and only single: Time For A Change b/w Shake It on my own Direct Hit Records label. The band was very much into the mod/power pop sound of The Who/Creation. When that band broke up I formed another band called Perfect Strangers that went through 3 distinct syle changes beginning with a kind of funky psychedelia - to electronic trio - to garage/psychedelia. That band split up in 1985 when I moved to Los Angeles, California. In 1989 I formed The Petal Pushers with future Romulans guitarist/vocalist Kevin Hagen. The band was a combo of 60's garage/psychedelia influences filtered through our original material. That band never played out, and split that same year.

Dennis Dalcin, Paul Mutchler, Steve Rybka, Ken Chiodini

How was the Lears formed?

Dennis: In 1990 I then got together with Paul Mutchler, from The Orlando band The Green Today, to help him with a solo project he wanted to record. When we played together we found it fit like a glove and that was the beginnings of The Lears. We decided to get Ken Chiodini (drummer/vocals with The Green Today) and Steve Rybka (bass/guitar) to help us get some demos together in order to find a permanent bass player & drummer. Those demo's are what ended up as The Lears - The Story So Far... CD on Get Hip Records in 1999. Paul & I moved to Orlando and found Mark Dewey (bass/vocals) and Suzi Dozier-Lamoureux (drums/vocals) who had just left a country punk band called Psycho From Texas there in Orlando. The first time we practiced together it was like magic! We knew then that the band was finally complete, and that we could get started playing live gigs. We played many shows as The Lears over the course of the next year. We recorded another batch of songs at Kingsnake Sturdios in Deland, Florida that we hoped to get out as our second CD. Unfortunately the band split up when first Paul then I moved back to the west coast of Florida. We later recorded a few more songs at Hitmakers Studio in Tampa with Paul playing bass as well as lead guitar on those tracks. Some of them have been released on various comps over the years. None of those recordings has ever been properly mixed. By 2000 the band was truly dead and gone as Paul moved back to Orlando. The name The Lears was taken from our love of flight and what better example of a flying machine in the 1960's then the Lear Jet!

What were your main influences with the Lears, I suppose the Byrds and a few other great US band from the 60s (Leaves, Love?, early Turtles? ), Maybe some late 70s or 80's bands (Flamin Groovies or Rain Parade)?

Dennis: That's a great question and very perceptive on your part. We loved The Beatles, The Byrds, Love and were friends with ex-bassist Ken Forssi, the Flamin's Groovies, The Long Ryders (we used to play the song "Ivory Tower" from the Native Sons album at live gigs, we loved that song and it fit right in with our originals), Rain Parade, The Creation, The Easybeats, Q65 and a whole host of other great 60's, 70's & 80's garage/folk/psychedelic bands.

Suzy Dozier-Lamoureux, Paul Mutchler, Dennis Dalcin, Mark Dewey

How was the scene in the early 90s? (in Florida, in USA)
Dennis: The scene in the 1990's was great in Orlando and that's why we decided to move there to form the band. There were other great bands there like The Hatebombs, The Nicoteens, Rocket 88 and many others. There was also a number of great clubs to play in around the greater Orlando area. So we kept busy practicing 2-3 times a week as well as playing show each week. There was a number of cool bands throughout the USA in the 80's/90's that we loved, but Florida has always been a lousy place to see cool unknown garage/psychedelic bands. Hardly any bands in those styles come to Florida. Instead they play in Atlanta, Georgia then either go north to North Carolina or west to Birmingham, Alabama...all the while avoiding central Florida like the plague!

How were the Lears gigs? Did you play a lot?
Dennis: We played out almost every week after the first couple of months beginning with a gig in North Tampa at The Stone Lounge, then a sold-out standing room only gig at Johnny's Rockin' Bistro just north of Orlando in Casselberry. Johnny (the owner Of Johnny's Rockin' Bistro) had to turn people away at the door because it was already too overcrowded! We never had to worry about finding gigs after that!

You (Dennis Dalcin) and Paul Mutchler were the main songwritters, how did you share the composition?

Dennis: Paul & I split the songs pretty much 50/50 with half being written by him and the other half by me. We only wrote one song together called Walking Around. I wrote the music and Paul wrote the lyrics and sang the song. We had different styles but somehow they managed to mesh together really well, and made us sound unlike all the other bands.

How did you record your tunes? I heard (in the get hip comp' text) that it was mostly on a tascam 4track recorder..

