Cave Creek Dahl

Rock 'n' roll torchbearer Jeff Dahl talks about getting clean, D.I.Y., and being big in Japan

In his Devil Tree Ranch recording studio, Dahl sits cross-legged, strumming a Les Paul copy, his sharp face showing little more than his usual, characteristically stoic expression. The studio itself is a converted guest house that sits 30 yards off the main house. The decor is an agreeable concoction of gray-blue industrial carpet, tapestries, rugs and giant posters of Iggy Pop, Johnny Thunders, Hanoi Rocks and his own European tour placards. A stack of old Creem magazines sits within reach of the mixing board.

Just a few months ago, Triple X released his 12th full-length solo record, all of which was recorded here, with Dahl, as usual, playing nearly all the instruments himself.

He's talking about how his voice sounds on record -- though an appealing, bratty sounding thing, Dahl still can't stand the sound of it. "That is just how it comes out. I mean, if I could do that switching gears thing like Bowie, where he went from this great rock 'n' roll voice to this bad Sinatra thing, I would probably do it. But I can't. I mean, I am just too limited. It's the only voice I got. And I hate the sound of it.

Punk legend Jeff Dahl relaxes in the middle of his D.I.Y. empire.
Paolo Vescia
Punk legend Jeff Dahl relaxes in the middle of his D.I.Y. empire.

"[Small Faces singer] Steve Marriott had this huge voice, and still it was mixed in the pocket. That's how I like it, down in the pocket. And those Silverhead records, the voice was big but still down. I love guitars. I mean, there is nothing like a big, loud guitar right in your face. I mean, you can't beat that."

Buoyed up on exuberant waves of power chords, with its life-in-renunciation themes, Dahl's latest holds steadfast the scope of his loyalty to true rock 'n' roll. As a punk/glam/metal torchbearer, Dahl reminds us just how much the terms "musically innovative" and "fun" have become mutually exclusive over the past years. Using a patented trio of roaring but perfectly placed chords, and a scampish, sincere attitude, Dahl says that for him it's all just one big Fun House, no matter how much the city is closing in.

Jeff Dahl is scheduled to perform on Saturday, August 28, at the Hollywood Alley in Mesa, with the Chicken Hawks, Sonic Thrills, and the Peeps. Showtime is 8:30 p.m.

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