Still Ripping and Rocking
With the release of their 17th Album, Dash Rip Rock keeps it interesting
By Kasey EmasPosted Dec 19, 2012
Dash Rip Rock has been rocking out for nearly three decades and continues to produce new material for fans. The band’s new album, Black Liquor, was released last month on San Francisco’s Alternative Tentacles Records, and has been praised as one of Dash Rip Rock’s best works yet.
Bill “Diamond” Davis is Dash Rip Rock’s founder, frontman, guitarist, singer and main songwriter.
As a DJ at KLSU while he attended LSU, Davis fell in love with roots rock and rockabilly – a mix of old country and roots rock. This sub-culture inspired Davis to form his own local version of roots rock’s greats.
The product, Dash Rip Rock, was born in the summer of 1984. The name has a dual meaning. It is most obviously a clear description of what they are doing.
“We’re ripping, rocking and dashing,” Davis said. “It’s a high energy crazy rock band.”
The name also originates from the character Dash Riprock on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Dash was known for his constant courting of Elly May, who was played by Baton Rouge local Donna Douglas.
The band has been called an ocean of genres over the years. Considered one of the founders of the country punk genre – a mix between country music and rockabilly – Dash Rip Rock is hard to pigeon hole when it comes to one genre because the music floats between a bit of southern rock, alternative rock and punk. It is all accented with high-energy roots rock.
The band currently has three members, with Davis being the only original musician. The bass player, Patrick Johnson, is from Baton Rouge and has been with the band for about six years. Drummer John Value is from Chicago.
Since Davis wrote and sings most of the band’s songs, it has made it easier to sustain the band’s authentic sound. Dash Rip Rock still performs the same high energy live shows as they did nearly 30 years ago, but there has been experimentation with several different producers on the band’s recorded work.
With Dash Rip Rock’s 17th album, Black Liquor, released in November, the band showcases its local roots.
“This new record brings us back to what we originally started as. It has a little bit of everything,” Davis said. “This new one is sort of getting back to square one. It’s full circle.”
The band worked with one of its biggest fans on its new album: respected Louisiana producer Ben Mumphrey, who used to play Dash Rip Rock songs on his guitar when he was 12 years old.
“I was really blown away at how great they still sounded,” Mumphrey said about seeing the band play in New Orleans in 2006.
Their collaboration on Black Liquor was a proud moment for Mumphrey.
“I’m very satisfied. It came across exactly how I wanted it to,” Mumphrey said.
Mumphrey claims the new album is a cross between ZZ Top and Motorhead, with a Led Zeppelin flavor.
“Bill’s guitar is really showcased on this record,” Mumphrey said. “It’s much heavier than anything they have done before. I’m very proud of this record and think it’s truly one of the best rock albums ever to come out of Louisiana.”
For Black Liquor, Davis focused on keeping it a locally themed record based in Louisiana.
“On the new record, my inspiration is coming from having lived in Louisiana for so long and just seeing the good things and the bad things about the state,” he said. “There’s a lot of beauty and a lot of tragedy here in Louisiana and that is sort of what Black Liquor is based on.”
There’s been a heavy Creedence Clearwater Revival inspiration through Dash Rip Rock’s music, along with hippy, heavy metal band, Pop Liquor.
“They are kind of a forgotten Louisiana institution from the 70’s in Baton Rouge,” Davis said. “With Black Liquor, I am trying to resurrect the spirit of Pop Liquor.”
This year Dash was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame alongside fellow rockers Better Than Ezra and Cowboy Mouth (headed by former Dash Rip Rock drummer Fred LeBlanc).
“You look at the hall of fame and see this really wide, broad cross section of Louisiana music. It’s good it doesn’t focus on one kind of thing,” Davis said. “We feel like we are now part of that family and we are trying to act accordingly since we have this respectable honor now.”
Regardless of any success, Dash Rip Rock remains grounded.
“Our success has been spread out over the years and sort of marginal, and the amount of success we have is perfectly fitted to what I expect from the band and my personality. I’ve had no problem being humble. I’m totally grounded,” Davis said. “I expect for us to be able to mature and continue on and never get too cocky.”
Dash Rip Rock
Mud and Water