Dennis: The entire Get Hip CD (The Story So Far...) was recorded on Paul's Tascam 4-track recorder in a friend of mine's garage practice space! The later tracks were recorded at either Kingsnake Studios (a 24-track studio) in Deland or at Hitmakers Studio (also a 24-track studio) in Tampa. None of those tracks has ever been properly mixed for release! All that has come out has been very quick rough mixes of those tracks.

How did you get in touch with Misty Lane and Get Hip records?

Dennis: I knew Masimo Del Pozzo of Misty Lane from when I put out my magazine Kaleidoscope. We had become friends through our mutual love of 60's garage/folk/psychedelia. He asked me if we'd let him release Her Magic Smile b/w Don't You Know as a single and we said yes. I knew Gregg Kostelich of Get Hip Records & The Cynics fame also from my magazine Kaleidoscope that I put out between 1986 - 1991. I had sent Gregg a tape of our demo's and he later contacted me about releasing them as an LP or a CD. Since by that time (late 1999) they had already been released as singles on a variety of labels around the world we really wanted them out on a CD instead of vinyl.

When did the band split, and why?

Dennis: By 2000/2001 the band was finally over with because we no longer lived in the same area. Paul had moved back to Orlando and I was in St Petersburg, which is about 2 hours away from each other. This made it too hard to continue.

What did you do after the Lears?

Dennis: I tried to find people to form a new band with but nothing seemed to work out. So I just put my guitar away and started writing a column called "DD's Garage" for the British music magazine Bucketfull of Brains, which I've now done for the past 8+ years.

How do you see the Lears now?

Dennis: I think The Lears was my ultimate band. We worked very well together and played a variety of different styles throughout the band's lifetime. We were fortunate enough to come in contact with a lot of like minded people throughout the world and it seems to have taken on a life of its own to this very day.

The Lears Her Magic Smile

The Lears - the Byrd that couldn't fly

The Lears Discography:

1. "I Won't Remind You" / "A Flash Of Light" 7" single on Susstones records [Minneapolis, Minnesota] September 1993.

2. "Coming Home Today" included on "A Web Of Mystery" EP Misty Lane Records [Italy] February 1994.

3. "4 X 4 EP" (all are band originals) 4-song 7" EP on the Lollipop Shop Label [Germany] August 1994.

4. "Coming Home Today" included on a compilation cassette with Issue #2 of SNAP!! Magazine [Spain] September 1994.

5. "You Don't Believe Me" on a compilation of various bands covering the 60's British R&B band The Pretty Things called "Not So Pretty". On Shock Records [Australia] November 1995.

6. "Her Magic Smile" / "Don't You Know" 7" single on Misty Lane Records [Italy] March 1996.

7. "Is This Her Day" & "Her Magic Smile" are both included on the various artist compilation CD "Young Savage Florida" [USA] July 1996.

8. "The Story So Far..." First CD for Get Hip Records [Pittsburgh, PA] February 1998.

9. "Don't You Know" was included on the Bam Balam Explosion Vol V – USA Power Pop Compilation CD on Bam Balam Records [Spain] in September 1998.

10. “Words Weren’t Said” was included on the 21st Century BoB CD given away with Issue #55 of Bucketfull of Brains Magazine in 2000.

11. “The Byrd That Couldn’t Fly” included on disc one of the 2-CD tribute set to Gene Clark called Full Circle compilation on Not Lame Recordings in 2000.

12. “Then You Want” was included as an MP3 on the enhanced CD-ROM version of Timothy Gassen’s The Knight’s of Fuzz – The Garage and Psychedelic Music Explosion, 1980 - 2000 book in 2001.

13. A small portion of the band’s self-produced video for “ Her Magic Smile” was included on Timothy Gassen’s The Knight’s of Fuzz – The Garage and Psychedelic Music Explosion, 1980 to Now DVD in 2006 along with their audio track “Then You Want”.

14. “Beyond Our Dreams” appears on the “Peace Frog Rides The Rocket” compilation CD with Issue #2 of Greek fanzine Peace Frog. Another track “Chasing Time” by an earlier Dennis Dalcin band (The Petal Pushers) also appears on this CD. April 2008.

15. “Someone Else’s War (Electric Version)” appears on the free CD given away with Issue #4 of Greek fanzine Lost in Tyme.

May 2008.

More Infos:
2 Great features on the Lears on Expo67
Bucketfull of Brains

2 commentaires:

EXPO67 a dit…

Excelent post...congratulations on getting a scoop on The Lears

amusicalguy a dit…

In the top photo of The Lears it's NOT Steve Rybka in the picture it's Scott Sugiuchi who played bass for us and for The Hatebombs along with Ken Chiodini (to his right) on drums! Thanks!
Dennis Dalcin