Dash Rip Rock

Playing a revved-up mixture of punk, rockabilly, hard rock, country, and dirty boogie, New Orleans natives Dash Rip Rock are one of the most enduring acts on the Southern "cowpunk" scene, playing rowdy, sweat-soaked shows and making bold, raucous records over a quarter-century after they first took flight. Taking their name from a minor but memorable character on the TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, Dash Rip Rock were founded in 1984 by guitarist and singer Bill Davis, who has been the sole constant member throughout the group's history. The initial edition of Dash Rip Rock featured Davis, Ned "Hoaky" Hickel on bass, and F. Clarke Martty on drums, and was primarily focused on rockabilly and uptempo country sounds. Within a year, Davis became eager to bring a harder and more aggressive edge to the music, and Martty left the trio, with Fred LeBlanc taking over on drums. Dash Rip Rock earned a reputation as a great energetic live act, and their steady schedule of road gigs won them a large following in New Orleans and plenty of college towns throughout the South and Southwest. Dash Rip Rock became a frequent attraction at the 688 Club in Atlanta, Georgia, and when the club's owners decided to launch a record label, Dash Rip Rock became their first signing, releasing the group's self-titled debut in 1987. The North Carolina-based independent label Mammoth Records picked up 688's distribution, and for Dash Rip Rock's 1989 album Ace of Clubs, the band moved up to Mammoth's roster. After touring behind Ace of Clubs, Fred LeBlanc left the band (he would go on to co-found the long-running country-rock band Cowboy Mouth), and drummer Chris Luckette signed on with DRR in time to record 1990's Not of This World, produced by living legend Jim Dickinson. Dash Rip Rock closed out their Mammoth Records tenure with the 1991 live set Boiled Alive, and they signed with the California-based indie Dr. Dream Records for the 1993 release Tiger Town. After jumping to the Ichiban-distributed Naked Language imprint for 1995's Get You Some of Me (which included the radio favorite "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot"), and 1996's Dash Rip Rock's Gold Record (which had some of the group's familiar audience favorites), 1998 found Fred LeBlanc making a partial return to the band as producer and sideman on the album Paydirt. (Paydirt also found the group once again breaking in a new drummer, Kyle Melancon.) For 2002's Sonic Boom, the group briefly shortened their name to Dash, as well as adding a bit of polish to their sound, but with the 2005 collection Recyclone, Dash Rip Rock offered a potent look back at the cream of their back catalog while also teaming up with an unlikely but supportive record label, Alternative Tentacles, run by former Dead Kennedys' vocalist Jello Biafra. While in the 2000s Dash Rip Rock went through an impressive number of drummers and bass players after both Hickel and Melancon moved on, the association with Alternative Tentacles led to a series of strong and lively albums, including the tongue-in-cheek concept album Hee Haw Hell (2007), the party-hearty celebration Call of the Wild (2010), and the dark, harder-edged Black Liquor (2012), which helped rekindle interest in the band, who still play upwards of 150 shows a year. In 2012, Dash Rip Rock were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the group also has the distinction of being the only band to have played the South by Southwest Music Conference every year since it was launched in 1986.
Mark Deming, Rovi