Interview with dope

By Laura Spalding

Hey Pit People! Hope ya got to check out dope at the Gobblestock show on November 27th at The Gardens. If you don't already know, the band's debut CD, felons and revolutionaries, has been out for a few months now and many people are getting hooked on dope. (Please see my review of their show in this issue.)

Brothers Edsel (vocals and rhythm guitars) and Simon Dope (keyboards) were very nice and took the time to talk to me after they played.

LMN: "I read in your bio on the website (www. dopeonline. com) that you guys played less than a dozen shows in late ‘97 and early ‘98, then got signed in October of 1998. Do you feel like that happened pretty quickly?"

Dope

Edsel: "I don't necessarily think it was quick; I think it was different. We spent the same amount of time that most bands do getting things going, we just did it in behind closed doors instead of in the public's eye."

Simon: "It was quick in the number of shows that we played, but it wasn't quick in the amount of time from when we started the band to when we got signed."

Edsel: "We had everything done on this band before we even had a band. We had demos and tons of songs written. Then we put the band together and booked a show. Our first show had about 300 kids there, so we had already created a serious awareness about ourselves, months before we ever played.

"Basically, it came down to people coming out to see us, seeing whether or not we lived up to that buzz. If we would have sucked, we would have just gone away. People were into what we were doing and they came back. We just kept doing our thing."

LMN: "What about the other three band members, how did they get involved in dope?"(Tripp Eisen, lead guitars, Preston Nash, drums and Acey Slade, bass.)

Edsel: "They were all doing their own thing in other bands. Nash, the drummer, can also play guitar. Basically everybody in the band can play all kinds of instruments. They were in three or four different bands at a time, just doing whatever they could until the right situation came along. When we came along, it just happened to be the right situation for them.

"They had all dabbled in being front men and writing songs. I thinks that's why everybody handles themselves really well on stage, especially for being a band that's got less than a hundred shows under their belt."

LMN: "I know this is a common question, but what bands really influenced you? Who made you say 'This is what I want to do?'"

Edsel: "That's a two-part question, because the bands that made me start playing music and the bands that influence the sound of dope are two different things.

"The bands that got me to start playing music, being five years old and looking at the makeup faces of Kiss, going 'That's it!' ya know? (Yes indeedy, fellow Kiss fan!)

"So Kiss was it and that graduated to Motley Crue, Guns ‘N' Roses and AC/DC, and Billy Idol, that kind of stuff in the '80s.

"Then Simon introduced me to bands like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, because he was in college doing that thing. It just went from there. There's so many bands that have touched me in some way or another."

LMN: "Are you planning to stick in the same vein of music? What do you have planned for your second record?"

Edsel: "I think that we have enough material for the second record that is similar to the first – where somebody's not gonna go, ‘Wait a minute, this is a different band.' I think that in order to mature as an artist and stick around, you have to start experimenting and dabbling in other things, and we're definitely gonna do that. I don't think that anyone who's a diehard fan will be disappointed in buying the next record, but I also think that they may be a little surprised."

LMN: "What other bands have you toured with?"

Edsel: "We toured with Orgy, then with Fear Factory and Static X.

"Then we did the Coal Chamber/Slipknot Tour, which just ended.

"Now we're doing the Sevendust tour, which will take us up to Christmas. Then we're gonna do a Powerman 5000 tour in January."

LMN: "Do you like playing these festival type shows? I know you played the LRS festival here in July."

Edsel: "I love ‘em if it's not a cluster f**k like today was. It was all screwed up because the original line-up of some bands cancelled or got moved around. So all of a sudden, we're the first band on the bill and we weren't booked as the first band.

"You can't argue with these people, it's a giant pain in the a**. You have one of two options, you can say ‘F**k you, we're not gonna play,' but then you're screwing the kids who came to see you. So, you kind of have to say ‘F**k you, we're gonna play anyway and you suck!'" (laughs)

LMN: "Well, I'm glad you played; I think you got a good response.

"Of the bands that are out now, what bands do you think are going to stick around?"

Simon and Edsel: "Sevendust."

Edsel: "To any bands on their first record, I think we're all in the same danger of disappearing. I don't think that any of us have a sure thing of being around. I think that your second record is what proves whether or not you belong where you're at."

Simon: "Your first record does well, then your second record keeps going, like Sevendust. To me, that's a sign that a band is going to stick around."

LMN: "I know Edsel wrote most of the first album. Do you have plans for everyone to contribute the second time around?"

Edsel: "I'm open to everybody's suggestions. Again, on the first record, every song was written before the band was put together.

"We've been in a band now with the other guys for a couple of years. I've written tons of songs and I know they have written stuff, so it'll be interesting to see what is brought to the table.

"I have more of a feeling that I'll end up writing, but that they'll end up add their flavor, if you will, to it."

LMN: "Your CD has sold really well here, more than some bigger cities. Why do you think that is?"

Edsel: "I think that we are going to grow more naturally on the underground. I think that the kids out here, I don't want to say that they find stuff quicker, but they almost do.

"You would think in NYC that you find music quicker, but there's so much going on there that bands have to become a little more commercial or break in on the mainstream before kids start to find them. Whereas out here, it's all about where the next rock show or the next new band is."

Simon: "Plus, we've played a lot of small markets, a lot more than what you might think. We've played Columbus a couple of times already, this is our second time in Louisville, and we've played Cincinnati. So we've played a lot of smaller places, compared with these bigger cities, which helps."

LMN: "I think the all-ages rule definitely makes a difference."

Edsel: "Oh yeah, it's got to be it. We are definitely a band that appeals to the younger generation and that's how I wanted it. I didn't intend for this band to be huge on the college circuit or something like that. I'd like for older people, if you will, to call them older."

Simon: "Us?" (laughs)

Edsel: "I'd like for people my age to be able to relate to what we're doing. But, it's much more interesting and exciting to me to know that I'm reaching kids that are still developing."

Simon: "It's almost like being a teacher."

Edsel: "Yeah, because there is a big lack of, I don't want to say education because the last thing I want to be looked at is somebody who's trying to educate the children. There's just a big lack of…"

Simon: "Responsibility for what we feed our kids."

LMN: "Yeah, I know I read a quote from Edsel where he said, 'How can you place blame on a video game?'"

Simon: "Or on a band, or on a TV show or a movie?"

Edsel: "The problem is that most parents decide that it's a really good idea to take their child and say, ‘All these things are bad, we're gonna pull the shade down, they're not there, they don't exist.'

"Not educating somebody about something and just treating it like the monster in the closet only makes you more curious about it. Then you're gonna go find out about it on your own, instead of being walked through something that could potentially harm you. Parents let their children walk blindly into a lot of situations nowadays that they don't need to be walking blindly into.

"Kids are being educated on the street at twelve and thirteen years old. They're learning about sex and drugs, learning about all that kind of stuff on the street."

Simon: "All the things they try to hide from you are all the things that feel good. Whether or not they're right is different. But, if they are all things that feel good, how can you not talk to your kid about it and take some responsibility? It's ridiculous."

LMN: "I think it's good that you have things to say. I like when you say "Sick of politicians and politics and prisons/lying and running my life (from the song "Pig Society)."

Edsel: "I am sick of politicians, yes I am. Smiling and waving at you, "Vote for me!"

LMN: "Yeah and most of it's fake. At what jail did you take those pictures in –from the CD?" (laughs)

Edsel: "Those were taken at the New York City jail, the courthouse in NYC."

LMN: "Well, those about all the questions I have for you. Thank you."

Dope: "Thank you."