Thanks so much to Jase “Blackie” White for the great great interview! The Dazy Chains are one of my highlights this year, as I only discovered their songs almost twenty years after! But that’s no problem, it has been really worth tracking down some of their stuff! I was very thrilled to get in touch with Jason, who played bass and also did vocals, and even happier that he was willing to do an interview! Please enjoy! And check for more stuff in their myspace!
++ Hi Jase, thanks so much for doing this interview? How are things now? Any big party planned for New Years?
Well to be honest I haven’t thought about it. My partner and I have a 2 month old baby so these things tend to slip off the radar. I’d actually love to get out of the city and hang out by a beach for a few weeks. It’s getting really hot in Melbourne.
++ I’ve been looking for Dazy Chains stuff for so long, once I got from a friend this Australian Pop! compilation he made me and included “Back to Bed” which I totally loved, what a great track, with jangly guitars, with brilliant melodies. But I could never find information online, and I wonder, why a band with such tunes is lurking in obscurity? And where did inspiration came for you?
Glad you like it! I think you have to remember that we were writing that stuff back in the early 90’s and there was no internet. Dazy Chains had a very loyal following but it didn’t really stretch beyond Australia. We were very inspired by Brit Pop and I think Sean’s guitar work was very inspired by Johnny Marr from The Smiths. For the record we have a myspace page now!
++ So let’s do some background information, how did the band start? How did you all know each other?
We were friends at high school. Our first band was Flowers in the Fridge and that kind of became Dazy Chains. We started playing at parties and that just turned into gigs at pubs.
++ I notice there was different lineups, comparing the Daze of Our Lives EP to the myspace, especially on the drums position. What happened, why this revolving door of drummers?
Classic Spinal Tap situation. We did go through plenty of drummers. They were often poached for bigger bands. It was frustrating because we would tour a lot and just get a drummer up to speed then a bigger band would turn up and offer them fame and fortune and off they would go…
We also changed styles through the years and had a kind of folk pop phase where we enlarged the line up to include violins and keyboards.
Eventually we ended up as we started as a really solid rock 3 piece.
++ Why did you choose the name Dazy Chains? Was it easy to name the band?
I bought the name from a friend for half a gin and tonic. I just really liked it and it seems to suit our guitar pop style. About a year after we started using the name another ten bands came along and used Daisy somewhere in their name as well. It was confusing. There was: Daisy Chainsaw, Exploding Daisies…
++ Now you are in Melbourne, but The Dazy Chains were from Sydney/Wollongong, right? I don’t think I know much about the late 80s, early 90s scene there, compared to say Perth or Melbourne. What other bands you enjoyed then and what were your favourite venues?
Well this takes me back. The Sydney scene in particular was thriving until the mid 90’s when a lot of venues closed their doors to live music. We had a major influx of poker machines in clubs and pubs. It kind of killed the scene. I don’t think Sydney ever recovered. We played with plenty of bands: The Templebears, Glide, Rat Cat, Tall Tales and True, The Hummingbirds, The Clouds.
Our favourite venue was the Annandale Hotel. It’s one of the only ones that still survives as a venue today.
++ Did you gig a lot? Are there any particular gigs you remember fondly?
Heaps!! We were on the road all the time and probably pushed it too hard in the end. There is only so much time you can spend together in a mini van but we did have a lot of fun and get to see plenty of Australia.
++ Who were Yellow Music? How did you end up on that label?
Well its easy to see now that they were a record company that didn’t have it’s act together. All the right ideas but no experience and follow through. I think they got stunned by the working costs of record company promotion and publicity. They didn’t last long. They kind of took us down with them.
++ What was the full discography of the band by the way? Would there be some sort of retrospective release someday perhaps? would be fantastic!
A retrospective would be great but I have no idea how to find the masters of some of that later material – particularly the unreleased album. I certainly have access to all the early recordings so we might do something along those lines. Even if it is just a digital release.
1988 – Banana Nightmare -Single (vinyl only)
1990 – Back to Bed/Almost Imperfect – single (vinyl only)
1991 – Daze of Our Lives (EP) CD
1992 – Bite Your Tounge (Single) CD
1993 – If You Go (single) CD
1993 – Who Stole My Bike? (album – Unreleased) CD
++ How were the recording sessions of the Dazy Chains? Were they very strict, let’s record and get it over? Or maybe they were just a big party with beer and pizza? Any anecdotes you could share?
I think they were hard work. We did have fun and there was lots of beer and pizza but I remember there were times when we would sleep under the mixing desk so that we could get straight back into it when we woke up. We had a great producer, Robbie Rowlands who we still use now with car stereo wars. He has always been a very creative thinker. Fun to work with. I remember one night we miked up the table tennis table and rolled billiard balls along it to kind of get this thunder sound.
++ I’m listening right now to Precious Circle, what a great song. But I wonder, which circle is you wanted to get in? Was it some sort of social circle? or what is the song about?
Well this is one of Sean’s songs that I love too. So I can’t really say. I think it was to do with changing social circles. I love that the mandolin solo turns into a full on thrashed out guitar ending. He use to do that live with a mandolin and guitar. Great to see.
++ “Influences: all things guitar pop”. I love that. What are or were your favourite guitar pop bands? How do you feel about the term indiepop?
Well I’m never a fan of pigeonholing anything but we were called jangle pop and guitar pop. What ever works I guess.
Major influences would include: The Smiths, The Cure, Violent Femmes, The Sundays, The Beatles and heaps of local stuff that probably would register with anyone overseas.
++ What was for you the biggest highlight of the Dazy Chains?
I think our last show was pretty great. We had friends jump on stage and a kind of super group formed to play March of the Green Men which was the loudest song we ever played. Usually the best gigs were the little ones in country towns where the audience went bananas!
++ So what happened? Why did the band split up? What did you all do after?
Well classic indie burn out really. Our record company expected us to keep touring interstate and we felt exhausted and wanted to just focus of a few gigs while we wrote new songs. We had toured constantly as I mentioned earlier and it really is a difficult lifestyle to maintain. Eventually there was show down with the record company and they basically pulled the album that was due for release. It crushed us and we just had to stop. We needed to have some time off which is exactly what we did. I did plenty of travelling and moved to Melbourne. Sean kept writing songs and stayed in Sydney for a few more years. We eventually teamed up again in Melbourne with car stereo wars.
++ Nowadays you are in a band called Car Stereo Wars, care to tell me a bit about it? And how much of a departure it is from Dazy Chains?
Yes it’s quite different to Dazy Chains. Car stereo wars are coming more from a studio based experiment. All that touring kind of made playing live not so important. It was just great fun to be writing and recording again. Car stereo wars has a very relaxed feel to the song writing. It’s probably because we grew up and slowed down a bit. Alyssa’s female vocals are another obvious difference. It nice to be in a band and not be the main vocalist.
++ Thanks so much for doing this interview, anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for caring! Dazy Chains recently played an acoustic show that will probably end up on our myspace page. Keep watching. Also car stereo wars will be touring the US later in 2010. Can and say hi!
Thanks, over and out