Here in the Boston area, January is usually the coldest, loneliest month. By then, the comforting glow of the holidays has quickly worn away, and spring just a distant hope far off on the horizon. Eastern Massachusetts is frozen over and covered in ice, slush, and depression. The people tend to even more frigid.
Each Thursday this January, however, a little glimmer of hope and warmth sets up at the Plough & Stars, a weekly residency series led by Boston’s power-popping garage rock crew the Dazies and supported by one of the better month-long lineups we’ve seen in some time. It’s all to celebrate the Dazies’ new three-track EP, L O V E / J O Y, which Vanyaland has the honor to premiere today.
The residency kicks off January 7 with manic guitar-rock trio CreaturoS, and doesn’t let up: earnest pop-rock duo The Furniture and Ted Billings’ new project Philosophical Zombie on January 14; Boston Music Awards Indie/Rock Artist of the Year Dirty Bangs on January 21; and a close-out blowout January 28 with screeching trio Courters and Weakened Friends, a new turbocharged indie trio featuring members of the Field Effect and Maine heroes the Box Tiger.
To get the backstory on the L O V E / J O Y EP, which was recorded at the Converse Rubber Tracks Studio in Boston with David Minehan (The Replacements, The Neighborhoods) and Baines Kluxen, we reached out to Dazies ringleader Mikey Holland. We asked the former Mean Creek drummer about the new record, how the residency came together, and whether or not the Plough can contain all this rock and roll.
Michael Marotta: OK, tell me everything there is to know about LOVE / JOY…
Mikey Holland: I wanted to record these three songs and put them out into the world as an EP because they were all written at the same time frame and deal with the same subjects that I feel are universal. For me it was losing my job, losing some very near and dear friends, losing my band of a decade and in general losing my comfort and my footing and trying to find where the fuck I actually fit or… if I even fit.
I thought very long and very hard for the first time in my life about putting music behind me. It’s a painstaking, and, in general, heartbreaking business to be in but I so stupidly love rock and roll that I just needed to keep rolling. Since my very first show I booked at age 14 with Massachusetts hardcore/metal/space rock titans Cave In (who were still in high school at the time), I literally have never slowed down for a second — never once. And it really really pissed me off to even have the thought of packing it all up.
Truth is these songs are so important to my identity right now: I’m a loser, I’m an idiot, I’m a mess. I can attest to that and have no problem admitting it, but I’m trying, I’m working on stuff and I have the fire of a million people because I don’t have much to lose. These songs are filled with this punk rock vinegar-ism that also houses my love for song craft which to me is the absolute most important thing in the world.
The Dazies are all about fun. This is the best time I’ve ever had playing music with a band because this is on my own terms. There’s no booking agent, no publicists, now throwing money at some bullshit potential pipedream. It’s just about a moment that’s fleeting always, but I can catch a few now. I really like when I do. It’s just absolutely amazing and inspiring. So there is no bummer on this EP, it’s admitting you’re a loser and finding other losers who understand. It’s a good party!
How’d these residency lineups come together?
Easiest thing I’ve ever done. I wrote a wish list and asked them all. They all said yes. Easy as that. I love all these folks so much, they inspire me endlessly.
Why did you pick the bands you did?
Playing music the last 10 years in Boston has just been amazing. The support I’ve always felt from folks is just at times world moving. These are all friends of mine. People I truly feel blessed to know, people who creatively & humanly inspire me to do better all the time and I don’t tell them that enough. I write tunes and then I ask all my friends to play show, etc. It’s just really great to have that kind of bond with people. We all love rock and roll so much that it always works out. But I have to admit that right now I’m very lucky to have the most kick ass band.
Are you concerned this is just too much rock for the Plough?
100% yes! But my great buddy — who has been such a great host and promoter as well as a fantastic musician and former Dazie himself for years upon years in Boston — Mr. Johnny Allen has assured me that if the roof blows off it’s all for the sake of a fantastic party!
Is there insurance for the potentially explosive performance of Evan Kenney of Dirty Bangs?
Evan, who now is an award-winning celebrity, requires much in advance. Bottles of boozes, un-opened records by The Dead Boys, MC5, Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson, the new Doug Tuttle record and of course his Furniture records, etc. But one thing his people so far have not asked for is insurance. I’ve heard rumors — rumors, mind you. That because his dance moves are so on point his feet are actually insured.
I don’t need to say this because everyone who knows the man and who has been in his company for more than 5 minutes will attest to two things: 1. He is just the sweetest, kindest most interested and interesting person you’ll ever meet maybe ever in your entire life. 2. Evan has a beautiful heart that bleeds rock and roll. It’d be impossible to leave a conversation with the man and not think to yourself, “Wow, I fucking love that guy”.
He quite literally made and single handedly gave The Dazies a shot to record not once, but twice at this amazing studio that is Rubber Tracks. So in honor of him, Sir David Minehan and Baines Kluxon who all helped steer The Dazies ship into Lovejoy Wharf I named the EP L O V E / J O Y in honor of our friendship. And because, what else is there room for in this world?