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06/10/2006 – Interview with DUSTSUCKER

DUSTSUCKER is a German Rock 'n' Roll band in the vain of MOTÖRHEAD, ROSE TATTOO, and the likes and have been around for almost fourteen years. Recently the band released their fifth full-length album via LMP, "Jack Knife Rendezvous" of which you can read the review at this location. I asked the guys about the album, life on the road - since they're truckers -, their idols and more. Marco and Max were the volunteers for the job. ;-)

Dustsucker logo

According to LMP's website DUSTSUCKER has been active since 1993 or close to 14 years. In that time you released four albums and two EP's (if I'm correct) and now number five is out. Have I been that ignorant or were you guys really unknown to the outside world? ;-)

Yes, you are correct, now we have 5 albums and 2 EP's out. In the early days it was very difficult for us to spread our music, because we released our albums on our own label Zylinder Records with not such a good distribution network as LMP/SPV. So it's not your fault ;)

Dustsucker bandDUSTSUCKER is a powerful, yet also funny name, at least to me. Whose idea was it to use that name and is there a particular reason for this choice?

Our drummer Marco came up with the bandname. We were just joking around with a few friends and Marco came up with the idea and then we choosed it for our band. It has no deeper meaning.

"Jack Knife Rendezvous" is just out. Personally, I find this a very decent record, one that cheers you up when needed, but also fits the bill perfectly for parties. How do you feel about the final result? Are there things you would like to have seen different, but due to whatever reason changes could not be applied anymore?

Well, it all boils down to time. You just never have enough of it in the studio. Sometimes that can be a good thing! We are very happy with how the album turned out! If we'd had more time, we would have liked to have done some fine tuning in some parts of some songs. But, who knows, maybe in the long run it wouldn't have been as productive. Some bands make albums in 6 months that would have sounded better if they would've just left the album alone instead of trying to make everything perfect.

What is the album about? Does it revolve around a concept story?

No. Every song has its own little history. We're not into concept albums. At least not now.

Jack Knife Rendezvous coverWho was responsable for the cover art and did you give him total freedom or more specific guidelines of what should be on the cover?

The cover was drawn by Werner Günter. Lia came up with the idea and we gave him total artistic freedom, because we had no ideas and we were running out of time.

R.D. Liapakis is a busy man, so it seems, especially for LMP bands. How did you get in touch with him and what was it like working with him? In addition, did he give advice on the songs or what the sound should be like?

Well, we felt that our music was going in a little more metal direction. LMP recommended him to us, and after talking to Lia, we realized he knew where we wanted to go with this album. He is a very professional guy and gave us some good tips and helped us get the sound we wanted for this album.

"Jack Knife Rendezvous" is your second album on LMP, following 2004's "Rock 'n' Roll Sniper". How is the collaboration going so far? And for how many album are still under contract?

It's going great. It's good working with LMP. We have a 5 album deal. With Claus Grabke (Sniper) and Lia (Jack Knife), we felt we finally met people who understood our music, and the direction we wanted to go in.

Since there's a new album, that means you're going to hit the road, right? Where will the tour lead you?

Definitely. We have some concerts in Germany and Holland lined up for the rest of this year. Hopefully, we'll be able to get more in. We definitely would like to head your way, maybe early next year! We'll keep you posted on our web site!

Your music is compared to bigger bands like MOTÖRHEAD, ROSE TATTOO, old METALLICA, and others. Did you grew up with that kind of music or are those bands among your favourites? To continue the comparison, "Under The Hammer" sounds a lot like (old) IRON MAIDEN, but my guess is also that it's a cover, but I don't know by whom originally (help me out, will ya? ;-)). One of the other songs, "Wasted Times", sounds almost perfectly - musically, that is - like METALLICA's version of DIAMOND HEAD's classic "Helpless". Are these similarities a coincidence?

Max: Well, these bands are definitely heroes of ours and have played a large role in influencing us. I'm sure, due to the large role these bands have played in our musical development, that some similarites will definitely be found, but we didn't intentionally do any covers for this album. I do like to play tribute where tribute is due in my lyrics sometimes, though. Maybe you can find some!

The songs on "Jack Knife Rendezvous" would be excellent in a live setting - not really a big festivals, but smaller locations/venues - and my guess is you've written them with the concerts in mind. Can you confirm this?

We're definitely a club band, and a band that loves playing live!! If we were asked to play a larger venue, though, we wouldn't refuse.

With 14 years in the business, how would you compare "Jack Knife Rendezvous" with previous works? What kind of evolution do you see, as a band and on a musical level?

