Leader Bill Davis presses rewind on Dash Rip Rock’s classic live album from 1991.
“This was a pretty important record for us—we’d been a big college radio band and this one pushed us a little bit further. It was our last album for Mammoth—we’d been tearing up the road and getting a good reputation, and we wanted to make a great live album. It was our first album that only came out on CD, and the first we recorded digitally, which seemed pretty insane. Our engineer was Keith Keller, who ran Chez Flames studio on Annunciation—his nickname was Fred Flames. He came into Tip’s with a huge recorder that looked like a video player, and I’d say, ‘Man, that’s crazy, it looks super high tech.’ But that’s what we used, we recorded it all on Sony Betamax tape.
We wound up recording four shows and taking the best from each one. It was one of those ‘feel the burn’ weekends where nobody sleeps for four days. The first was in town at Jimmy’s, an insane, sold-out show. Then we went to the Bayou, the original punk bar in Baton Rouge. The acoustics were always pretty strange there; you can hear it on ‘Hell’s Scared,’ which just sounds cavernous. From there we went to another legendary punk bar, Fitzgerald’s in Houston. That was Billy Gibbons’ favorite hang, the first place I ever met him. Finally we did Club Clearview in Deep Ellum—the big song from there is ‘Delta Dawn,’ the audience sang the shit out of that one.
Mammoth was pushing us to capture all the live insanity. The first thing you hear is Hoaky [bassist Hoaky Hickel] letting out a resounding belch. Our drummer at the time was Chris Luckette, who’d been in the Cold and the Normals. He had this thing when a song got really fast and he got into it, he’d start fake-chewing and humming at the same time. So if you listen to ‘Leave Me Alone,’ you can hear him moaning into the mike—that’s what he’d always do on the fast ones.
That album had our first version of ‘Pussywhipped.’ We learned it from a Georgia band, the Primates, who’d taken it from the Boston band the Dogmatics. That song got us on a lot of morning DJ–type shows. But at the same time we had things like ‘Endeavor’ and ‘Mud Island’—the more serious side. Our soundman Mike Mayeux used to say to me, ‘Man, you’re an underappreciated songwriter—why the hell are you doing things like [jokey track] ‘Save the Whales’ when you have ‘Mud Island’ on the same record?’ But when you’re younger, it’s easy to take the bait—after you’ve had a few beers, you’d rather do something fun than play ‘Endeavor’ one more time. My defense in doing covers was always the Replacements’ live cassette, The Shit Hits the Fans. I’d say, ‘Look at Paul Westerberg who’s probably the best songwriter of the ’80s—if he can get away with this, why can’t I?’
There was one part we had to cut out: We start playing ‘Hot Legs’ and Hoaky shouts, ‘Hey, why are you playing that Rod Stewart song?’ and I say, ‘No, it’s the Black Crowes!’—totally making fun of them for sounding so much like Rod Stewart and the Faces. But Mammoth nixed that because the Black Crowes were friends of theirs, so we got censored on that one. We also had some trouble with the back cover, where we stole a Tabasco label and called it Dashbasco. Turned out one of the owners’ granddaughters was going to LSU, and her boyfriend was a big Dash fan. Then they broke up and she gets mad and tells the family, so we get a cease-and-desist order, which got us on MTV News. We changed it on the second pressing, but put it on a T-shirt instead. The front cover was not photo-shopped, and I can tell you it really burns when you pour crawfish down your neck.”