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Friday, December 3, 2004
[ SHEER LUNACY ]
Punk with pomp
If you happen to know, or in fact you yourself are, "a 14-year-old girl with braces," Blag Dahlia wants to meet you.
The lead singer of the infamous punk-damage band the Dwarves wants that girl to be upfront-and-center at their show tonight at Waikiki's Pink Cadillac, there to experience firsthand his rock-star persona in all its weird glory.
And that's not all. Dahlia promises that his masked guitar-playing cohort HeWhoCanNotBeNamed will, sometime during their blazing set, go au naturel, as he's wont to do.
"He is one of the best-looking men in show biz," Dahlia promises.
Well, for a masked guy, I guess.
But it's not just the sheer spectacle of the San Francisco band (which includes drummer Wreck Tom and newer Dwarves Clint Torres and the Fresh Prince of Darkness) in concert that makes them a must-see. It's also hearing just some of 20 years' worth of outrageous material that's culminated in their best album to date, "The Dwarves Must Die."
It's 30 minutes of dark humor that's all killer, no filler, complete with one of their audacious and transgressive photo covers, this one depicting a crucified dwarf attended by three nude women. Now that they have your attention, the music, in turn, grabs you by the lower regions with the force of a pit bull's bite.
"The Dwarves are the only punk band that gets better as time goes on," Dahlia proclaims. "The new album combines all genres of rock into one nasty ... package that destroys eardrums with no remorse. It's pop, it's punk, it's noise, it's hip-hop, it's retarded. We think it's the best thing anyone has ever done, except for the invention of Spam!"
The album also includes cameos from Dexter Holland of the Offspring, former Queen of the Stone Age (and occasional guest Dwarf) Nick Oliveri and the Vandals' Josh Freese.
Plus, how the heck did Dahlia and company get legendary announcer-voice actor Gary Owens to do a roll call in that inimitable baritone of his?
"The old-fashioned way: We asked him," Dahlia said. "He was great, really hilarious. He's Space Ghost, for Christ's sake!"
The Dwarves' connection with TV cartoons doesn't end there. Dahlia himself sang "The Sponge" for the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where the yellow fellow is Pearl the whale's prom date. (Other soundtrack appearances have included MTV's "Viva La Bam" and the movies "Ghost World" and "Me, Myself & Irene.")
Even though the band probably won't be doing the sponge on stage tonight, Dahlia said that "we will be hitting all of the low points of our career and including lots of stuff from the new album, including 'Dominator,' 'Salt Lake City,' 'FEFU' and 'Like You Want.' Satisfaction guaranteed."
And eardrums will be pummeled, as well. From its early Chicago high-school punk origins as Sexually Deprived Youth, to morphing into a '60s garage band called Suburban Nightmare, through their colorful years as the Dwarves during the height of grunge (which included the hoax death of HeWhoCanNotBeNamed), and now as gleeful trashers of all that is hard-core punk, you would figure head Dwarf Dahlia is plenty busy.
But Dahlia is also a regular columnist for the S.F. mag The Wave and -- good God! -- he's also a published author, with his 1998 sci-fi detective trash novel "Armed to the Teeth with Lipstick."
When asked if he's got another book in him, he said his new one is called "Nina." "It's about a very naughty teenage girl" -- a 14-year-old with braces, perhaps? -- "and the wacky misadventures she gets in. Sure to be an Oprah's Book Club classic!"
Still, Dahlia can't resist the allure of the concert stage and meeting up with the fans after all this time. So does he consider himself a proud survivor of the punk wars? Or it's just because this is the only sorry thing he knows how to do?
"I consider myself an idiot. And a genius. And a primate. Somewhere within those three things lies the reason why I just can't stop making rock."
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