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- Posted on Mar 8th 2010 7:04AM by Linda Laban
Describe your sound in your own words.
I'll just call it rock 'n' roll. That's good enough for me. And if you ask me again, I'd probably say, we call it music. I feel self-conscious limiting myself by describing our sound in a sentence.
How did your band form?
The boys in the band have known each other for years. We played together and have been at the same barbecues and parties. It just started with a make believe show -- a big gig that never happened. Because of this big gig that never happened, we put together this crazy band for this crazy gig that never happened. We then tried to decide, out of all these singers that we had at rehearsals, who we would play with. It kind of happened -- it's hard to say organically -- but it happened without fuss. The idea turned into a band before we had chance to think about it. One day we were hanging out, the next day we were a band, the next we played a dive bar, then we were touring. That's how it feels to me -- it just took itself over.
What are your musical influences?
I always go back to really melodious music. Even if it's fast, I find myself attached to beautiful songs. Beautiful melancholy songs, too. Nick Drake was always a favorite as a kid. Super Furry Animals is another. I also listen to a lot of stuff by this electronic guy, Secret Circuit. I like a lot of old R&B, too.
How did you come up with your band name?
Ethan was in Cambodia when he first heard the '60s psychedelic Cambodian music. He was in the back of a flatbed truck, traveling through the Cambodian countryside and his partner was in the cab, deathly ill suffering from dengue fever. Ethan was in the back and he'd have to lean out and poke his head through the side window of the cab where his friend was almost dying. He's like, "Hey man, how are you and what's that music the driver's playing?" He worked out that it was old '60s Cambodian rock. When we were figuring out a name, Ethan told us that story and we thought, "That's it -- let's call it Dengue Fever," because that really marked our beginning.
What's your biggest vice?
I would say lack of sleep. I tend to really push it. I get up early and stay up late. When I should be going to sleep, I'll end the night with a movie. I kind of like that feeling, kind of that grogginess and sleepiness. I really enjoy it.
What's in your festival survival kit?
There should be a sign that says "Don't Talk Loudly Over Music." But I have to have a bottle of water. Also, something I don't usually have, but good judgment would be in my survival kit. After a few too many boozes, I tend to lose my good judgment. What else? What I would like is someone's hotel key downtown. And a good pair of shoes. I don't care how ugly they are, but a good pair of comfortable shoes.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Beverly D'Angelo -- she was the mother in 'National Lampoon's Vacation' with Chevy Chase. She had buck teeth that stuck out. To this day, I can't resist buck teeth. Can I say another one? Aretha Franklin. I definitely crushed out on her as a young kid. She was super hot in 'The Blues Brothers.' I was like, "Why is he going on the road?" I'd stay in that coffee shop.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
That's a hard question -- I guess you mean what kind of cheesy music do I like. But he's so cool, he's not a guilty pleasure: Neil Diamond has always been fabulous, but a lot of people don't think he's cool. I like that song by Deee-Lite, 'Groove is in the Heart." People are like, "Oh, man, no!" I've always liked that song.
Beatles or Stones?
I love them both, but definitely the Beatles by half a mile.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
A girl in Dallas giving a guy [oral sex] in a car and all these guys were packed around the car watching. It was real skanky and shocking. Really nasty. Another one was when I woke up in a hotel room with my old band Cement, back in the day, and we were in this crazy German hostel with no heat. I left my room in the morning to go down the hall to the bathroom. I walked in and my bandmate had passed out in the bathtub full of cold water. He'd been sleeping in freezing water for hours. He was blue. I pulled him out and slapped him around and got him in a hot shower. That was very scary.