dada brings its eclectic approach to Rockin’ on the Landing
As you may know, Fair St. Louis is making an effort to attract contemporary rock fans on July 4, with Saliva and the Wallflowers playing on the main stage. But that approach is nothing new at Laclede’s Landing. This year, the Bud Light Rockin’ on the Landing lineup features an array of local and national acts performing on four stages. Local acts will be featured at the President Casino, Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn-Gateway Arch Stages, and national acts will headline at the Bud Light Main Stage at Second Street and Lucas Avenue.
Five for Fighting is the Main Stage headliner on Saturday, and the Gin Blossoms close out the event on Sunday – both starting after the Fair St. Louis fireworks displays conclude at 10:30. But there will surely be plenty of Main Stage musical fireworks earlier on Sunday evening, when dada plays from 8:15 to 9:40 as a prelude to the real pyrotechnics at the riverfront.
The West Coast-based rock trio is still best known for its 1992 hit, “Dizz Knee Land,” and many rock fans might be forgiven for thinking dada broke up in 1999. But the group reunited in 2003 and has been touring virtually non-stop ever since – pausing only to record a new disc, “How To Be Found,” released in early March.
On the new recording, bassist Joie Calio, guitarist Michael Gurley and drummer Phil Leavitt blend powerhouse instrumental technique, strong three-part harmonies and well-crafted, witty original compositions, creating a distinctive aural identity for the band – while still exploring a wide range of musical styles.
“As a band and as writers, we really don’t adhere to one sound and one style,” explains Calio, speaking from his home in Washington state. “We tend to float around and experiment. For example, Michael’s guitar playing has a strong jazz influence, so he figures out ways to fit that into his rock overview.
“But it’s definitely a double-edged sword. Radio and the record business tend not to like an eclectic approach. They want something that fits a formula.”
Despite dada’s eclectic approach, Calio asserts that the group does have an identifiable sound – one that’s been developed through years of playing together, and through a strong emphasis on songwriting.
“We’ve been playing together off and on for more than two decades,” states Calio. “Michael and I started back in high school in the late ’70s. And even back then, we put our emphasis on writing songs. I’ve always thought that songwriting was the weakest link in any band. That’s because bands break up when they run out of good songs. You see it all the time.”
In addition to the band’s new CD, dada is reissuing remastered and expanded versions of the group’s first three recordings – “Puzzle,” “American Highway Flower” and “El Subliminoso” – on July 13.
“We always recorded more songs than we could put out on a CD,” says Calio. “And there were quite a few that I always wished we could have included on the original releases. Now we’ve got that opportunity. And it’s also going to be great to have these three recordings back in print. It’s like reclaiming your past.”
- Terry Perkins
Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch