Monday, 17 December 2018

Disneyland After Dark or D.A.D. — As Shakespeare Once Famously Noted, "What's In A Name?"

D.A.D. — Warner Bros. publicity photo
L-R: Stig Pedersen, Jesper Binzer, Peter Jensen, 
and Jacob Binzer
Originally published in Rave-Up #17 (1989)

Interview by Devorah Ostrov

Disneyland After Dark. What a cool band name! Unfortunately, the band who thought of it can no longer use it and are now simply known as D.A.D.

You see, ol' Walt rolled over in his grave when he heard these hard-rocking Danes were taking the name of his amusement park in vain, and a lawsuit from "The Happiest Place On Earth" loomed on the horizon.

"We knew it would be like that," says drummer Peter Jensen about Disney's "request" that the band quickly find itself a new moniker.

"It's kind of sad to have a name like D.A.D," he continues. "It doesn't really say anything; it's just three initials." He sounds genuinely disappointed.

Jesper Binzer
Photo: Devorah Ostrov
Peter and his bandmates (vocalist/guitarist Jesper Binzer, guitarist Jacob Binzer, and bassist Stig Pedersen) were in Los Angeles calling music journalists on the last day of a short U.S. promotional tour.

It was America's first chance to get a look at D.A.D. And as Peter jokes, it was the band's first chance to get a look at us!

So, what do they think? "It's been very nice here," he states politely. "We've seen a lot of American television, so we kind of knew what it was like. It's just like being in a movie when you're here!"

Speaking of movies... The story goes that during an early "cow-punk" phase, the group took its cue from cheesy Clint Eastwood westerns.

But before cow-punk, the members of D.A.D. were involved in, and met up through, Copenhagen's early-'80s punk rock scene. According to Peter, he taught himself to play drums after seeing a Sex Pistols show!

"It was a gradual change," he says, explaining the punks to cowboys to rockers progression. "All the people we knew from that scene have changed too. Not really changed... We still think the same things are funny!"

And a keen sense of humor (along with a healthy dose of cynicism) infuses D.A.D.'s new Warner Bros. album, No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims. It's a highly-charged package of 12 tracks that combine the punch of AC/DC, the rhythm of Hanoi Rocks, and the wit of Zodiac Mindwarp.

D.A.D. caricatures used on the promo CD single for
"Sleeping My Day Away" (Warner Bros. 1989)
For these initial stateside shows, the band relied mostly on material from the new album. Only a couple of older tunes, such as "Marlboro Man" (from the 1985 EP "Standing on the Never Never") were worked into the set.

And sadly, it's questionable whether "Standing on the Never Never" or their two European LPs, Call of the Wild and D.A.D. Draws a Circle (both on Mega Records), will ever be released over here.

Stig Pedersen
Photo: Devorah Ostrov
"It's possible," offers Peter, "but it'll be awhile. We don't want to confuse the audience by suddenly having three albums out." Besides, he points out, "it's a very different style on the previous albums."

While D.A.D. might have adjusted their sound over the years, one thing has remained constant: their desire to put on surprising and exciting live shows.

In the old days, they were known for ducking scissor-wielding hairdressers and acting out onstage fights. These days, the band has a reputation for explosives!

At the end of D.A.D.'s San Francisco show, just before the encore, Stig leapt onstage, his helmeted head ablaze with roman candles. While the bassist impressively headbanged away like Angus Young, the fans at the front of the Stone's stage panicked and hurriedly took a few steps back to avoid the cascading sparks.

"It's not that dangerous," assures Peter. "I know the feeling because we've had those fireworks onstage too. At the Roskilde Festival [a three-day rock festival in Denmark which D.A.D. headlined] we had huge fireworks above the stage and it was set up so the sparks would hit me!" He laughs, "It's not that bad."

If you missed seeing D.A.D. on this tour, you can catch the fireworks display in the wonderful video for their single, "Sleeping My Day Away," which incorporates live action with wacky cartoon caricatures of the band.

Peter and Jacob are dwarfed by the D.A.D. stage set-up at the Stone.
Photo: Devorah Ostrov
It's their first video for US MTV, but the cartoons have been used before. As Peter explains, "We did a video for 'ZCMI' [a fast-paced rocker also on No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims], which is totally animated."

"We hand-colored it ourselves," he adds. "The whole dark winter in Denmark, we sat in our cellar and painted..."

Jacob Binzer and Stig Pedersen
Photo: Devorah Ostrov
Peter's melancholic musings are touching, but "ZCMI" isn't likely to see the light of day on MTV due to the female cartoon having very large, very naked breasts.

But "Sleeping My Day Away," with its countrified rhythm and goodtime antics is being shown in regular rotation.

When I tell Peter that the combination of D.A.D's Danish good looks and pop sensibilities is guaranteed to cause a sensation with MTV's viewers, he responds with what could either be heartfelt astonishment or sarcastic cheekiness. It's hard to tell over the phone.

"Yeah?" he exclaims. "Wow! It would be a boy's dream come true."

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