Garrett Dale plays guitar and sings in Red City Radio but to say he's their "singer" may be a bit of a misnomer. Not because his gruff and soulful voice isn't as rich and luscious as a shag carpet but with all four members sharing vocal duties, it's very much a team effort. Still, Dale's heartfelt lyrics and strong delivery are a hallmark of the band and their debut album, The Dangers of Standing Still.
On the verge of their sophomore full-length, Titles, Dale took time out of his day to talk to Punknews interviewer Rich Verducci about all things music, the WWF (not "E"), why dogs are awesome and what it's like to be disemboweled on camera.
So what are you doing?
I just left practice and Iâm in my car. Itâs a gloomy, humid night in Oklahoma City.
Wow, you make it sound so enjoyable.
Itâs not bad. Gonna go home, shower, do laundry. Wait for my girlfriend to get off work and then go pick her up. Just a normal day. Jammed on some new songs, getting ready for tour and all that shit.
Look at you, with the rock star lifestyle.
Haha, shit. "Rockstar." That word gets thrown around about as loosely as the word porn star. The great David Cross said, "you can get your asshole licked on a shaky hand cam and be considered a star." [Laughs] Everyoneâs a star. But honestly, Iâm as far from a rock star as a person can get.
So, to get this started, you guys have your second full-length coming out October 15, is that correct?
That is correct. October 15 is the release date for our second album and this will also be coming out on Paper and Plastick records.
The Dangers of Standing Still was a very well received album in our little community and received a lot of positive praise. Was there any real pressure going into this?
Thereâs always pressure for every release that everyone has ever put out. Coming into this and all of us being music fans, it seems like the sophomore album is where bands either make or break. For example, The Killers, which is one of our favorite bands, their second album was Samâs Town, coming out after Hot Fuss. Samâs Town was our favorite album, and still is our favorite album that the band has ever put out. But, commercially, in America it was not very successful.
So, thereâs always things to worry about. To us, the most important thing is to write songs that we just have a fun time playing. For as much as we canât believe all the positive love weâve gotten from so many different people, the great reviews and the really nice things that people have said to us, the only thing we can possibly do is do our best not to let anyone down and write music we really believe in.
I do want to ask, because I was reviewing the press release that Paper and Plastick sent out and it says, "we feel this is our best album to date." Not to put you on the spot, but every band says that. Do you ever feel youâve phoned it in a little bit?
[Laughs] I think a lot of bands take it differently. I donât know what all other bands do, so I canât speak for them. I will say there were a few things [on The Dangers of Standing Still] that came a little bit down to the wire. For example, "Spinning in Circles is a Gateway Drug," the majority of that song was written in the studio right before we recorded it. It became our first single off that album, which was kind of surprising. It seems the some of the stuff off that album was just written in the studio. Like we were there and weâd just add something in.
With this album, it turned out to be pretty cool and itâs new and fresh to us. And, no, I donât think we phoned it in. We took our time and really wrote it out and I think itâs going be a bit of a surprise. But, we wouldnât put it out if we werenât happy with it. Weâre just so proud of it and happy to be with Paper and Plastick and Iâm very excited to see what people think. I get excited to share my music with people I love so much, like you and the other Punknews readers.
Thatâs flattery. And that will absolutely work.
[Laughs] Iâm trying!
Listening this album, I can say there are things youâve done differently on it but was there a conscious effort to really steer away from things youâve done before?
More when it came to marketing and touring around the album. I feel like we made a lot smarter decisions. When you do something, youâre supposed to learn and weâve made mistakes and always try not to repeat them. Thatâs whatâs supposed to make you successful in life, I guess.
Musically, I donât really think so. There was no, "This song has to sound like this and we have to put this in here." I definitely, and Paul [Pendley, guitar/vocals] as well, really wanted to write more of a rock album. Weâre really big fans of bands like Cheap Trick but we didnât want to steer too far from the punk rock we love so much. Iâm not really formulating an answer, am I?
Iâm going to start this over. Itâs a hard question, because I canât just say, "no." I mean, I can but thatâs a dick answer. So, Iâd say no… and also yes. [Laughs] All we really wanted to do is write an album that we felt was better than The Dangers of Standing Still and if something changed in that process it wasnât directly a result of anything we did on the first album. Everything we changed came naturally, because we wouldnât want to put out an album that didnât feel natural to us.
You mentioned the whole band are big fans of rock music, so why can I never convince Paul to get you guys to cover "Africa" by Toto?
You know, Iâve actually thought about this. I think Dallas [Tidwell, drums] would be perfect for that little, [in a high pitched voice], "It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you." [Laughs] Iâll be honest with you, I hate that song. Not a big fan of that cut. Not giving any shit to Toto, they worked hard to get where they are but to each their own. Iâll tell you which song I wish we could cover and thatâs Bon Joviâs "Runaway." Man thatâd be fucking great.
So now, Iâm going to welcome you to my home. Iâm just entering the house. These are my dogs…theyâre not really interested in anybody.
How many dogs do you have?
My girlfriend and I, we have three dogs and weâve also fostered dogs and sheltered dogs. My mom has god knows how many dogs that sheâs rescued and saved. Iâve always lived in a house full of dogs. Theyâre little monsters. Everyone in the band actually has dogs. Weâre a huge fan of their people. Some of us, me in particularly, get really sensitive about animals. We really love them.
In the current internet debate world, youâd say youâre more dog than cat?
