Sunday, December 14, 2008

Peter Cortner of Dag Nasty on The Crucial Three


Dag Nasty at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

I've been talking with Peter Cortner, Dag Nasty's 3rd frontman and one of the geniuses behind Dag's "Wig Out at Denko's" album. As much as I love the Dave Smalley "Can I Say" era of Dag, I almost equally love the "Wig Out" era with Peter. I was able to catch Dag Nasty on their "Field Day" tour at City Gardens, which I believe was in May of 1988. Without question, Dag's set that night was and always has been a highlight of my show going years. My only regret from that night was not buying a "Field Day" tour shirt and those Dag Tags they were selling. I've probably searched high and low for those Dag Tags over the past 20 years and have never come across one person that still has them.

Although I have never come across those Dag Tags, I did find Peter and thought it would be cool to get to the bottom of a few Dag related mysteries. The first thing I asked Peter about was the story behind the song, "The Crucial Three". I know I've always wondered who "The Crucial Three" were, so it's pretty cool to get the story straight from the horse's mouth. Expect more content from Peter Cortner in future DCXX entries. Thanks again to Peter for sharing this with us. -Tim DCXX

The Crucial Three is about an intensely fucked-up relationship I had in high school between me, my best friend and my girlfriend (at the time). The two of them and I are the "three," and the song is about how trying to forget about them meant forgetting a lot about myself. The "I don't wanna lose" line is about loss of identity, respect, friends and memory, as well as simply feeling like a loser. I wish the song was about something cooler; if you thought it was about Ian, Rollins and Jesus Christ then forget I said anything!

18 comments:

david said...

I LOVE Wig Out and Field Day and have always preferred The Peter led Dag to Smalley. But you have to ask him about the mocking versions of Under Your Influence and I've Heard on Field Day. Those songs have always left a bad taste in my mouth, but otherwise Field Day is very underrated IMO

Jake Jacobs said...

No other album that I can think of is more deserving of a remastering and re-release than Field Day.

AP said...

My number one wish for Radio Silence was a photograph of someone's Dag Tags, like world peace, they can't exist. Such a downer, no one has them, we asked as many Dagmen as we could...bum out.

Wig Out is an unreal record, stoked on Cortner content.

Anonymous said...

who has "wig out" tattooed on thier collar bones? this guy!

xchri$riotx

Sqid said...

Someone needs to reissue 85-86 as well and get that up on itunes !!!!

Anonymous said...

does anyone realize how in this photo, dog is standing near a bass drum that is at most 24 inches high, and yet it appears to be about half his height? from my estimation, this means he was no taller than 4'4. help?

benjamin said...

One of my first punk experiences was reading a classified in the back of MRR from Peter Cortner looking for Dag Nasty stuff. I wrote to him and he sent me a 120 minute tape of all of Dag Nasty's material. As much as I enjoy Wig Out and Field Day, the Shawn Brown demos are just so awesome. I would love to see a rerelease of all of Dag Nasty's material...especially those demos!

benj said...

on daghouse.com, you can find a lot of great rare songs that never appeared on albums, including a recording of this particular CG show in its entirety. the vox are way higher than anything else but it's still great to hear peter's voice in a live recording.

Anonymous said...

On this tour they played a bar/punk club, 21 and over in Los Angeles called The Anti Club. Shitty move guys. I was old enough but still, no class. I have boycotted them ever since, and why does no one ever give Brian Baker shit for his OCD need to 'get over' back in the day? I'm punk, wait...ok now I'm hair metal and in Junkyard (which I went to go see at some metal club with 9 kids there, wore my Dag Nasty T and he pointed me out, laughed, and took many swigs of his beer)... Whoops, I mean I might go on tour with REM, oh wait.... now I'm punk again and in Bad Religion. Clown ass. Suck it. I'm glad you got a pie in the face from The Sloth Crew!

Jake Jacobs said...

Clarification: no other album that I can think of is more IN NEED of a remastering and re-release than Field Day. The original CD mix is godawful.

Anonymous said...

Do you even know what a "re-mastering" does? because judging by your complaints it seems like you have no idea

Ben Edge said...

Anti-Club sucked. Once I went to a show there that said "ALL AGES" on the flyer, and the woman who ran the club, said, "No. I won't let you in. You're too small. You'll get hurt." What the fuck is that about? I was in tears. My dad was cool enough to go back to the club with me and the witch let me in. No one as good as Dag played. It was UXA.

JD said...

Seriously Peter, we need to go to Ciscos.

p. albert said...

David, I don’t blame you for disliking the “I’ve Heard/Under Your Influence” mess on Field Day. We had been doing the different vocal arrangement of “Influence” live for a while before recording Field Day, and we thought it was different enough to warrant putting on tape, perhaps as a b-side. However, I ruined what might have been a pretty good version of the song by insisting on adding on the dumb “I’ve Heard” bit with its jab at Government Issue and John Stabb, as well as the Smalley jokes in “Influence” (especially the “What Now” rap at the end). In defense of the rest of the band, they didn’t think Dave or John would take it as anything but good-natured. I don’t think they realized that the joke stemmed from some pretty deep-rooted insecurities on my part about my value to the band. I’m on good terms with both Dave and John now, and I think they’ve forgiven me. But if ever get the chance to remix Field Day, I’ll have to give some serious thought to leaving that stuff out, or at least including a disclaimer. Better yet, maybe a third version of “Under Your Influence” could be recorded with Dave and John, and they can add whatever tribute they think appropriate.

And to “Anonymous” re: Brian . . . I can’t speak for how Brian may have behaved back then. I know I certainly acted like major jackass most of the time, and treated some people pretty poorly. I like to think I’ve changed over the years, as most of us do. In any case, I think that if you have the chance to spend 5 minutes with Brian now, you’ll find he’s a nice a guy as you’ll ever meet.

Jake Jacobs said...

Clarification part 2: no other album that I can think of is more in need of a REMIXING and re-release than Field Day. The original CD mix is godawful.

david said...

P.Albert, I appreciate your comments on this. I like the FD version of Under Your Influence up to the end, which again came across as one of those "look at how mature we are now" kind of statements. I am sure the whole album must have had that feel for some people. I think for me, this album came out just as I was really getting into hardcore, so maybe I was more open to it...and the other bands that seemed to be charting similar territory: GI,Soulside,Uniform Choice, 7 Seconds.

I always appreciate hearing feedback from you on your time with Dag, as it never fails to be thoughtful and humble. And I meant it when I said that the records yo are on, are the true Dag records, as I feel that your vocals/lyrics were a better fit than Shawn or Dave's. No offense to Dave (I do of course love Can I Say) but I have a hard time considering the reunion albums as true Dag records. Most might disagree with that, but it's ok.

I also wonder to what extent the production choices on Field Day make it sound so different than Wig Out. The songs themselves seem similar in most ways.

I hope you can contribute more to Double Cross. I would love to hear more about your time with the band,particularly lyrical ideas behind songs like "Typical Youth" and "Things That Make Sense".

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