Monday, June 29, 2009

Dan O'Mahony Part V

Dan O'Mahony, Photo by: Joe Foster

More Dan O and another damn good read. -Tim DCXX

What was the deal behind the lyrics to "About Face"? What was the tension between you and Dubar/UC/Wishingwell? Was it a real falling out of friends or just observational type stuff? The story goes that some Unity lyrics on their 1988 LP also returned some jabs.

Now this is a band to band controversy I feel a bit more comfortable commenting on, as it involves people I was close to for years and whom I am certain have left it in the past just like I have. AKA I'm sure we'd be able to laugh about it in each other's company at this point, no hurt feelings, no bruised egos, just memories of another time. That said...

About Face was an attack on what I believed to be a dramatic shift in Dubar and Longrie's priorities. My take was part correct and well informed insider, part fascist and out of control lifestyle cop. By that I mean that when you no longer appreciate somebody's creative direction you have the right and ability to just walk away and find your inspiration elsewhere. That would have been the appropriate response via my current perspective. At the time I felt that a lot of their exploration was hinged on deception, meaning continuing to play to the same crowd and professing the same interests and message in interviews. I find no clear cut message in their later lyricism and said as much, but let's temper that with the fact that we all sort of bowed before the assumed genius of say... Fugazi, who frankly might as well have written most of their lyrics in Greek as they are desperately in need of translation.

It's like this: the song (About Face) stands up as a rather angry, strict and confining assessment of a group of young guys in a creative transition I didn't care for, but I wouldn't write it today. It was fun mimicking Dubar during the breakdown though, I think I nailed the impression.

A real falling out? Well we were never that close again, although I'd imagine it'd be water under the bridge by now. In fact we ran into each other in SF years after that era during the Mindfunk era, and had a pretty friendly conversation. Two guys in two very different places though.

I think Blood Days and/or Same Train are about yours truly, the firsts in a string of betrayal anthems from multiple sources of varying credibility aimed at this here great satan. What goes around comes around, huh?

No For An Answer, Photo by: Kent McClard

What direction did you feel yourself heading at the turn of 1990 and after the demise of NFAA? What were your own observations of the hardcore scene at the time, and what were you up to personally as you were into your early 20s? How had this changed from say, 1987?

Musically I was looking for a challenge. I was completely overasaturated with overarching minute plus thunderous intros leading into verse/chorus hardguy anthems and wanted to explore my limited range of ability more fully. Enter Kevin Murphy from Head First. Kevin and I were already friendly and had always been able to talk pretty comfortably. I remember when he gave me a 4 track cassette of what eventually became the 411 7" material... my new direction musically had arrived. Lyrically I think that examination of compassion and human interaction was the next logical step for me regardless of sound or line up, but certainly the change in line up and tone suited it well.

By this time I felt like crucial issues to my remaining energy in hardcore were being more and more marginalized in the sub-genre I was most affiliated with, while still being championed well by the Dischord types, the Bay Area labels, and countless others. My continued seperation from so called youth crew affiliations was the product of continued personal explorations more than anything else. Any artist/activist worth their salt can't afford to fear evolution, otherwise their work is basically a book report on things past.

What was the idea behind 411? How do you look back on the band and the music?

411 was about freedom and courage in terms of style and statement (sounds a little pretentious) but those are the words that occur to me. I look back on it as the most dedicated band I've been a part of. We were road warriors, practicing until our songs were water tight, and then putting everything we had into every show, playing anywhere to anyone with no fluctuation in intensity. I don't know how well the material has withstood the test of time, but the method and the ethic is something I'd kill to duplicate again.

Dan O, Photo by: Joe Foster


Anonymous said...

Great as usual. Keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

I literally love DanO. Seriously a great guy, spent some great nights at the TEN COUNT with him. one of my favorite OC'ers of all time. What up DAN!

- John LaCroix

Billy said...

I really appreciate Dan's ability to reflect on his own faults of the past. Like his maturity in recognizing how (we) were quick to judge people in the past. It is refreshing to see people being honest about themselves. The humility should be more contageous. It gives old timers an opportunity to warn new comers of pitfalls of an idealogical movement that is essentially flawed by its own contraints. There was a recent story of a guy that came across as bragging about picking on Brian Baker for changing his style...That isn't even remotely entertaining to read. It is sad.

I am obviously biased to Dan, but humility is a great quality.