In the 16 years that Johnny Rage has fronted the thrash-punk outfit DMF (which stands for, you guessed it, Dirty Motherfucker) he's never felt more competent than he does with this group of musicians he's playing with right now. But this isn't saying much.
Johnny formed DMF with the intent of being bad to the point of notoriety. "I had these horrible players with me," he recalls of the early days. "We would purposely try and drive people out of the clubs… but then people started to come just to see this band playing this outrageous shit that was offending everybody."
Even by scum-punk standards, DMF has a reputation of being the punk rock version of 2 Live Crew. "DMF tunes are basically dirty jokes put to a fast paced rhythm," Johnny notes in a dead-on self-assessment. "A lot of our songs are about pussy–'cos, you know, guys like pussy; girls like pussy; everybody likes pussy, Rage says. "I'm not saying every girl will stay in the club while we're singing our songs–a lot of them walk out on us and that's OK–it's just all for fun."
With his D. Boon build, shiny shaved dome and pointy goatee, Johnny Rage could pass for a roadhouse strip club bouncer. On stage he gives off a vibe as someone who you don't want to fuck with. Still, it's clear that he's working hard to instill a party atmosphere, albeit a crude one, spouting lines like, "funky motherfuckers eat my ass!" or "suck my dick, suck my cock, all night long, don't wanna hear you talk!"
If you don't love it, you hate it to the point of exiting the club. It's an all-or-nothing gamble that's totally punk rock in that it spurns an audience free of half-assed ambivalence. That said, it's a safe bet. Chances are, if you're in one of the scuzz-hole venues DMF typically play in, this shit is hilarious to you.
Lately, that scuzz-hole has been the Doll Hut in Anaheim, where Thursdays in June DMF has hosted a residency. The final installment features Portland, Ore. garage-pop trio Symptom, old friends of Johnny's from the West Coast DIY circuit. "It's important to have a warm welcome for out of town bands at the Doll Hut, because that's what it is known for–a touring stop for a lot of bands–and we want to keep that tradition going."
Over the course of the engagement DMF broke in their newest member, drummer Ed Foster. "He's a bad motherfucker," Rage says, noting the enormous inspiration he and bassist Stoney Mahoney, who Johnny calls the first "real bassist" ever to play in DMF, have gleaned from the band's newest addition. The plan is to purchase a few new toys for their recording studio and track a record after the residency is up.
"Music has become extremely disposable in this era," Rage says about the band's approach to recording and distributing its material. "It's just as replaceable as the oxygen we breathe– since there's no overhead for us, we give the music away for free."
"If the recording level is below the quality that you want, guess what, you get a free coaster."
DMF perform with Symptoms and Boomerang Kids 8 p.m. June 26 at Doll Hut, 107 S. Adams St. Anaheim. $5 21+