'Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, ... It's Dexter Danger!'
Dexter Danger was born in the city of San Francisco, CA, in the beginning of 2001 in true D.I.Y. fashion, having utilized creative Internet networking techniques to gather a vast local fan base that allowed them to sell out all ages venues and youth centers in the Bay Area. Their stage presence commands attention, performing intense, almost magical rock-influenced punk songs for their fans.
Their live performances gained a honorable reputation among the more prominent promoters in the bay area and soon after were invited to perform at such clubs and venues as Slim's, The Great American Music Hall, and The Pound, sharing the stage with such acts as The Aquabats, Rx Bandits, Yellowcard, Rufio, Tsunami Bomb, and many more. As word of mouth spread, they later were asked to perform on the Drive Thru Records stage on the Vans Warped Tour in summer of 2002.
The band (Aymen Trouble - Vocals, Guitar; Miguel Ceja – Guitars, Vocals; Isaiah Sanchez - Bass, Vocals; Russ Akin - Drums) later put out two releases on their own: an EP entitled It's Not Pretty Being Easy, and their debut full length album Forever Broken, both produced by Andy Ernst (Green Day, Rancid, AFI). The tracks "Access Denied," "Lose It All," and "The Second I Asked For," made their way onto mainstream radio, including Live 105 KITS FM, the largest modern rock station in the Bay Area, as well as various college radio stations across the United States.
The band felt comfortable with the crew at Orange Peal records and signed a recording contract with them in March 2003. Later that year they released the EP Written In Blood and embarked on their first national tour with the Berlin Project in October of the same year.
After continuing to tour nationally for the rest of 2004, the band went back in the studio in January of 2005 to record Hellafornia at Popsmear Studios in San Rafael, CA. The album was produced by Scott Llamas and Dexter Danger, and mastered by Dominick Maita (Fall Out Boy) at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, CO.
Chatting recently with MIGUEL CEJA, lead guitarist for Dexter Danger, I first wondered where the bands name had originated? "In the late nineties, young boys with broken hearts needed a hero. A young Aymen Trouble (still in high school), saw this need and decided to
take it upon himself to create a new type of hero. One who fights off evil girls and defends young boys hearts. He planned for months of intense training: hours of martial arts, a strict diet,
hightening his senses, and transforming his body into a well oiled
machine. He would, in turn, desguise his identity and become - Dexter
Danger. When all that stuff didn't work out he decided to just draw the character instead."
What else could it so easily have been?! "Kabuki High and Spoiled Rotten. Spoiled Rotten was actually Aymen's old
band. But after a year or so, he found out that the name was already
taken by another band. So Dexter Danger seemed like the way to go. Kabuki High would have been cool if we were ska! I just think the idea of being named after a super hero (and one that you've created no less) is pretty far out."
With the new album entitled Hellafornia, I'm wondering if you
seriously think that CA is the true Hell on Earth?! "Hell no, have you ever been on Space Mountain?! Have you ever eaten at In 'N Out? Have you ever seen San Francisco at night from the top of Dolores Park? No way,
San Jose. We love California. Actually, in the bay area where we all
grew up, the term "hella" was coined. "Hella" is just another word for
"really". Like instead of saying, "that was really fun", we say, "that was hella fun". So it's mainly a northern California thing. We used to get a lot of weird looks when we first started touring and we used
the word, because a lot of people hadn't heard it. But now with
'Hellafornia' out, we're starting to hear it outside of California more
and more. So I guess we're just doing our part in spreading the word!"
Which one song on the new album encapsulates Dexter Danger at their
musical finest? "Is there any way to answer this question and not come off sounding cocky? Haha. Well, there are songs we feel capture our over all sound pretty well. Songs like, 'The Rise and Fall of Erica Vallejo' and 'System Overload' gives each instrument a spot or two to shine. But we're all happy the way each song turned out on the record. We
worked mad crazy on each song, so it'd be weird to say that this song or
that song captures our sound the best. So you tell us!"
Being an independent artist always has its risks, so what has been
the biggest risk that you as a band have undertaken thus far? "Just being on the road is a risk. We put our health at risk, both physical and mental. You leave behind loved ones, school, jobs, etc., to eat tuna out of a can and live in a box with three other dudes who usually smell less than Zest fully clean, all for the love of the art you've created. Money's tight, gas prices are high, and all you want to do
is put on a clean change of underwear. So it can get a little crazy at
times, to say the least."
It's been claimed in the media that you are the new breed of
co-called 'Pop-Punk' music ... would you agree with that? "What's 'pop-punk'? Just kidding. I think we've always left the
genre-ing to the critics and fans. We hate putting ourselves in any one
catagory. There's a gagillion and one bands out there that could be listed under "pop-punk", but each one is still different and could bleed into other genres as well. We just consider ourselves rock, I
guess. Whether you want to call us 'pop-punk', punk, country, easy
listening, whatever, it's all good as far as we're concerned. Just come
out to a show! Did I avoid the question?=D"
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover if asked ... and why?! "Karma karma karma karma "Karma Chameleon"!!!! I'd die if we could do that. It's just a fun, feel good song. Nothing wrong with a little Culture Club every now and then. Although, I'm not too sure how the other guys would feel about that one. So we'd probably have to keep that song in the "maybe" pile. We all sort of have bands and
artists that we love, but at the same time, we each branch out into our
own influences - which is pretty cool when it comes down to writing.
But it make's it hard when deciding which cover to do. Screw it, we're doing that song!"
If there were just 3 words that described Dexter Danger, what would
they be? "Crazy, Sexy, Cool. We actually used to cover "Waterfalls" by TLC. But this was years ago when the band first started. We've been known to bring it back every now and
then though. Wait, no, I take that back, those three words are
perfect. BUUUUT, since there are four of us, we need to add one more
word. So I'd say it'd have to be crazy, sexy, cool, and ... CRANKED!"
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other KNOWN musicians to aid you in the project (and no one from your
own band!), who would they be, what instruments would they play, and
what would the name of the NEW song be?! "Jason from Audio Karate on guitar, Dave Grohl on drums AND vocals (hah, I know that's cheating, but I don't care - you know he could do it too), I'd put Paul McCartney on
bass (muahahahah), and I'd play rhythm guitar. I'd call the song "Holy
Sh*t, I'm Recording A Song With Jason from Audio Karate, Dave Grohl, and
Paul McCartney Right Now". It's sort of catchy, no? I know what you're thinking, "you'd have a Beatle in the band and not have him sing? What's up with that?" Well, as a matter of fact, I'd have BOTH Dave and Paul switch off on vocals. In fact, I'd let them do pretty much what ever they wanted. Just as long as I have a truck load of Beatles and Foo Fighters
memorabilia and whole lot of pens."
Finally, I like Penguins, ... do you? "Yes, and someone recently sent me the funiest little video ever. It's two penguins standing on the edge of an ice berg. They're looking into the water just in front of
them. Then the one on the right puts his little flipper behind the other
one and pushes him in. Penguins are evil. So on second thought, no, I
don't like penguins!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Dexter Danger's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: At which studio was Hellafornia recorded in San Rafael, CA?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 31st with your answer and the subject title 'DEXTER DANGER SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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