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If singer Brian Schickling's fast-and-spastic lyrics sound as if they're running away from something, that's because they are. Most of DimeRunner's songs are about escaping the demons of Schickling and guitarist Rocky Rigs' not-too-distant past. The pair have played in punk bands for nearly a decade, but both have seen projects fall apart because of their respective addictions. Now that they're both clean, DimeRunner mark a new start and a new love—even if the name is a playful reference to darker times.
Schicking and Rigs joined forces with Danny Drumkiller (drums, duh), Scott Votaw (bass) and bassist Pete Archer from the Stitches to create a punk band with a pop twist. They recently recorded a 7-inch single, "It's an Emergency," to be released in January. They're working on a full-length and hope to have their debut out before mid-2012.
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OC Weekly: How did DimeRunner start?
Brian Schickling: I used to have another band, the Wrecked, that started in 2001. I fell out of it because of drugs and my own personal troubles. I wasn't focused on anything to do with music. It ended up that I got put in an institution, and I met a friend I used to play shows with, Rocky, my guitar player. We started playing and getting people together.
We played one show, and I ended up going back to jail. So then I got back out and cleaned up my act and started pressing forward with it. We started playing a lot; people I knew before helped me out and put us on shows.
It's real raw rock & roll. I like to bring people together and show them rock & roll is still alive.
What made you and Rocky decide to play music together again?
Schickling: That's what we do—we're musicians. We said, "Why are we doing this? Why are we wasting our lives on petty bullshit?" I figured [we'd] just go out and do it. Rock & roll saved our lives [laughs].
What are some things people get from your shows that they might not expect?
Schickling: The amount of energy, especially.
Scott Votaw: Beyond the energy, I'd say the decibel levels. We're not willing to conform or suit to anybody's likings. Go up and check out what we're doing, and if you like it, you like it. If you don't, then don't listen. Feed 'em the electric buzz.
It's very rewarding when we'll play, and we start seeing people throughout the audience holding their ears. We have succeeded at that point.
How would you describe your sound?
Schickling: I like to take that raw rock & roll and—people might frown upon what I say—add the pop in to it. Without the pop, no one's going to remember or take anything home with them. You got to have something stick in their heads. I like to call it "trash pop."
What's been your favorite part about being in DimeRunner?
Votaw: The levels of insanity—it's not like everyone has the same disposition.
Schickling: I like all of the personalities—even if it is irritating at times. It's a very odd bunch.
This column appeared in print as "Non-Trashed Trash Pop."