by Interviews

Today, we are PSYCHED to debut the new split single by The Dwarves and the mysterious Ralph Champagne.

It's fitting that these two songwriting virtuosos are teaming up for a split release. Blag of the Dwarves has mentored Ralph over the past few years and help Ralph release the most excellent Introducing Ralph Champagne album. And of course, the Dwarves just released the astoundignly great, sprawling masterpiece The Dwarves Concept Album . So, for the team-up, Dwarves release a single remix of their Fred Astaire meets Cheap Trick album opener "Feeling Great." Meanwhile, to contrast the uncharacteristic Dwarves positivity, Ralph turns in downcast "Wanna Die." It's a combo of two songwriting titans looking at both sides of the coin!

The release is out via Rad Girlfriend records (run by Josh of Raging Nathans). You can pick up the split right here… along with a bunch of other rad Dwarves records, Raging Nathans records, Candy Now records, Tandoori Knights (Bloodshot Bill and king Khan) and more!

Meanwhile, check out the new release below right now!… and also check out short interviews with Blag of Dwarves and Ralph Champagne himself!

How do these new tunes connect to the Dwarves concept record? Blag: The Dwarves track "feeling great" is very "bubblegum with pottymouth" style. This 7-inch version is a slightly different mix than the one on the Concept Album. The flip side WANNA DIE is by Ralph Champagne, one of the best looking singers on the nouveau country lounge retro circuit. A seasoned crooner, he makes panties melt on contact.

Why did you select the material you did for this split release? Blag: Split 7-inchers are the coolest form of vinyl! Both groups have to really deliver, and we do!

You once mentioned that you believe rock and roll was created by the collision of country and black music. Can you briefly detail your thesis here? Blag: Stating the obvious is one of my greatest talents! The third leg on the stool is good old fashioned pop music. Those 3 elements are what make it rock and roll to me. Lots of artists are one or the other, but it’s hard to combine them all and make rock and roll. Most people who rock a bit don’t really roll much. A lot of musicians are highly predictable.

Along those lines, what is it like to work with Ralph Champagne, an artist who has a lot of great country songs? Blag: He has some pretty racy lyrics that Ralph! His debut is one of those super cool records that appears from the ether and blows minds upon contact. Super production from Andy Carpenter, thrilling string work by Tom Ayres, boatloads of ace session dudes showing off all over it, Josh Freese played on the record and then invented his stage name, too. It’s a clusterfuck of legends!

You, Ralph, and even the forgotten Earl Lee Grace have a similar timbre. Did you all have the same singing teacher? Blag: We three have a lot in common, but Earl Lee is really fucked up at this point. He got in on the fentanyl thing very early, while Ralph Champagne was still taming wild horses along the Great Plains. As for me, I’m the most humble icon you’re likely to meet.

Now Ralph, How did you meet Blag Dahlia and what do you think of him? Ralph: He’s got some attractive cover models, I’ll give him that!

What inspired you for the material on this split release? Ralph: I was thinking about how fun it would be to be dead. Blag came up with the lyrics, but the music is by actual musicians.

From the critic's viewpoint, country wavers between being strictly anti-authoritarian (Hank Williams Sr, Johnny Cash, Waylon) to being very reactionary (Hank Williams Sr,, Jason Aldean). Do you see country as having a particular social basis, or is it a tool that can wielded in any number of uses? Ralph: I’m a pop singer, a saloon crooner. I have no politics beyond, ”me want sex”. But I do contribute generously to a local home for Unwed Mothers. It’s just the right thing to do.

There is an interesting connection between country and barbershop crooners/ "Classic" pop singers. Willie Nelson has multiple albums where he covers Frank Sinatra. Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis junior each have multiple country albums. As I understand, you are not strictly country, as evidenced by your sly reference to another pop singer, Fred Astaire. Do you have an idea as to why these two seemingly disparate genres connect so frequently? Ralph: If I could dance I’d never bother playing music again.

What's next for Ralph? Ralph: Blag wants to write another record for me so we’ve been recording stuff. I told him as soon as we sold 100 of the last one we could put out another.