Contributed by desertburst92, Posted by Fat Wreck Chords Interviews

It’s pretty hard to not come across a band Jack Dalrymple is in. It’s also hard to not love at least one of the projects he’s involved with. The guy is clearly a sought after talent and with good reason. He was in One Man Army and he is currently back in Dead To Me. This year he was very busy with the release of toyGuitar’s first album and touring as well as touring with the Swingin’ Utters after they had released Fist Full of Hollow in 2014.

And it looks like 2016 could be just as busy or even busier for him between touring and finishing up the next Dead To Me record, American Son of Cholo, which supposedly is coming out around then. So with all of this going on in his life, news editor Ricky Frankel caught up with Jack at It’s Not Dead Fest to chat about how he manages to balance being in all of these awesome bands, while maintaining a stable family life at home, being “the new guy” in the Swingin’ Utters, getting back in Dead To Me, guitars, and a whole lot more.

On the Anxious & Angry podcast (episode 86) you talked briefly about how you lived in parts of Africa and Indonesia, did living in those places later affect your music writing when you came back to the U.S.?
You know what, I was really young when I lived there. I don’t even know how old I was, maybe 6 or 7. My dad built those oil platforms in the ocean so we would always be in some weird places like Abu Dhabi and Indonesia, Kenya. So no I don’t think it affected me at all because I was so young. It would have been awesome if I was there later on though, when it actually mattered and I wasn’t some little kid.

You have worked with Billie Joe Armstrong and Fat Mike, how are they different to work with? Are there similarities?
I haven’t worked with either of them in a while. They are both positive, positive people. Billie is pretty centered on music, I like Green Day man…

Even with their bigger shows now with all that stuff?
I was thinking about this the other day. So I think they are a great band. I’m not going to say that they suck, I just think that maybe me and you are attached to (and I’m not speaking for you) the time and frame where all those records struck chords in me – everything before Dookie like I love. They are awesome records, awesome times. Mike is awesome to work with, too though. He really listens to the song, like he really wants to listen and comment. They’re both super fun guys.

My favorite One Man Army song is “All The Way” on that BYO split with Alkaline Trio, I think the lyrics make it pretty clear that the song is about “leaving and hard goodbyes,” what were the events that inspired that song?
That song is about a band breaking up pretty much. We were going to be done at that point. I kept trying to stop it so many times, but when you do something for that long you just keep going and going and going.

Obviously, I listened to the Anxious & Angry podcast, that you were on. So this the point where One Man Army ran its course like you said on that episode?
To me, that record sounds like a band that was breaking it up. I love that record though. I love the songs on the BYO split that you’re talking about. I wish it could have kept going, but people were going in different ways. That band was breaking up.

What in your view is the time when you think a band has run its course? Some go 30+ years…
I think you can feel it man. I think you can kind of feel where it starts to end. So people just keep grinding it out and grinding it out. And I feel like [One Man Army] just ran its course.

What’s going on with the new album American Son of Cholo? There has not been much news about it since it was announced on the Dead To Me twitter account.
We need Chicken right here man! I don’t know what’s going on with that. I’ve heard five songs maybe. They’re all different sounding and they’re all really, really cool. But everyone is spread out; Sam is in Florida, Me and Ian and Ken are still in the East Bay, and Chicken is living in LA. But yeah those shows we just played together were so fuckin’ fun man!

Nice! I have questions about those shows in a minute, because there’s a video of you guys playing Fat Wreck festival (see below) and it looked awesome!
We were a little rusty on that one man, but the one after that at Awesome Fest was way better. It was still super fuckin’ fun man.

What were the circumstances that made you want to rejoin Dead To Me? It was very sudden news that you were back and a new record was going to be written.
So the short version is like, when I left I had a kid so I had to stop playing and I think just having spent time a part and there was a weirdness with some hard feelings. Over the course of that time Chicken and I just started talking again. I don’t how it even came up man. I don’t remember where someone said, “Do you wanna play some more Dead To Me songs?” I was sending them toyGuitar songs that I was writing and [Chicken] was sending me some songs. Yeah, it was just cool the way it happened.

