The scoundrels are back: Dallas Crane

If you were a live music fan of the rock ‘n’ roll variety in the early 2000s, chances are you saw Melbourne four-piece Dallas Crane at a pub somewhere. Likely as a support act for Aussie rock royalty like You Am I or Regurgitator, even claiming the title of “best band in the country,” according to Tim Rogers. In 2004, with supports slots for The Church, Nick Cave and The Black Keys and shows at Homebake and Big Day Out under the belt, they released their self-titled album to critical acclaim. It debuted in the Australian ARIA Top 40 charts and was nominated for three ARIA Awards.

And now they’re back, doing what they do best. Dallas Crane are on the road this summer to support their first studio album in nine years, Scoundrels. Blank’s editor had the chance to fire off a few questions to none other than Dave Larkin.

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Where on earth have you been for nine years?
Well, we just had to take a little break I guess. We needed to get away from the same old and try some different things to get the music and the fun side ticking over again. Best thing we ever did! This album has been incredibly joyous to put together.

It seems fitting that 20 years after forming, you’re on the road again, with a new studio album under your belt. I’m sure a lot has changed during those two decades.

The industry is a very different place now from when we started. In a way the death of the record industry has yielded an even battleground, but getting things off the ground takes an enormous effort from artists now. I’m not sure it’s any better or worse than it was when we started. It’s always been a shit fight one way or another. Lack of support and opportunity is certainly teaching young musos to get their act together on a business front. We’re lucky we don’t have any stupid expectations with Dallas Crane. We’re just doing it because we love it. As long as folks buy tickets, we’ll be there for them.

How have you guys changed over that 20 year period? And how has this impacted on your songwriting / recording processes?
We’ve matured like anyone matures through time I guess. We made some pretty average decisions along the way leading into our time off, but we’ve only brought back the things that matter in making bands a good thing. We don’t give a stuff about ARIAs or getting played on Triple j or anything like that. That stuff will destroy you. We’re just trying to impress each other with our songs and hopefully pass it on to our fans. The universe can sort out the rest.

Tell me about the band’s record label, Nylon Sounds? Any awesome new acts we should keep an ear out for?
Nah! Nylon Sounds is really nothing more than a logo at this stage. In time we will add more to the catalogue but it was our opportunity to come out and do things exactly how we wanted to do them. We went through that whole corporate machine with the last couple of records and at times got caught up in all the wrong conversations about furthering the band. It was all crap. The only way to further your band is to get really good at what you do and let the rest of the world decide what’s next for you. Once the baby’s on the steps of the orphanage, all you’ve got is prayers.

You’ve seen the inside of hundreds of surburban and regional pubs and clubs in Australia. What are some of your favourites? Any memorable Gold Coast gigs?
Australia’s full of great pubs – I wouldn’t know where to start. Goldy always threw up good times for us. We used to play the Cooly Hotel a fair bit and had some raucous affairs there. Tim Rogers and band joined Dallas Crane on a national tour once and we’d routinely sit back stage every night watching the MC5 live on video totally penting ourselves up for the show. It was great! We’d both go out there and try and blow each other off stage. Good times indeed!

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Dallas Crane hit Miami Tavern Shark Bar on Friday 12 February.

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