Death Ain’t Tough Enough to Kill Rap Rock Legend Mike Lord of Dial-7

Although Dial-7 has technically been around for over two decades, they’ve been pretty much invisible for the last half of that. But for the first time since the middle of the Bush presidency, the Laguna Beach-based rap rockers will be hitting the stage one more time — albeit with a slightly changed lineup and a very different outlook on life.
“This show is a big deal in a lot of different ways,” says vocalist Mike Lord.

“First and foremost, we haven’t played in at least 12 years, so that’s important. Two years ago, I almost died. I lost blood pressure three times in the hospital, and it turns out I had kidney failure, so I’m currently a living, working person on dialysis. The show is a celebration of life, love, and loss that we’ve all had. It’s a celebration of the fact that I’m still here.”

With Lord’s dialysis schedule taking up his Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, it’s tough for the group to get together in order to practice, let alone plan a new show. When Lord hits the stage along with fellow vocalist Shauny B, bassist Barrett, Michael “Clams” Hernandez on drums, Dan Palmer — of Zebrahead and Death by Stereo — on guitar, and DJ Daniel Park on October 22 in Garden Grove, it’ll be a celebration over three years in the making. But while a near-death experience after a decade apart might be enough to drive some vocalists away from their band permanently, Lord’s secret to maintaining a positive attitude stems from the very music that inspired him as a child.

“I was raised on all music — most importantly probably Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Chicago, and then straight ‘80s music,” Lord says. “Being raised on all of that positive stuff, I always knew that I really loved music, and that’s not something you can take away from me, but I’m not some cloud over my head kind of guy. Probably the only time I’ve ever had a dark cloud over my head was when I lost my brother — who was also in the band — to a drunk driver 20 years ago this year.”

Compared to losing his brother, Lord’s medical battle was a piece of cake — particularly considering that the singer isn’t afraid of death anymore. For that matter, the songwriter’s new lease on life has him taking a closer look at what may end up being his one biggest regret in life. Of course, getting the band back together could help check that one off his bucket list too.

“I’m truly happy to be able to do the one thing that I love to do in life, and the one thing that I might really regret is not making enough music,” Lord says. “For all the guys to get together and give me the opportunity to do what I love the most, it means the world to me. The Dial-7 fans are a real close-knit community, and they’ve been asking us to do this for a while. I know that I’ll have a moment onstage when I’m actually able to reflect right there, take it all in, and do what I love to do — which is singing the music that we wrote.”

But while Lord and the rest of Dial-7 may not be making new music just yet, their 1998 debut record Never Enough Time — which recently showed up on Spotify, much to the band’s surprise — is still relevant to this day. In some ways, the songs’ content may actually be more appropriate now than it was two decades ago.

“We wrote this album a very long time ago, but it’s amazing how much the music actually holds up today,” Lord says. “It was prolific back then, but with the political climate that we’re in today and with the loss of so many great artists — from Tom Petty to Prince to Chester Bennington — our world continues to change not for the better. I’m all about the passion in music, and I just feel blessed and grateful just to have people remember our music.”

Programme HQ presents Dial-7 performs at the Garden Amphitheater, 12762 Main St., Garden Grove (714) 590-1575, Sun. Oct 22, 6 p.m.-10 p.m.

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