So it was just natural?
Yeah, and I didn’t want to go change anything. That band after me was great, too. Yeah! I saw them open for Hot Water Music at Slim’s in San Francisico a few years back and they really were great.
I don’t think that they need to change, man and just the fact that there are three guitar players and nobody had to bounce is awesome – like in Lynyrd Skynyrd and shit.

How do you plan on utilizing three guitars on the next record? That’s a big change compared to only one on Cuban Ballerina.
At the [Fat Wreck] show I really wasn’t playing on some of the songs man, like if you watch [the video] I’m kind of playing, but Sam just keeps all his parts. I’ll just “flavor” stuff, which is cool. I’ve never done that before and I get to sing more a little bit if that makes sense. Chicken is a really amazing songwriter so he’ll figure out a way to like orchestrating guitar parts and shit. He’s a really good guitar player, too.

How did it feel playing the songs you weren’t there for? How did it feel to play the songs you hadn’t played in a long time?
It was awesome. I would almost use the cliché that it was like “riding a bike.” We played “Undertow,” but then the next show we played “No Lullabies” that Sam wrote. That’s a really good fuckin’ song. I like playing that one. Sam is a rad songwriter and it just feels comfortable playing with them.

Alright, let’s move on to toyGuitar because I love that album.
Thanks dude! It’s different, but thanks man.

I was at the Fat Wrecked tour show in Hollywood…
Oh we fuckin’ sucked at that show, man! I think I made fun of everyone at that show. Yeah, you called us all poseurs twice hahaha. I just started cracking up.
Sorry, it started backstage with The Flatliners. Everyone was calling each other poseurs. I think The Flatiners were calling us poseurs and we were calling them poseurs. And then it just carried over on stage so I’m sorry man.

No, I was laughing so hard at that. One thing that confused me about In This Mess was the album art. What is its significance?
There’s this really rad dude, his name is Travis Jensen and I saw that picture on his Instagram or something, but it just seemed to fit a lot of the subject matter on some of the songs like just how fucked we are sometime when we are dealing with other people – the way people act towards other people is really shitty sometimes. And I think the skates kind of summed it up for me in ways like there’s obviously some homeless guy on skates – it just clicked with me and the subject matter.

Compared to all of your other projects toyGuitar is a pretty dramatic change in terms of overall sound. Why go in the more garage rock direction?
I changed a lot of amps and guitars for the toyGuitar stuff. I mean the Dead To Me stuff was Mesa Boogies and Marshalls and shit. One Man Army was like that, too – the Utters are kind of like that and I just had little combo amps in my house and I just got used to playing them after Dead To Me when I was playing with just the Utters and the songs just sounded rad “clean.”

It is a much more “clean” album.
Way clean. And I think it gets lumped in to sounding a little garage, too and I think that “down-strokie” kind of tinny thing makes it really garage-y. I feel like we intended that though. Some people say, “Oh, this is surf!”

Yeah, I don’t hear surf on it.
I don’t either man. So it just came out the way it came out and wherever it lives it where it’s going to fuckin’ live. I don’t care. I just like that it’s different.

What is a “Human Hyena?” Based on the lyrics “filling babies with disdain” I would guess that it is like bad/out of touch parents.
Yeah like I was saying – the way people talk to and treat other people, like there’s so much bullying. It’s more, I feel, to be kind. There are so many people that are fuckin’ lame. Having a kid skews it a little bit for me, too because he’s got to deal with al those shitty, little kids and their shitty parents. Yeah it was kind of that.

You said on the podcast that he was 7 years old right?
Yeah, it’s a tough age. He’s got long hair. People call him “girl” all the time. There was a lady in the fuckin’ pet store that told me that it was lame that we let him have long hair and its sad that he has to correct people. I was fucking livid! I was super pissed.

That actually happened in city like San Francisco?
In San Francisco man! So I’m like “Well we don’t associate gender with hair really.” And plus I was thinking like, “I don’t even know you!”

When you were brought in to write Here, Under Protest with Swingin’ Utters was it easy to contribute or did it take some getting used to writing with the band? You were sort of the sort of the “new guy”…
Totally! There’s a great institution that’s in place there with Johnny and Darius. It’s part f the reason why I wanted to start One Man Army, being such a huge Swingin’ Utters fan. I didn’t want to be the dude that came in and ruined the Swingin’ Utters. So Johnny was asking if I had any music and kept sending him little parts from demos that I had written and he wrote none stop. It was crazy man. He’s an amazing songwriter, both of those guys are. Just being able to send him music and him being able to write these amazing melodies with the lyrics – they’re both really good lyric people. But yeah, it was awkward. I didn’t want to fuck it up. Here, Under Protest took us like 8 years to record that record, it felt like man. Not literally 8 years, but it felt like 8 years.

