The word fan makes me uncomfortable. I get this weird feeling in my stomach when I hear anyone proclaim, "My fans are some of the best out there," or "Let me take a second out to talk to some of my fans."
I guess I can't really fathom going completely apeshit over an artist I've never known on a deeply personal level. Maybe it's my tremendous fear of being let down by a hero. Or maybe I want to believe that no matter how many accolades one receives for their music or art, deep down they are just as down-to-earth as the next guy and probably don't appreciate a cell phone in their face while they're eating a calzone in public.
But I had one of those moments the other day. I "fanned out." That's because Desaparecidos hold a very special place in my heart. My mom and I were living at my grandmother's when I was a sophomore in high school in Warsaw, Indiana. Kurt Loder was on MTV with a "You Hear It First" segment, and he introduced this band from Omaha, Nebraska.
They took my breath away. The next day I immediately went to my local Karma Records and ordered their debut album Read Music, Speak Spanish. Desaparecidos was my Public Enemy at that point in my life. Stuck in a town where my voice was not heard, my shadow of a self was floating through the hallways of a high school that didn't really give a fuck about me. I would listen to this record and believe there was a purpose in going to these local punk and hardcore shows and escaping from everything and everyone that simply told me, "NO."
Denver Dalley is one of the guitarists and songwriters of Desaparecidos (along with Conor Oberst [Bright Eyes], Landon Hedges, Matt Baum and Ian McElroy) and I had a unique opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with him the other day. They play Indy on Thursday, on their first tour since they went on hiatus in 2002, the same year they blew my mind on MTV.
Oreo Jones: Being an artist in Indianapolis has made me feel like I have to work harder than anyone living on a coast. Inspiration comes and goes. How important is Omaha to you in your creative process?
Denver Dalley: Omaha was a very influential place, because it would get so cold and everyone would gather together and make noise in their basements. It's a cool little city but it's kind of cut off. There was a close-knit group of us kind of just pushing each other and inspiring one another to take it to the next level.
Jones: Do you feel like that was important for you to do whatever you wanted and have complete freedom to blaze your own path, so to speak?
Dalley: Yeah, it's cool because growing up because you're so used to people saying after you finish high school, you go to college, and after college you get a job and settle down. Yet you see other people you know from your hometown pursuing music for a living and they're not from Nashville or Los Angeles or whatever. And it showed you that this could be done and it's an OK thing to do.
Jones: There was this renaissance in post-hardcore and punk in the early 2000s. Why do you feel [those genres] were so enchanting at that time?
Dalley: I feel it comes and goes in stages. I think there is always gonna be people who are going to feel more synth-based bands and electronic-based band. Then there are going to be folks who are more reliant to bringing it back to the beginning of rock, not using backing tracks and really going for that live instrumentation. With generations, I feel like there is a nostalgia that happens when a resurgence of something and you can go back and have familiarity with it.
Jones: You have a new album Payola that just came out on Epitaph weeks ago. How is the transition from making records now in 2015 [versus] when you were a kid making your first record as a band?
Dalley: Back then, we were so young, and we kind of just took it for granted. Now as we get older and we have more responsibilities and jobs and mortgages, it kind of changes and you realize how amazing this opportunity is and to never take it for granted. Before when we were younger we were all together in Omaha making music; now we have to create around everyone's schedule especially if they're with another band. Because of that bond it flows pretty naturally. If it didn't, I don't think none of us would have felt forced [to make another record].