Ab-so-lutely. The only reason why cats donât attack humans more often is that cats canât put a human head in their mouth. [laughs]
You think if a cat could eat your entire head itâd happen more often?
It would happen so much more often than people realize. We actually had a debate about this, because Paul [Pendley] has a cat. Donât put this in the interview, because I donât know if this is true or not but, when a human dies with a dog, the dog runs around and breaks stuff because itâs scared and the dog doesnât know what to do. While a cat will eat the humanâs eyeballs.
I absolutely believe that.
I believe it as well. I havenât looked it up anytime recently but itâs something I hear and I think, "Yeah, thatâs probably true." The cat wouldnât even wait 45 minutes.
I donât know where this is going to go in the interview.
We can just cut this. We can call this, "timeout." Just say, "We talked about dogs. Then, later, there was a much longer conversation about old WWF wrestlers."
That would, for sure, be a long conversation.
Man, I love that shit. Iâm way into it. Weâre like the same age, so weâre on the same level. Like "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Gorilla Monsoon and Koko B. Ware.
Going into college I had a pillow case with the Legion of Doom and "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. I was like 19 years old in college trying to figure out why I couldnât get laid with a WWF pillow.
[Laughs] Aw, girls just didnât know what was up back then. I actually, at my home right now, Iâm looking at one of those Wrestling Buddies. In the box, Hulk Hogan. Itâs right on the mantel. Next to my Thor Hammer, my autographed Mouth of the South, Jimmy Hart, picture. It has him, Hulk Hogan and Brutus "the barber" Beefcake on it.
I hope youâre not messing with me. This better all be real.
No, it is. Iâll take a picture. Actually, Iâll put it all in front of our giant Hulk portrait in the kitchen. My girlfriend is a really talented artist. She actually just did the art for Arliss Nancyâs new album. She does a lot of photography and painting. You can see her stuff at Jacky Jones Art. She caters to my 12-year-old-ness all the time and paints me big murals of like Marvel [comics] characters all the time.
So letâs move back to the direction of music and away from dogs and wrestling.
Iâm blaming the direction of this interview solely on you. If we talked more youâd know these things.
But, I keep up with people on Facebook and you donât have a profile, so I sort of blame you.
Yeah, I donât really mess with that. I set one up a while ago. I play a bunch of different music, rock or country or whatever. So, I made a Facebook page, my girlfriend helped me and then…I just never used it. [laughs] I just donât like it, man. Iâm not like that. I donât know how to say it without saying something totally lame. I just donât care.
Thereâs a new iPhone coming out and I just donât care. Iâll see five and six year old kids eating at really nice restaurants that I donât go to very often, obviously. These kids will be there with their families, and the families are all talking and interacting and this kid will be sitting there looking at an iPad. Not communicating with anybody. I would have gotten screamed at if I had acted like that. The more I see people get "wired in" the more I just let it pass by me. The only thing that I do have is an Instagram. I love that because itâs just photos and thatâs it. Thereâs no group messaging. Itâs just so easy and Iâm rarely on that thing either.
You mentioned your solo music, which is more country style. Do you ever see yourself doing more of that or are you currently fully concentrated on Red City Radio?
Well, Rich, you see, someone like meâ¦ I donât think I can be fully concentrated on anything. [Laughs] There are just too many things to grab and look at. There are just too many things that I want to be a part of. I get to constantly travel the world and go to shows and see my friends.
I have written a bunch of songs and thereâs a band I play with in Oklahoma City sometimes called The Hilo Trash Review and it has members of Roustabouts, the Jerry Reds and Javier of Starlight Mints. We play country songs and rock songs. I also have been talking with Snow Cobra, thatâs Brad Blanco of Blacklist Royals and just doing a thrash band. Just doing three songs and never doing anything else with it.
Pretty much, from here until the moment I disappear from the world forever I will do whatever I possibly can to write as much music as I can. Writing music is my favorite thing to do in the entire world and I donât ever really see myself stopping or writing specifically one style or for one band. I just want to do this for the rest of my life, so Iâll just keep writing until I canât. Iâll keep writing music with Red City Radio as long as we keep loving each other and weâre happy. I donât ever see us ever really stopping.
Speaking of, you guys recently shot a video. Which hasnât come out just yet [at the time of the interview but now it is out and Punknews exclusively premiered it, but it will be out by the time the interview runs. I havenât seen it yet, but Iâve seen some stills and there was some real production value to it.
Well, every one of our videos has had production value. We paid someone to shoot it. [Laughs] I mean, people showed up. Iâm kidding. This time, I think what you mean, is we had more special effects. Thereâs a guy from Tulsa who came down and had a bunch of prosthetics and fake blood. I mean, he told me it was fake, I donât know for sure. Dallyâs head got ripped off and my guts got ripped out but we all survived.
Was it different doing something with that level of special effects?
Yeah, it was but so far all our videos have been shot in Oklahoma City at one of the spots we frequent. When we do something like this itâs really great to see how professional people are around here. How nice and courteous people can be around here. People really understand what it takes to make something happen and weâre so fortunate and lucky to have so many great people in this state come out and support us whether it be helping out, bartending, opening their doors to us, or just coming out and watching a video get shot. Thatâs the most important thing to Red City Radio as a band, is just to be a part of it. Itâs not D.I.Y., do it yourself. Itâs D.I.T., do it together and weâre very proud to be a part of this scene and this city that has been so amazing to us.