If you could've heard us when we started! We've definitely matured both in song writing and (we hope) have improved as musicians in the past years.

When writing songs, do you all get together and exchange ideas or is this more left to one or two members who then tell the others how/what to play? In addition, which comes first: music or lyrics?

The basic ideas for songs were from Max and together with Marco these ideas were arranged and composed until they were complete. The music is always first and then Max writes the lyrics. When the songs are finished the other guys (Bill and Danny) have to learn the songs.

Where does the inspiration come from to write lyrics about?

Marco: Max is a mothertrucker!!

Max: Yeah, I spend a lot of time on the road. I'm always thinking of things. These songs are just what come into my head from all these years of playing rock n roll, and from my personal life. Just things I think about driving down the highway.

Is DUSTSUCKER your only band or do you also play in other bands? Furthermore, can you live off the music you make with DUSTSUCKER (or other bands) or is a daytime job still required?

Dustsucker has always been our main focus, musically. We haven't yet achieved the amount of success which would enable us to quit our jobs so we all work at various places from truckdriving (Max) to teaching English (Bill).

Apparently Bill Salisbury (guitar) and Danny Duster (bass) only joined the band quite recently, in 2005. How did they get into the picture and what was the reason for this line-up change?

Well, If you knew where we lived, you'd see it's not exactly a metropolis! It's just hard to find people. And it's hard to find GOOD people. A lot of people who do want to play live far away or end up not having the motivation to come the distance to band practice, play for love of the music and work at their day jobs, as well. There have been the occasional personal problems, but it mainly has to do with finding people willing to go all out for the music.

What are some of the most hilarious, and worst, moments you experienced during those 13-14 years? No matter if it's live, in the studio, on the road, ...

The most hilarious and worst moments can probably be connected to one person - Chris Decker. This guy is a huge body builder from Münster, and one must add, very into shooting bows. It was time to do some recording and have a photo session. Max told him to try to look halfway cool for the pictures so he wouldn't show up in his workout sweats or something. Max said maybe he should wear a leather jacket. Chris kept asking what he should wear. Well, it comes time to take the pictures and he shows up in the strangest Robin Hood type leather vest the world has ever seen, with a freaky leather Freddy Krueger looking armband for bow shooting, and knives with Indian heads sticking out of his belt. To make the picture complete he had HUGE gold chains around his neck- enough to put Mr. T. to shame. It was really a funny sight. Well, then it came time to play- keep in mind this guy was so huge he looked like he could break his bass in two by just looking at it. He plays- and he sounds like a five year old girl! This huge guy playing like a little girl. Max says that just won't do, so this huge guy almost starts to cry, gets in his car and drives 10hrs home! Unbelievable! This kind of ties in to the previous question. I guess.

Do you check out new bands and if so, which do you like and find good enough to recommend?

Most of the time we listen to oldschool bands from the early 80ies. All the new bands (Metalcore, New Metal) are not our cup of tea. We grew up with all the classic punk and hardrock bands (KILLER, ACID, THE RODS, GBH, CIRCLE JERKS and the list goes on and on).

Abandoned bandFile-sharing is a huge problem for many bands, but at the same time a blessing for other bands. What's your opinion on the matter? Does it kill bands and affect sales negatively or do the advantages of sharing outweigh the negative consequences?

Well, it can be kind of a catch-22. It's like the old days of trading tapes, discovering new bands. There's nothing illegal or terrible about it. On the other hand we invest so much time and money into making an album that it would really kill us if we couldn't sell any. We want our music to get into as many hands as possible - asap! For that downloading is good. It's also a good way to get more people into our concerts. On the other hand, if we don't sell any records, the record company might just tell us to concentrate on our day jobs. That's kind of the problem.

When you're not busy making music, how do you spend your free time?

Pinball!! Yeah, Max and Marco love playing pinball! The next best thing to playing music is watching others make music. We all love going to concerts. Danny fixes cars (Opels) and Bill likes drinking Grimbergen and Duvel J Of course none of us have anything against women! Always a welcome hobby!

Are there plans to re-release or re-record older albums or songs?

We don't have any plans as yet. It's a good idea. We'll see.

What would you like to see become reality for the band and yourself personally?

We would just like to play our music. It'd be great to be able to play when and wherever we wanted without worrying about when the next paycheck will come or about taking off from work. Yeah, not really about money, exactly, but about freedom. That's what Rock's all about, isn't? Freedom.

The end is near. Many thanks for your time and all the best with the new album and related gigs. If you like to add anything that I need to know or forgot to ask or anything you need to spit out, fire away.

Thanks for your questions! Keep tuned in to see when we'll be coming near you! Cheers!

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