Get Naked! Get Naked!
Dillinger Four is a band built on contradiction: lyrics referencing American Revolutionary figures belted out by a naked drunk guy (with "HOW MUCH ART CAN YOU TAKE?" tattooed in block letters across his chest), working-class anthems written by Ph.D.s, songs with supremely catchy shout-along choruses and titles bordering on essay length—even an intelligent drummer! You could say they're almost too smart for their own good—or maybe too good to be so smart—but that's the way they like it. Since 1994, Dillinger Four (D4) has won as many fans for injecting some much-needed wit and intelligence into what the kids like to call pop punk—a genre sorely lacking both—as they have for their occasional nudity and more occasional toilet-bowl headstands (those mostly courtesy of bassist/vocalist Patrick "St. Paddy" Costello—the one with the tattoo). After several independent EPs and two albums, they've released Situationist Comedy on punk big-wheel Fat Wreck Chords. And it picks up right where they left off, with convoy-length song titles ("A Floater Left With Pleasure in the Executive Washroom" and "SELLTHEHOUSESELLTHECARSELLTHEKIDSFINDSOMEONEELSEFORGETITI'
MNEVERCOMINGBACKFORGETIT" in particular); razor-sharp sociopolitical ire ("I'd love to sneer at your camera for your revolution, but I just can't afford the fucking costume"); and good, old-fashioned buffoonery all present and accounted for. They're all the best things punk is capable of becoming—though, as singer/guitarist Erik Funk (his real name) explains, the nakedness is getting a little weird.
OC Weekly: So what's D4's usual disrobing procedure? Good show, bad show, or is it just like a duck-and-cover random kind of thing? Erik Funk: It's either extreme. If it's an extremely good show, then sometimes that happens, or if it's an extremely bad show, sometimes that happens. But for the past couple of years, it's been pretty infrequent—it got to be a weird thing. See, we just got back from Europe. We've never been there before, and we're getting onstage, and there's 15 year-old German kids running up going, "Get naked! Get naked!" Like 14-year-old kids screaming to see a big, fat guy naked. It gets a little weird when you're 30. Do you still get banned from clubs like you used to?
I think we're certainly just as capable of getting banned from clubs, but we haven't been banned for a little while. We're on a lucky streak.
It's the big-fat-guy-naked thing, isn't it?
It's not usually the nudity itself—by the time we're at the point that there's nudity going on, we tend to be pretty drunk and not give a fuck.
So did you open your own bar just to get your booze wholesale?
Yes, it was a clever scheme to not ever have to buy beer anymore! No, actually, it was something I think I started working on it with my partner—who's my wife—before the first D4 album. I've been working on it almost as long as the band. There are people every once in a while that you can tell came in to check it out because they're from out of town and they heard that's "the D4 bar." [Guitarist] Billy works there, and I own it, so between the four of us, you can probably find any one of us there any given night.
D4 has several "working-class blues" songs. Who really hates their job the most?
Paddy tends to be the one that writes those lyrics, and Paddy also tends to have the shittiest jobs, so the best of those kinds of lyrics definitely come from him.
So when he gets a decent job, the band is fucked.
Yeah, who knows what he'd write about?
Does your drummer, Lane "Monkey Hustle" Pederson, really have a doctorate?
Yeah, he's a psychologist now.
Does that make him the smartest drummer ever?
I would never want him to see it written that he was the smartest drummer ever. Lane is a damn smart guy. But I guess you don't need a Ph.D. to be the smartest drummer ever.
Dillinger Four performs with Toys That Kill and the Lawrence Arm at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., (909) 629-0377. Thurs., Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m. $9. All ages.
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