Dance Hall Crashers

by Jeff Jolley

Ska lives and is doing well. Just ask the Dance Hall Crashers, who after 6 years in the biz released their first major-label record "Lockjaw" earlier this summer (on 510/MCA Records, 1995). Dance Hall Crashers began as a side-project for Operation Ivy's/Rancid's very own Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman back in '89. After several line-up changes, DHC settled into it's current line-up, which is basically nothing like the original.

RAD Cyberzine had the opportunity to talk to about half of the band over coffee recently. About the OpIvy origins of DHC, Elyse Rogers admits that Tim and Matt have had a lot of influence on DHC. Tim contributes the song "Pictures" on Lockjaw and Elyse feels that the music is still firmly rooted in the original OpIvy spirit.

Mikey Weiss had to quit his job working at a local record store to tour with the band. Totally joking, Mike said, "the worst part about working at the record store was to see the poor sales for Lockjaw." Actually, the album has been selling quite well in San Francisco and across the U.S. Mike later confessed that what he really didn't like is when people would pick up the CD and ask, "who is this?" or "what does this band sound like?" the other employees at the store would point to him and say, "Why don't you ask the bass player. He works right over there."

Like all bands that sound good at all, Dance Hall Crashers do so because of the good relationships within the band. Elyse and Jason agree, "we all share in the writing and the ideas for the songs," although Jason, Elyse and Karina tend contribute the most. DHC clearly enjoy being around each other. Their stage presence is superb--full of energy and always on-key.

What do the DHC do when their not together as a band? Elyse is really into art. She especially enjoys multi-media and kinetic art. "That's one of the things I really love about the Bay Area is that there are SO many art galleries and showings," she says.

When Jason is away from the band, on the other hand, he can't leave music behind. "I'm always playing music. That's my real love in life." Besides being a talented musician, Jason also dabbles in production work.

Lockjaw really gets you movin'. Songs like "Enough" and "We Owe" are sure to be classics. As one of the poppiest Ska bands around today, if you like Ska, you'll love the Dance Hall Crashers.
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