Jeff Dahl on Stage Rust, a Possible New Album and the Volcanoes in His Backyard

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The Jeff Dahl Band is gearing up for its first gig in three years tonight.

Dahl is back in town from Hawaii to celebrate drummer Russ Covner's 50th birthday with a one-off gig at Hollywood Alley. Bassist Jason Smith made the trek back from Kentucky and guitarist Frank Labor is on board as well. We caught up with Dahl for an e-mail Q&A a couple days before he left Hawaii.

Read on for Dahl's thoughts on island life, stage rust, his bandmates' other projects and the likelihood of a new Jeff Dahl album...

Up on the Sun: You moved to Hawaii about three years ago. How is island life treating you?


Jeff Dahl: I'm originally form Hawaii. I grew up here, went to school, still have family here, so a lot to do with the move was just to be closer to family as we're getting older, etc. Life here is great. I live in a small town on one of the outer islands. The ocean is out my front door and the volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are out my back door. It takes me five minutes to get to the beach. It's really a very simple, quiet life here and it suits me.

UOTS: This is your first gig in more than three years. Do you miss performing live? Is this something you've been itching to do, or will we have to wait until Jason or Frank turn 50 for the next Jeff Dahl gig?

D: Yeah, I do miss playing live and specifically with the band I had in Phoenix: Jason Smith on bass, Russ Covner on drums and Frank Labor on guitar. Those guys were just fun and easy to play with. I've got so many great friends in Arizona, and Hollywood Alley is about my favorite venue on the planet. I always get the best crowd there. It's going to be amazing to see everyone. There are some real rock 'n' roll crazies out in the desert, and I miss them all. There are even some people coming in from other states just for this, because this is a one-time-only thing! We'll have some guests like Jaime from Blanche Davidian singing a tune with us and an amazing keyboard player named Dave Swaim who I grew up with in Hawaii. You can expect a circus. So yeah, I can't even begin to tell you how much I've been looking forward to this.

UOTS: Are you concerned about being rusty after three years away from the stage? How are you preparing for this gig?

D: Terrified is more like it! Hopefully it'll be like riding a bike -- something you never forget. We'll see... I play guitar about every day and sing a bit, but it's not like when you're playing with a band and the amps are all cranked up. We are definitely doing some rehearsals before the show. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

UOTS: The other members of the band have stayed busy since you left, with Frank forming Labor Party, Russ forming Bitter Allegiance and Jason playing in the Earps and Vinyl .45 before he moved to Kentucky. What are your thoughts on the other projects your band members have worked on? Do you have a favorite of the bunch?

D: With the exception of Vinyl .45, the guys were also playing with those other bands while I was still in Phoenix. They're all good solid bands that play great music and I've always supported any project that any of them were in. It's not like they went off to play hip-hop or rap metal; then we would not be doing this reunion. I love these guys. I love the way they play and the music they make, so to have the chance to play with them again... I am flyin'.

UOTS: You said that you've been writing and recording a lot. Any chance we'll see a new Jeff Dahl album in the not-too-distant future?

D: Songwriting was always the big thing for me with music. It's the thing I probably get the most satisfaction from. When you write what you think is a good song, it's a beautiful thing! So I am always writing. I've got a computer-based Pro Tools studio at my house and I am slowly but surely getting up and running with that technology. I've always recorded to tape before, so recording with a computer does not come naturally to me. I'll be taking a few quick lessons from Mike at Full Well Studios while I'm in Phoenix for this show. So yes, I hope there will be a new album in the near future. Rock 'n' roll is what I do, it's really all I know! So I'll be doing it until they plant me in the ground.

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