In part II of our wide-ranging chat with Dope frontman Edsel Dope, we chatted about touring with the reunion of the Die Motherfucker lineup of the band. Reuniting with Acey Slade, Racci Shay, and Virus is no small deal to the fans, or to Edsel personally. He also shared some insights into his over twenty year career in the music industry, and what it takes for older veterans and brand new bands to make it.
You guys are hitting the road yet again pretty soon, couple of weeks. I’m stoked to see you guys hitting tons of little places and big cities. What can people expect? You’re on tour obviously before your record comes out, so you have the luxury of surprising people with new material.
Edsel: Truly, this tour, it’s really about the reunion tour. What’s happening here is that I think it’s gotten better and better for the Dope fans, because Dope fans have been sitting around and waiting for a while for us to do something. The first thing we did was we got the opportunity to go to Russia and do this first reunion show. How that worked was Dope was not planning on doing anything with significant touring until the record was finished and every once in a while, I’d go and play shows here and there just to do it. This lineup of Dope, I like to look at it like this…. who’s on the tour? It’s always a good f*cking band, there’s no question about it. I’ve never put a sh*tty lineup on the road. I never would do that. I’ve had a lot of guys play in this band through the years. I’ve had great relationships with everyone who’s ever played in the band. That gives me a really great Rolodex of guys to play when I’m going to go and play some shows.i scroll through that Rolodex whenever that is going to happen based on who’s around, who can play, and it just so happens that last year when we were going to do this Russia tour, Acey, Racey, and Virus were all available. I was like wow, this is f*cking cool! The four of us haven’t played together on the same stage in 12 or 13 years. This will be fun. Let’s all do this. Everybody was really excited and we planned this trip to Russia to go play the show, and then we decided, you know what would be really cool? I’m going to make the first ever live record, because we’ve never made a live record before and I think the fans would really get behind that. I’ve always been a fan of big live records. I feel like you go by a certain energy live that is powerful and a lot of people told me nobody cares about live records. I said maybe you don’t, but my fans will and I think Dope will make a great live record. We went off to Russia and we recorded this live record together, the four of us, the first time we played together in many years. We came back to the US and announced to everybody that we had recorded this live record and we offered it as a pre -order. People got super excited about the fact that the four of us played together again. We made that part of this live record campaign that we did in the pre-order and then all the sudden we had a Dope tour for this reunion, and the record wasn’t even thought of in all of that. We were going to do this cool reunion tour, play all the old shit, and it’s a fun experience for all of us and it gives fans a chance to see this ‘Die Motherfucker’ lineup, and they haven’t seen it in forever. That’ll be great. It just kept getting better and better. I just went back in the studio and plugged through the Blood Money recordings, and what do you know, this record isn’t far from being done. Let me put the finishing touches on this and let me put this record out in culmination with this reunion tour. Long story short, this tour were about to do is going to lean heavily on the old school stuff because that’s what the spirit of the tour really was. Of course we’ll play some new Blood Money songs because we have an album that’s coming out, but the album comes out right when the tour is ending. The good thing is that we’re going to spread awareness during the tour and be able to pre-order the records, pre-sale the records through the entire tour, but the next move will be gearing up in 2017 for tours that are directly in support of the new album Blood Money.
Dope is 20 years old as a band, and you came in at the beginning of a bubble. Like you said, it was before the Internet, before Spotify, before downloading, before Napster; at the beginning of a bubble in rock and metal music. What’s the one thing that you’ve learned that’s lasted with you in this journey to now.
Edsel: Yeah. It’s certainly a very different time. I have lots of opinions on this because as you said I’ve lived through it all. For a band that never had legitimate commercial success meaning we never had a top ten hit … It’s funny, you could pull 50 Dope fans and say what your favorite Dope song, and you’ll get 25 different answers where most bands that have had more of a commercial path, 90% of people will say that their favorite song is whatever their hit was with that band. It’s very rare for a band to have the staying power that we’ve had without a bit, especially to survive through the time we survived through because there have been countless times where this band is supposed to be dead. Even right now, we’re supposed to be dead. From a political and from an inner part of the music industry standpoint, this band continues to defy the odds. As far as the difference in the business now, you approach it now. Back then, it was still an amazing time for young bands. I think it’s a tough time for older bands, and the true reason for that is young bands live for their music. They live for hanging posters on their walls and for identifying with those fans. They get through those tough times in their life just like those great people that are the Dope fans are those same people when they were 16, 17 years old. Social Media drives that now. A 16, 17-year-old loves on social media. The average 30 Year old doesn’t, unless they’re posting pictures of their kids or their company barbecue. They use social media to get news and to participate in things in their life, but they don’t live in it like young people do. If you’re a new band and you’re connecting with a 13 to 18-year-old fan, social media is unfucking-believable, and I’m so jealous of it because when my band was connected to young people, we had a fucking clipboard at the merch stand that said please put your email address down. People were like what’s an email address? Now you get a follower on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, and those mechanisms are so monetized now that you will have contact with that person forever. Even if Facebook is sold, those followers are going to get rolled into whatever new app it is. Bands today have such an amazing opportunity to make and then keep the connectivity to them. The biggest challenge that we have is finding people that cared about the band that must be interested in the band and if we are doing something. Again, because they didn’t sign up for our Facebook page because Facebook didn’t exist. We’ve been in a very difficult position where were the end of the old school model, and then the new school model, we may be part into them, but our fan bases are old enough to where they don’t participate as much in the new technology because again now a fucking ten one hold is flipping through iPads. It’s insane how now young people in such a part of their life whereas again, when we were coming up, none of this shit even existed. Even though our fans might use the application, they don’t necessarily subscribe to the band they were into when they were younger even if they would be interested in it. It’s a very difficult time to try to connect with all of those people, but if you’re a young band, it’s an amazing time. I would love to be a 22-year-old kid starting a band right now building social media fan base and my connectivity with my fans that I’m in control forever and I have that connection forever. It’s a very unique time which again, the downside of that is that there’s not a lot of huge labels.
The support for bands like there used to be and there’s not MTV and all those things, but if I could trade one for the other, I would say I would take connectivity to your fan base over any of that all day long because if you build that from scratch, you don’t need any labels. You’ve got the direct access to the people that care about your art and that’s priceless.
The new Dope album Blood Money Part I is out October 28thth from eOne. You can pre-order it here: