If we say, Dave Smalley, most of you will think of DYS, Dag Nasty and All, mainly, error, we have the tremendous privilege of speaking with Down By Law.
Punk rock is not only overdriven guitars and screamy voices, there is something much further and Down by Law are proof of this, it is not about the image, it’s about the attitude.
The number of former members is large, more than you can expect, Sam tells us a little about Down by Law’s future and immediate plans and how he sees the music.
For us, the two guys that we are managing this shitty webzine, it makes us very happy every time someone accepts to answer some questions. When you are in the forties and you start something like this and see that those bands that we use to read in fanzines (old school way, staples and paper handmade) help us twenty years later, they make us feel like Peter Pan.
Music is not about your age, it’s heartfelt and Down by Law has timeless songs that are part of our soundtrack, of our lives.
(NIN) Could you please introduce yourself and Down by Law?
(DBL) My name is Sam. I play guitar for Down By Law. Dave Smalley is on vocals.
Could you describe Down by Law?
Dave started the band in 1990 after being in DYS, Dag Nasty and ALL. The band then consisted of him being backed up by the guys in the Chemical people. I joined the band in 1993 for their third album, punkrockacademyfightsong, and have been on board since then.
You guys on the road or anything at the moment?
We have been playing a lot of festivals in the states. As well as a few, select club shows. We will probably continue along that path.
Down by Law started in the earlier ‘90s. How things as band have changed from then until the nowadays?
The line up has changed, infinitely. With Dave and I being the only static members. We have also bounced around different labels. But we just keep on keepin’ on.
You have share stage with many bands, what is the craziest band you know?
The Candy Snatchers were pretty crazy. Nice guys, though. The Murder Junkies are pretty crazy, as well. Also nice guys. Although we have never officially played with the Murder Junkies.
Is any band you can consider as friend after so many years?
Lots of them. Descendents. Good Riddance. SNFU. The list goes on…
How do you feel playing for people between 18 and 50?
Age is no significance to us. All are welcome. Even infants.
Usually, people ask for the best concert, but we would like to know what has been the most disastrous one.
That’s also a long list. Dave was left stranded in a hotel in Slovenia, once. That was pretty disastrous.
What do you expect about Down by Law?
New album coming out on Cleopatra Records in 2018. Hopefully lots more shows coming up in the future, as well.
Was there a particular band or musician growing up that inspired you play the way you play?
Speaking for myself, Eddie Van Halen, Brian Baker, Brian May, Dr. Know, J. Mascis.
Can you mention the three most important bands (for any reason) for Down by Law?
I would say Stiff Little Fingers, because we have always been obsessed with those bands from Ireland and the UK, and I think we sound the most like them. The Chemical People, because their west coast, surf punk sensibilities really bled through on the first couple of albums and shaped the defining sound of the band from the outset. And lastly I’d say Minor Threat, as Dave has the east coast hardcore thing in his veins. And it has always been a part of DBL, as well.
Could you mention some new bands that we should pay attention to?
I mostly listen to old music, these days. Some guys I know play in a young band called Seek Well. They are cool.
This is a tough question, just one, what is the best song ever written?
The Cowboy Song by Thin Lizzy.
We are based in Ireland and Spain; do you know any Spanish or Irish band?
I actually can’t think of anyone from Spain except Andres Segovia, off hand. Irish bands, I know a million. And I love them all. My favorite guitar player is Rory Gallagher, followed closely by Gary Moore. My favorite band is Thin Lizzy. We all love the Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers. They are huge influences on us. Ireland is one of my favorite places. I also love a lot of celtic music. Such as Planxty and the Chieftains and Tony McManus. Dave is really into Irish folk music, as well.
Thanks for your time, really appreciate it. Please feel free to add anything you feel like.
Thanks very much for the interest.