d.b.s. on a bridge...

School's Out - Let's Tour!

North Vancouver's Under-aged Punk Veterans, d.b.s.

Interview by Daniel Ewacha
Photography by Paul Clarke

41-second excerpt from "No Room" (various formats)

It seems as though the members of d.b.s. were born to play in a punk band. Take away the dyed hair, the pierced ears and noses, and the grungy-smelling clothes and you have four guys with the sort of "Fuck you-we don't give a shit" attitude upon which punk was founded back in the 70's. Surprising, then, that it would be found in four guys aged from 17 to 19, isn't it? But I promised them I would stay away from the age thing. It seems people can't believe that this group of young 'uns were able to take the underground scene in Vancouver by storm they way they did.

Yet to see d.b.s. play live or to hear their first CD, Tales From The Crib, you get a sense of honesty and passion delivered through their performances unlike any you've experienced, whether you're a fan of punk in general or not. So I find it interesting that Jessie, Paul, Andy and Dhani (who was absent from our little chat) chose to play and embrace punk. Their reasoning, however, seems typically punkish: "It's the easiest to play and the best," reply guitarist Andy and vocalist/keyboardist Jessie. "It's easy to play, but I like heavy metal as well," adds drummer Paul. "I wish heavy metal was easy, cause I'd like to be in a heavy metal band too! Who knows, maybe I will!" he says with a laugh. "All I need now is a big flaming gong!"

cool B&W photo of d.b.s. So now we get a better understanding as to the real reason why d.b.s. are a punk band -- for the sake of convenience. Hardly! They take pride in their work and, most importantly, have fun with it. For Jessie, however, the business side of the music is something he's not too fond of, but does what he can for the good of the group: "I don't like dealing with the business side of it all. That's why we have a manager, so we don't have to deal with a lot of it. But sometimes I'll get people calling me up and asking us if we want to play a show or something or sometimes I'll book some shows around B.C. for the band. That's the only business I deal with, but I'd rather not worry about that and just concentrate on playing and having fun."

For the sake of the interview, I have to bring into play the age factor briefly when I ask them how much of a role their parents play in the business side of things. Jessie explains: "A big one, huge, colossal. Paul's dad is fixing our van pretty much for free. He's only charging us for the parts at warehouse prices. He's also a part-time mechanic so that helps." Paul notes, "Yeah, the parents and grandparents help. My grandmother just lent me $3,000 for some new drums, a six-piece DW set." (A drummer myself, I find myself suddenly overcome with massive feelings of awe and envy.)

"Our parents used to be a bit hesitant to let us go out on all these tours and all, and worried who these producers we were working with were, but they're kinda used to it by now. We're about to go on a ten week tour of North America and we haven't even told them yet! It's okay cause my dad talks to Marzie (Damien, the band's manager and the head honcho at Nefer Records) all the time. so everything's cool," states Jessie.

The tour on which d.b.s. are about to embark will take them across Canada for the first time, as well as into the U.S., touring in support of their new Nefer Records release, If the Music is Loud Enough.... The new disc promises to be different from their first release, yet chock full with the one and a half minute epics you've come to know and love from punk bands. In all, 16 songs make up this new release, ranging from some hardcore jams lasting a whopping four and a half minutes, to a tune fit to be included on a soundtrack for a porno movie. Huh? Amidst laughter from the guys as they explain this one to me, I missed the name of the track, but caught the phrase "cut and paste," which to my understanding is the name of the movie. I don't know -- we'll just have to wait and see.

d.b.s. hangin' out The tour starts in Victoria on June 27th, the same day the CD is released, and for the rest of the summer the band will be raising hell throughout North America. The tour ends, oddly enough, the day before school begins again for Dhani, Paul, and Andy, who will no doubt have more than a few interesting stories to include in their mandatory, "How I spent my summer vacation" essay. And what do they have planned for after the tour? Jessie, who graduated from high school just this year, plans to get a job; meanwhile, Paul intends to be taking a nap, and Andy plans to, in his own words, "sit around and masturbate for six months." A true punk if ever there were one.

Things get a little heavy towards the end of our conversation when I ask about the difference between punks of today compared to punks of the 70's. Jessie states his opinion bluntly: "Punks these days don't rebel against anything. There's nothing to rebel against." Paul adds in a great comment which sums up a lot of punk these days: "You rebel by dyeing your hair -- but you buy the hair dye from a big corporation."

Regardless of whether you dye your hair, have safety pins through various appendages, or spit and sneer at the forces which try to conform, the members of d.b.s. agree that to an extent, punk is a fashion statement. But true punks such as d.b.s. see punk as more than that and celebrate it with their music. And that is an accomplishment of which d.b.s., amongst all their other achievements, should be most proud.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on June 29, 1996

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