Holding the title of the first ever Australian act to be signed to a worldwide deal with Epitaph, days of scrubbing dishes and boxing Big Macs are long behind the boys of Dangerous! who, after a 2011 international debut at Download Festival, are on their way back home for a run of national shows in support of their debut album, Teenage Rampage. Frontman Tommy Lofts runs BLUNT through how the band stumbled across producer Ulrich Wild’s home phone number online and why he thinks when it comes to band members, Slipknot have got it right.
The Dangerous! sound is like old-school rock ‘n’ roll. What made you want to bring that back to the public interest?
Nothing was really intentional, we just all grew up on different types of music and then we got together and started writing songs. We’d all been playing in bands around Adelaide for a bunch of years and we kind of just met each other and formed a supergroup, like a super boy-band male group. It wasn’t really preconceived or anything like that, it just kind of happened and we love it. We love the record and we love it when other people love it; it’s a good feeling. You know, it’s not for everyone, but the people that do like it are really supportive and dedicated to us, and that’s really good, so we’re happy.
It makes you want to party. Is that what you guys were going for with it?
I don’t know, you say that the record makes you wanna party, if you come hang out with me you might not wanna party, it might just be the record. We’re not necessarily a party band, but we make happy, good-sounding music that inspires people and if it makes them want to get off their chairs and start jumping up and down and dance and have a good time and sing a long, then that’s wicked. We dabble in a good time, but I wouldn’t say that we’re a party band. We’ve had a lot of good times and we were lucky enough to go over to the UK last year and do a bunch of touring over there and play some really big festivals and it was just a really, really good time and we got to meet a lot of great people and play to a whole new different style of fans over there and a different culture and different type of people, and that’s kind of opened up our minds and broadened our horizons in regards to the way we look at the band. We were very lucky to do that and it’s just really cool to be amongst other great bands that you’ve grown up with and then you know, being able to share the stage with bands that you kind of idolised when you were growing up, so it was just a really great experience.
How do these national tours that you’re about to do here shape up to festivals?
This tour that we’re about to embark on is the first tour we’ve done since the album’s been out, so we don’t know what to expect. You know, we’re really excited. We’re excited to do stuff in our home town, in our home country, and finally have the album out. It’s gonna be a really strong, rewarding feeling to be back home and playing on your home turf, playing to your home crowds and celebrating what you’ve done, which is the CD and the songs and just enjoying it, you know?
You guys were the first ever Australian act to be signed to a worldwide deal with Epitaph, do you find it weird being so well-received overseas?
We’ve always been well-received here, this is our home town and this is where we come from, but the Australian music industry is 2% of the world’s market, so there’s gonna be more opportunities overseas to do this and to do that, but that’s a whole other side of things, you know? In regards to being received, we have great, loyal fans down here and it’s always a real pleasure to tour in Australia and be playing to your home town crowd.
So many Australian bands struggle to crack the international market, but you guys seem to have done it.
I think the market over there is very, very different and a lot bigger, so I guess in a way it’s hard to crack, but there’s a lot more people over there, so there’s a lot more fans to be made, so if you think of it in that sense it should be easy for anybody to do that because you’ve got more of an opportunity. It’s always going to be very similar to how you’re received in Australia. If people like you in your backyard playing in your shed and your friends are like, “I like that song, I like your band”, that’s cool, other people are gonna like it too, so I think generally it just starts at that level. If you’re onto something good, I think it’s gonna be well-received anywhere.
Saying how you were starting off small, you worked with Ulrich Wild (Deftones, Pantera) on this album. How did that come about?
That’s a funny story because we had a whole bunch of producers that we could’ve worked with on the album. We had a whole lot of Australian producers we wanted to work with, and the label was forwarding producers for us to work with on the album and it just came to it that we found Ulrich on the back of one of our CDs. We went through our CD collection, we picked up the Pantera album and were like “Ulrich Wild”, and then we picked up a Deftones album and we were like, “Ulrich Wild. This name keeps popping up”, and then we found him on the Internet. It didn’t come from the label, it didn’t come from management or a booking agency or anything like that, we got on the net and looked him up and got his email and emailed him saying how we wanted him to do our album. We sent him tracks and stuff and he wasn’t replying to our emails, and somehow, somewhere along the line, we got his home phone number off the net and our drummer Jarrad (Lee) just called his home phone and was like, “Dude, what’s up? It’s Dangerous! from Australia” and he was like, “What?” and we were like, “Do our album dude, what’s going on? Write back to our emails.” And we made it happen from there and I just think that’s cool as shit. It’s something for kids out there and younger bands to take on board because if you want something to happen, you can make it happen. You’ve got the Internet which is the strongest tool in the world, so get out there and find out what you want to do and do it because it’s possible.
Yeah, if at first you don’t succeed, ring the bastard’s home phone.
I thought it was “pick yourself up and try again”? I like that one though.
Since the release of Teenage Rampage, have you had the chance to start working on any new material yet?
There’s always stuff lying around because when we got signed, we all quit our jobs, so we’ve got all this time on our hands and naturally, you just pick up a guitar and start writing, so there’s always stuff in the works. But you know, the album’s come out, this is the first Australian tour we’re doing in support of it, so we’re focusing everything on that at this point.
What kind of jobs did you guys used to have?
Well, think of all the shit jobs you could ever do, and we’ve done them all. Actually, what’s the first shit job that comes to mind?
I’d have to say the Golden Arches: Maccas.
Done it. Done it! Our drummer Jarrad worked at McDonald’s for a couple of years I think. But washing cars, scrubbing dishes, we’ve done it all. I think as we got older though we kind of moved up to the more respectable jobs like retail [laughs]. We’ve always dedicated ourselves to the band and having a job was always a second option for us, it was never a fallback plan, we always wanted this to happen, so it was never a big deal for us to move up the ranks and get a good job and get paid well. It was always the band and we’ve always kind of focused our energy on that and managing ourselves and managing our careers and just trying to get the most out of it.
So many bands always seem to put the band second.
That was never the vibe for us. It was always put the band first and no side projects or girlfriends on tour [laughs]. In all honesty, we’re not really that anal about things, but it’s good to have four like-minded individuals and it’s good to have everyone on the same page, because if you’ve got four people all working for the same idea, you’re gonna get there four times as fast. In saying that, it took us fucking ages to get to where we are, so maybe we should have formed a band like Slipknot and had more people involved. I think that’s probably a good word of wisdom: if you wanna start a band, the more people, the merrier, because it’s hard work and it’s a long slog, so get as many people as you can working for you.
Catch Dangerous! at a venue near you on their upcoming tour dates:
Thu Mar 15th – Next Nightclub, Melbourne
Fri Mar 16th – The Patch, Wollongong
Sat Mar 17th – Spectrum, Sydney
Wed Mar 21st – Afends Warehouse Party, Byron Bay
Fri Mar 23rd – Monster Madness, Surfers Paradise
Sat Mar 24th – Kings Beach, Caloundra
Thu Mar 29th – Snitch Club, Brisbane
Sat Mar 31st – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
Thu Apr 5th – Gee Whizz (Central Club), Gosford
Sat Apr 7th – Northern Star, Newcastle
By Emily Swanson.