When you started performing with Swingin’ Utters, was there something you had to get used performing with them as apposed to Dead To Me or your other bands?
No. I think if you’re a guitar player and you play bar chords and power chords it’s easy. I had to stay out of Johnny’s way because he does a lot of “side-to-side,” which is kind of crazy, but no it was easy. I think I talked about this on Ryan’s podcast – I might have started Dead To Me and joined the Utters at the same time. But with the Utters it was just learning the songs, which I already kind of knew from being such a fan.

What was it like for you to switch to writing/playing some of the more folk-sounding songs on Fist Full of Hollow like “End of the Weak” and “Naplam South”? Did you at times feel out of your element because they are so different from what you have typically written or did it all feel the same?
Yeah same stuff. Miles the toyGuitar guitar player and Singin’ Utters’ bass player, him and Jonny wrote the songs you listed. [Miles] can play anything man, cello, all kinds of stuff. So those songs they’re awesome. Me and him work really well together and I kind of like playing those songs. Folky songs in general though are not my deal sometimes. It was a little different, but it’s cool. You have talked about having to pull “double duty” for when toyGuitar tours when touring with Swingin’ Utters, which sounds exhausting. What’s the trick to getting through that?
Change of shirt, change of underwear. I feel like I sweat a lot. I don’t know what it is. It’s not so hard for me because if I was singing a shit ton in both bands I think it would be different. Like double duty with toyGuitar and Dead To Me would be way different because there would be too much vocals, but with the Utters its rad. Like one I’m kind of anchored on the mic, the other one is more physical. It’s easy to do man. I kind of like it, too. I like having all my friends around. It’s like party. I just get to play in two bands. Maybe it’s harder on Miles because he has to switch instruments from guitar to bass. I would do triple duty if I could.

How do you plan on juggling all three bands now?
I don’t know. We gotta figure this out. (In a whisper voice) Dead To Me! Hahaha Yeah that what I was going to say, "Dead To Me!" Hahaha. I don’t know man. The Utters maybe winding down a little bit because they’re going to do a new record and toyGuitar is recording a record so that frees up some Dead To Me shows, but Dead To Me is writing a fuckin’ record, too. I don’t know how it’s going to work. I’ll make it work. But we’re also doing Re-Volts, so that's happening. It’s going to be four bands. I’m trying to get Spike to see if Fatty would put out the Re-Volts stuff because its really, really good.

With Dead To Me you seemed to be playing a Gibson Les Paul most of the time, why the switch to a Fender Strat for toyGuitar and Swingin’ Utters?
I would have played a Tele, but the Tele “took a shit on me.” So with Dead To Me, I mostly used that Blue Les Paul and a TV yellow Telecaster. I played both of those in that band. The Tele and the Les Paul have humbuckers in them and I think both of those bands need sustain, not necessarily a lot of distortion. For the toyGuitar stuff I had shitty Mosrite guitar. I just liked how “single coil-y” and weird it sounded. And the Strat fits perfectly with those Fender amps. A Strat through a Supereverb has such a rad sound to me man. I don’t know what it is. And now with the Dead To Me stuff since Ken and Sam – Sam’s a Les Paul guy, Ken is a humbucker guy, so I just get to rock the same fuckin’, single coil guitar. Chicken is just like, “Dude just play it with some reverb. It’ll sound rad.” So, I’m going to keep playing the Strat.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Oh! What’s up with the site? The site looks new man.

Yeah it got updated.
It was kind of confusing at first, but then I kind of figured it out. People were slammin’ that shit for a little bit man. But it’s awesome. I think out of all the sites – and I‘m not just saying this because you’re interviewing me – like I go to the Punknews site and I don’t really go to any other sites to look at stuff. But the comments on there can be fuckin’ brutal, but it’s awesome and it’s a great place. I like the forum, too. And the comments are what give that site life.