Interview With: Darren Dodd

So it’s your birthday and you happen to be a rock star. How are you going to spend it?
Mansion in Malibu? Check.
Recording studio at your disposal? Check.
Lots of booze? Uh… More like coffee?
Talking shit about people? Actually talking taxes.

While we’re at it, the mansion is a rental for recording and the cell phone is having issues of its own.

Well, there’s got to be something to drag a rock star out of bed in the morning, even on his birthday. Oh, a phone interview with some chic from PopWreck(oning)…. And Ben Fong Torres she ain’t.

Ok, ok…So Darren Dodd isn’t exactly a diva rock star, but he’s a rock star nonetheless. Dodd serves as drummer in Butch Walker‘s backing band, The Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites, and 1969, his latest project with Walker and former Let’s-Go-Out-Tonite member Michael Chislett, now in The Academy Is…

He’s also not as stern and standoffish as his on stage demeanor would lead you to believe. We talk and laugh about a little of everything, such as Walker Stalkers, music, side projects, and adventures in coffee making, so much so that I hate to make him stick to one topic. But alas, I must.

1969 was a bit of a fluke, that at least Darren never expected to actually happen. “Butch kept saying, ‘I want to do something with you (and Michael) that isn’t a “Butch Walker” thing’. We were just like, ‘Yeah, whatever you say,’ but he was serious,” Darren explains. “We had just finished recording Butch’s record (2006’s The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonights) and he was like ‘OK, let’s do this.'”

A mere nine days later, in February 2006, they had an album that would become known as Maya. Of course that’s not the original title. When it comes to telling the story of naming the album, Darren is possibly the most excited he is throughout the entire interview. “We were going to call the record A Day in the Dark… Is The New Night, it’s a line from “Offline” (a track off the album),” Darren tells me. “We went out to dinner with some friends, Brit and Maya from The Donnas. We were all excited and telling ’em the title. Maya is a real no shit kinda girl…. She hated it. So one of us said something like, ‘Maybe we should just name it after you?!’ Then we were like, ‘that’s not a bad idea.’ Especially when we realized it was M-A-Y-A instead of M-I-A…. and now we have a great story to go with it.”

The songwriting duties were predominantly covered by Michael and Butch, doing music and lyrics, respectively. “Wreck Me,” however was the truly group project. “We wrote just fooling around at sound check…. The rest is really Michael…. He’s genius at Garage Band.”

Maya was released on April Fool’s Day, with the limited vinyl edition following on May 9th. The group bypassed the traditional label model in favor of releasing the album themselves. Adding to the DIY marketing style, the cover art was designed by a fan as part of a contest on FriendsorEnemies.com.

Despite an abundance of MS Paint novice entries, the guys managed to select a winner, a simple branded and burnished design of black and gold with a retro logo. As for the losers, they weren’t all forgotten. “I have one as the background on my phone,” Dodd laughs.

As our conversation continues, topics drift to his high school metal band, Atlanta coffee shops, and of course, his birthday. “Are you really into stuff from the year you were born, like before you find out it’s from that year? I love everything from 1971: music, movies, books, all of it.”
I must confess, that I do not. “Well, when were you born?… 85? Well, yea, there’s nothing that great from 1985. That was all…”

About this time the cell phone reception drops out, yet again, and my attempts at callbacks go straight to voicemail. Is the interview over? No, it can’t be!
The phone rings.
“Hey, I’m on the land line here. Remember land lines?”

1969: myspace

*Molly

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