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INTERVIEW: Southern garage rockers The Dexateens

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

The good news is that our team is undefeated this year with a true freshman quarterback. The bad news is that it is about to get cold, and people in the Southern United States can’t handle the cold. 25 degrees and a little snow or ice is enough to cause complete meltdown where we live. So to answer your question, everything is business as usual. Thanks.

Can you talk to us more about your single “Teenage Hallelujah?”

I wrote this about growing up in church. I think one reason that my parents wanted me in church was because that is where all the good kids were supposed to be and that somehow I wouldn’t start drinking and doing typical teenage stuff….. but instead what happened is I partnered up with the scoundrels at church that weren’t accepted by the wealthier kids, and off we went.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

At some point I realized that the true church is a body of believers, sharing love with each other and the rest of their world, even their enemies. That is what the bridge of the song sets straight. So it’s something that I learned about what the church really is, and I wanted to put it into a song… its not a place with doors.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Absolutely and it stars a bunch of monkeys…. Not joking.

Why naming the album after this track in particular?

Matt Patton suggested it. It seems fitting after we have been idle for so long.

How was the recording and writing process?

For some of it, we recorded bass, drums, my guitar and a live vocal. Then we went in and trashed everything out with percussion and guitars. Seems like the rock and roll stuff was all tracked live. That’s pretty much the way we record when possible. Quickly, in the moment; working for a vibe. It can get dangerous though when we have three guitars and we are tracking all at once. Its easy to loose the song in the chaos of three ripping guitars, so we are learning that sometimes the song does better if you treat it one guitar at a time.

What was it like to work with Bronson Tew and how did that relationship develop?

He has become a close friend of the band. He knows what we are trying to do and he feels like a member of the band to me. He knows when to stay out of the way and when to be involved. We usually start work about 1 and sometimes we go hard to 3 or 4 in the morning. He knows things can get pretty intense with our band, and he obviously feeds off of it.

How much did he get to influence the album?

Oh a pretty good bit. Before Patton bought Dial Back Studios, Bronson would bring his van full of recording gear to wherever we were. He tried to make sure that the overdubs were eccentric and creative. There were a few songs that could have gone totally Stones country vibe, and we have done that before so he would suggest things that might make it new for us and the listener. I remember at one point he had us filling up empty beer bottles to alter the pitch of the glass when you blew on them. I don’t thing we ended up using the track, but you get the idea. He was taking us out there.

What did you learn from your five year hiatus that you are putting in action now?

Well, I learned that I can’t live happily without making music. On the other hand it’s also hard to be happy being on the road when you are in love with your wife and you miss your kids. You know, now that we quit touring we are having to build things back up. That has been humbling for me, but I think that I am the kind of person that needs to be humbled from time to time. So I am accepting that and trying my best to make sure that every show we play whips ass and every time we make a move it gets maximum benefit. We plan on getting things back up and making our band the most kick ass rock and roll band in the land. Period.

How has the new member addition influenced the band’s sound?

Taylor is a perfectionist and he rules it. He is sort of a mad scientist in a lot of ways. He likes to experiment and do stuff that people say you’re not supposed to do musically. He played guitar on my solo record and in about 3 hours he played on 12 songs and all the parts are freaking weird and angular. He said if I had given him a chance to learn the songs that he would have resorted to something more conventional. I thought it was testimony to the fact that he has the ability to get completely out of the box. I think that is really what every band needs is a member that isn’t trying to be Jimmy Page or Kieth Richards. Taylor and Brad both have a clear identity that belong to each of them and I think that is cool as hell.

What aspect of the South’s music and culture did you get to explore on this record?

If you are Southern and if you really live it, then i think it just comes with the package. I think if you have to go exploring for it, then it must not be close at hand. I did however enjoy making fun of Kid R*** and I think its fair to say that he does indeed explore Southern music and culture. Our song “Alabama Redneck” is written from perspective of a character who holds the song “Sweet Home Alabama” up as a sacred song, and when this character hears the Kid R*** song, “All Summer Long,” this character has a complete come apart. We made a video for it and this thing is gonna be absurd. Can’t wait to finish it. Think of a silly Ray Stevens video from the 80s and you will have an idea of whats coming next. And we love ya, Kid.

Any plans to hit the road?

Just did a little Texas run. Next month we will be in Charlottesville on November 10th,  New York at Mercury Lounge on the 11th, and November 13th we will be in Boston at Atwoods.

What else is happening next in The Dexateens’ world?

We are making a record called STRUGGLER. We want to get this thing out ASAP so we can make up for some lost time. We are about to take the title back.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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