Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lost Interview dept. - Paul Grace Smith of Dumbell

From the forgotten archives comes this interview I did a couple of years ago with Paul Grace Smith of the punk band, Dumbell. For whatever reason, the transcription got filed away, and essentially forgotten about until today when I rediscovered it. 

Dumbell was formed in 1996 by Smith after he departed from Sonny Vincent's Shotgun Rationale where he played with the likes of Cheetah Chrome (The Dead Boys), Greg Norton (Husker Du), Richard Hell (Television), Mo Tucker (Velvet Underground), and Bob Stinson (The Replacements). Dumbell was formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, modeled after The MC5, The Stooges, and the Velvet Underground. 

A constant on the tour circuit, Dumbell has built a huge fanbase in Europe, and is currently on tour in the United States. They end up in Smith's native Ohio on April 16, then it's off to Europe for yet another extended tour.

Dumbell: Coming to D-Town this Friday

The following interview was conducted after Dumbell's tour across Europe during the summer of 2011. Joining Smith on tour was Jamy Holliday on guitar and vox (who remains in Dumbell), Ilias Vassiliadis on drums, Magnus Sellergren (The Plastiques, Svarta Maria, The Norliss Tapes, and Call Me Greenhorn) on bass and vox. 

Tell me about the evolution of the band from the first night on tour to the final show?

It pretty much ripped from day one. The guys really did their homework, and made sure that the stuff was kicking right outta the gate.

Is there one moment that comes to mind that would define this particular tour?

Stinky sneakers? NO! It was defined for me by the fact that a bunch of guys that never met each other, and who were so fundamentally different could pull themselves together and get along.

How was the fan reception at your shows? Were there any awkward moments on stage or at venues where things got a little "weird"?

The reception was really great! We only had a few strange moments, for example the last show in Aachen Germany, there was no stage, and it definitely wasn't the kind of place where slam dancing would work. some kid knocked over a PA stack and it smashed my guitar. A nice side note is that he kid sent me 40 bucks a month to pay the repair! Sweet guy!

Paul Smith

What was the biggest moment of surprise while on this tour?

The great reception in some towns that were elusive to us over the years. Bochum, Germany, we haven't played there in a decade, and the show was a smash!

Fans can get a little crazy at times... Was there one or more fans that stick out as more memorable who attended your shows? Did you have fans following you on the entire tour or at certain legs of it?

Crazy fans, the above mentioned POGO kid, who I would say is now my pal. And we had some of my friends showing up at random shows like Bochum, Aachen, Koln, and Paris of all places. My sister and her best friend Rene joined us for a few days in France as well, and that was a real hoot!

How would you describe the typical European fan?

Just like the typical punk fan anywhere. Enthusiastic and informed about music and the history of punk.

Tell me about the other bands you played with on this tour...

The homebreakers from Italy were pretty swell, and furious people in Spain (We will do a split with them in the future.)

How would you describe most of the venues that you played in?

They ran the gamut, from squat house to upscale venue. We make it work no matter where we are!

Paul Smith and Magnus Sellergren in Orihuela, Spain in 2011
How did the set list differ from show to show... Or did it stay pretty much the same?

It stayed pretty much the same, I would omit a song here or there if i was feeling like a whimp.

What's next for Dumbell?

New album, new tours in Europe and the USA and South America!

What is the future of Dumbell and this particular line-up?...

This is sadly the only run for this lineup. Jamy stays on board, but Ilias has work related issues that limit his ability to tour. Magnus has his other projects to tend to.

Any plans for a tour in the United States?

At the time of this writing, we did a short stint in the USA, more on that later!

My apologies to Paul for holding on to this interview for so long. Maybe he will allow for a newer updated version after Europe 2013. Currently the band is Smith, Holliday, Craig Nichols, and Derek Gullet. 

Current Tour dates 2013:

  • 03.17.2013: USA-San Antonio,Texas, Nightrocker
  • 03.22.2013: USA-Detroit, Michigan, Corktown Tavern
  • 03.23.2013: USA-Lima,Ohio, Avalon Bar
  • 04.16.2013: USA-Cincinnati,Ohio, Motr Pub
  • 04.18.2013: D-Düsseldorf, The Tube
  • 04.19.2013: B-Gerouville, The Paradise
  • 04.20.2013: D-Freiburg, Rängtengteng
  • 04.21.2013: CH-Solothurn, Kofmehl
  • 04.22.2013: F-St.Etienne, T-Bird Lounge
  • 04.23..2013: F-Lyon, Trokson
  • 04.24.2013: F-Bordeaux, Saint Ex
  • 04.26.2013: F-Montpellier, Le Mojomatic
  • 04.28.2013: I-Tortona, KM0
  • 04.29.2013: I-Bucine (Arezzo), Specter Club
  • 04.30.2013: I-Florence, Tender Club
  • 05.01.2013: I-Loreto (AN), My May Festival
  • 05.02.2013: I-Marina di Montemarciano, Chalet Beach
  • 05.03.2013: SI-Ilirska Bistrica, MKNZ
  • 05.04.2013: SI-Maribor, MC Pekarna
  • 05.05.2013: HU-Székesfehérvár, Pucok Undergr. Club
  • 05.06.2013: A-Vienna, Arenabeisl
  • 05.08.2013: D-Töging, Silo 1
  • 05.09.2013: D-Tübingen, Epplehaus
  • 05.10.2013: D-Kassel


Pertinent Links:

Dumbell Official

Dumbell on Facebook

Dumbell on Twitter

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