Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Chip Kinman gets The Dils back in action

Chip Kinman and The Dils. (Martin Wong photo)

By Andy

So, The Dils -- a longtime favorite of the There's Something Hard in There staff -- bashed their way back onto the scene last month. Fronted by Chip Kinman and rounded out by a pair of dynamic lads in their early 20s, they performed at a benefit for Save Music in Chinatown at the Grand Star Jazz Club in Los Angeles alongside the Alley Cats, Rhino 39 and Neko Neko.

A day later, they trekked down to San Diego -- not far from where Chip and his brother Tony (RIP) got things rolling in Carlsbad some four decades ago -- to knock some tunes out again at the Casbah Club. Tony passed away from cancer at age 63 in May of 2018.

Next up on the docket are gigs at The Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver, BC, on April 5 and at Alex's Bar in Long Beach on March 16 with Mike Watt and the Missingmen, Tex and the Horseheads and The Last.

The Vancouver gig will be a tribute to Tony and will also feature Three O'Clock Train, Wasted Strays, Ron Reyes and more. The bands will perform songs by Three O'Clock Train, Ford Madox Ford, Cowboy Nation, Blackbird, Rank and File and The Dils.

I spoke with Chip in 2018 about his career in music and checked in with him again via email regarding The Dils' activities.

***How did the Dils shows come about?

Ford Madox Ford was offered a show for the Casbah's 30th anniversary in San Diego. Our drummer wasn't available so my son, Giuliano, guitar player for Ford Madox Ford, suggested The Dils play the show!

***Who's idea was it to play and who else is in the band besides you? 

For 40 years, I've been saying no to a Dils show, so I figured 40 years of no is a good reason to say yes. Giuliano Scarfo plays drums; he's only been playing for about 2 months - PERFECT! His childhood friend, Brian Melendez, plays bass. They're both 23 years old, and that's important for obvious reasons.

***Had you and Tony ever talked about reforming? 

No. It didn't make sense because we were always making new music. We never really looked back.

***Why is now a good time to do this? 

A couple of days before Tony died, he told me, "you can rattle my bones." So it felt like he wanted me to do it and I had his blessing.

***How did the shows go and what were the reactions from attendees? 

The shows went great! Sold out and the crowds were a mix of old and young punks. Everybody knew the songs and the band was simply shambolic and stratospheric. Giuliano and Brian can really play punk rock... it is a young man's game, after all.

***How did you feel being up there singing those songs? I'm sure Tony's spirit was flowing through you and in the air....

It certainly was. A large portion of the audience were wearing the Tony 19 "We do as we please" T-shirt, and that was nice to see. It feels great playing these songs. It's always a good idea to go back to basics.

***What's next?

Omnivore Records is putting out a compilation of unreleased Chip and Tony songs from all of our bands; Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird, Cowboy Nation. There is a live Ford Madox Ford record coming out. I'll be putting out a Chip Kinman solo record - can't mention the label yet. Doing an exhibition of all the flyers I've made over the last 42 years and playing shows!

The Dils setlist from the LA gig. Featuring Brian Eno, Zeros and Velvet Underground covers.

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