by Joey Ammo
The Model Café in Allston is empty at 7:30pm. I’m having a beverage with three of the four members of Boston punk/rock band White Dynomite: bassist Tim Catz, guitarist John Darga, and lead singer David Unger (drummer Craig Riggs is on vacation in Greece today). In keeping with their name, White Dynomite takes the stage in white suits, shirts and ties and performs with white instruments, and white amplifiers. Tim describes the music as “Punk/Soul Explosion.”
WD was formed from the ashes of Curve of the Earth powerhouse Roadsaw (which all but John had been a previous member of), originally in order to play a birthday party for a friend of Dave’s. “We wrote most of the record in three weeks and played the party,” Dave explains. They’ve landed a distribution deal with San Francisco independent Ripple Music (a Warner Bros. affiliate) and later in 2014 Ripple will re-release the debut record on white vinyl, with extra tracks included.
Noise: Tell me about your success so far in the Greater Boston Area?
Tim: We were put together quickly; we quickly started headlining our own shows. We have a lot of friends that drink, bars like people who drink a lot, we like people who drink a lot, we like to have a good time…
Dave: …and we look great!
Tim: …so what’s not to love?
Noise: How did the history take place from Roadsaw to White Dynomite?
Tim: Roadsaw was not doing as much. We’re all friends and none of our bands were playing out a lot, and I don’t know, sometimes you just need to… we just wanted to have fun. So we just decided that as friends we would just put together a band and write some dumb songs and play it out and that’s it. The magic happened from there.
Dave: True that.
John: And we spent the money on the suits (for the birthday party).
Dave: Yeah, so we figured we had to play at least four or five gigs to pay for the suits [laughs].
Noise: I love the suits—the whole white thing is great.
Dave: That was actually Tim’s idea. He named the band.
Tim: There are so many bands in black y’know? Black this, black that, so it’s the opposite of black.
John: It’s… white.
Noise: [To Tim] You work in films, don’t you?
Tim: Yeah, I work for Local 481, IATSE. I’m a best boy working in films here in Boston. Right now I’m working on Black Mass with Johnny Depp.
Noise: How would you describe the sound of WD to a reader?
Tim: It’s definitely fast straight-ahead party rock.
Dave: Yeah, it’s party rock. We’re not a topical band… unless the topic is havin’ a good time!
Noise: So no political themes?
John: Only that you can still wear white after Labor Day.
Tim: It’s about three things: sex, drugs, and booze—or sex while you’re doing booze and drugs. That’s really about it, right?
John: What about science?
Dave: We don’t have any scientific songs.
Noise: What are some of your musical influences?
Tim: I always go back to, like, Turbo Negros, Dictators, Cheap Trick, Kiss, Ramones, Stooges…
Dave: T. Rex, The Supersuckers before they started to super-suck…
Tim: Motorhead, Helicopters…
Noise: What do fans tell you about your music?
Tim: They go “I really like that song ‘High When I Die.’ You know the one that goes ‘High When I Die a hundred times.’” They also say, “Great show! Wow! There’s a lot of divorced chicks here!”
Noise: Do you write as a band?
Tim: We come up with a song title.
Dave: Mostly Tim writes the music, and then he’ll give me an idea for the song and I’ll go on it [write lyrics].
Noise: [To Dave] Do you have any favorite lyrics among your songs?
Dave: “She’s got a unicorn nailed to the wall/8-track player/Seals and Crofts.” That’s pretty cool. (From “Black Light Woman”)
Noise: How do you feel about music being downloaded online?
Tim: You know, we make all of our money on T-shirts. [The group breaks out in laughter.] There’s no money in selling records—there just isn’t.
John: I can understand someone who sells a lot of records being concerned with downloading, but as far as we’re concerned download away.
Tim: Yeah, give it away.
John: I mean, honestly I’m not in it to make money in the first place so…
Tim: …but there’s a lot of ways to support a band, like if you come out and see us and you want to buy a T-shirt, great. We pay the rent with T-shirts.
John: Yeah, except we get drunk and then we give ’em away.
Tim: We also accept beer. Like, a lot of our money goes towards beer and drugs. So if you have beer and drugs that means that’s money in our pockets that we don’t have to spend. We’re not getting rich off this—nobody is.
Dave: But we’re having a good time. I mean, that’s the most important thing, right? It’s like have a good time ourselves and it brings some fun to the people.
Noise: What would you say is the state of the record industry right now compared to DIY?
Tim: For as long as I’ve been alive the record industry has done nothing but take money away from bands.
John: Wait, we’re distributed by Warners now.
Tim: Oh yeah. [All break out laughing] If you want to support a band go see the live show. Buy the T-shirt, buy the CD. Buy them drinks.
Noise: So merchandise is more lucrative than records?
John: It’s been that way for a long time for an indie band.
Tim: Actually this is a good opportunity to mention that we got licensing on an MTV show called Slednecks, which is like Rednecks, but in Alaska. We got some of our songs picked up for the show.
John: Does that mean I won’t have to do science anymore?
Tim: No, you still have to do science. It’s all about science.
Noise: Tell us about the shows that are coming up for WD.
Tim: Bastard Squad reunion at Great Scott (September 20).
John: October 17 is Crash Safely 3 at Middle East in Cambridge.
Tim: We’ll be playing with Township and Field Effect, who we played against in the Rumble last year.
Noise: You did pretty well in the Rumble?
Dave: Yeah, we won our first night, and while we were on stage during the second night was when the bombers were blowing up the town.
Tim: Everyone was watching the TV while we were playing. The first night we won we weren’t particularly stellar. We had no illusions about winning anything.
Dave: We did our set—we went and had a good time. We can’t stress it enough that we are a fun band, and we like to have a good time, and we want people to have a good time watching us. That is our mission statement.
Tim: During the Rumble set people were throwing beers on us all night, then we had this down pillow, and we had no idea how messy it was gonna get… we open up the pillow and all of a sudden it was like snowing inside T.T.’s, and we were soaked in beer so it looked like we were tarred and feathered. To this day you can find feathers in the corners of T.T.’s.
John: They hated us.
Tim: That put us over the top to win that night.
Noise: Is there anything that inspires you guys besides music, booze, sex, and drugs?
Tim: Cigarettes, horror movies, fried chicken, the smell of fire, fireworks…
Noise: Last words?
Tim: The new record on Ripple is coming out in the fall.
John: The re-release is coming out in October.
Tim: And the new record is coming out in spring 2015. And Slednecks on MTV. And we also have a Christmas single coming out.
Dave: We should also point out that Craig Riggs is a great drummer.
Tim: Yeah, Craig switched from singing in Roadsaw to playing drums in White Dynomite. He’s a phenomenal drummer.
Dave: Sometimes he’s like, “I wish I could sing…” but I’m far too pretty, I mean I’m prettier than him.
Noise: If he were here right now what would he add?
Dave: He’d say “Up yours Unger.”
Tim: “Sorry I’m late – I had to get a burrito.”
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