The infusion of politics into American rock and roll revolutionized the music scene . Leaving a lasting impression that can be seen in many rock music genres of today. Influenced by punk pioneers such as the Velvet Underground, The MC5 and the Sex Pistols bands have become increasingly active in politics by releasing music that supported the political causes du jour. Once referred to as counterculture it soon became the “je ne sais quoi”. The turbulent 1960’s brought an era of music loosely defined by peace, love, and the hippy movement. Whilst’ British invasion artists The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who.. etc. etc. took over mainstream pop music charts. American artists of all music genres worked desperately to reproduce the British rock and roll feel. As a result of rock and roll’s mass conformity, punk was born in fervent opposition to the popular culture of the time. The musical gap was with droning guitars, untrained vocals and plenty of “white noise”. Punk was fresh and rebellious! It had a premise at times with the dark side and it reflected the power of rock and roll! Breaking all the rules of music that the band members had never bothered to learn. Unlike many early American punk bands, British punk used music primarily as a political force that spread anarchy, anti-government and anti-establishment messages into the world. With the current political events the musical door swings wide open again for British rock and roll attitude.
Ally Dickaty And Danny Dolan
British band, The Virginmarys right from the get-go with the pile driving hit, “Bang Bang Bang” have successfully been able to catch lightening in a bottle. Each album never sounded like its predecessor yet always getting better. We at Rock Bands of L.A.com voted, “Divides” as one of the best album of 2016! Many band have to take a step backwards in order to make that leap forward… But not so with TVM’s! During their tenure they have a pathos towards rock and roll that has never stagnated. They believe in rock and roll.. in its mythology.. its romance.. its subversion.. its individualism and its ability to save!
The end of last year, The Virginmarys saw the departure of bass player, Matt Rose and had separated from Wind-up Records. Most bands would dawdle around and implode after this kind of adversity. . However, TVM’s had the fearless resolution to persevere. Ally Dickaty and Danny Dolan are keeping the dream alive by touring and recording new music. Ally started a charity program, “People Help People” which raises food and awareness for the needy.
Ally Dickaty Raising Food And Awareness.. Danny Dolan
Their recent four song E.P. release of “Sitting Ducks” plays with devotion. Following where the winds rise and falls. The title track, “Sitting Ducks” has a bit of a retro-alternative rhythm.. I’m not saying its dated! It just sets a commanding socio/political tone for the rest of the E.P.. The following track, “Sweet Loretta” is more in the vein of past TVM’s work…You can really hear the Danny Dolan’s trademark drumming (Danny is the fuckin’ best drummer in rock!). The song that just may be the best song Paul McCartney hadn’t written in over 35 years… “Sleep”. It’s chorus exhibits the maturity of a band that’s been together through thick and thin for almost a decade. They’ve never penned a song so compelling.. musically and lyrically. The torch of rock and roll has been toiled by believers who think rock and roll is dead! God bless The Virginmarys for keeping the fire lit!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ally Dickaty. Someone I’ve admired since the beginning. Rock Bands of L.A.com was the first American music blog to tell the tale of The Virginmarys.
Rock Bands of L.A. com:
The new E.P., “Sitting Ducks”… You produced it… your first time at this.. What did you learn from Gil Norton and Toby Jepson? Is it more challenging to produce your own music? Do you find yourself second guessing yourself?
It was a really new experience for me and Dan, especially since the departure of Matt on bass. We didn’t want 2017 to go by without new music for the fans and we knew there was material to work with so we just hit it really hard. The pressure was on us after working with producers for the last 8 years, having a bench mark set and knowing what it had to live up to in performance and sonics. We sketched a hell of a lot on a multi track we’ve been using since the start and kept refining each time. We also put our trust in good friends to engineer and mix. Joff Spittlehouse from Mansfield UK to engineer, Kemble Walters from LA to mix tracks 1-3 and Mark Wainwright from Sklemersdale to mix track 4 ‘Sleep.’ We’re really proud of what we accomplished with it, and the acclaim it’s picked up. There was a bit of second guessing with the pressure of doing it ourselves this time but also a freedom to have everything the way we wanted.
Rock Bands of L.A.com:
The Virginmarys are always evolving… never doing the same things twice… If fact, you released an entire album of songs from “King of Conflict—Stripped”… which was brilliant! Now with “Sitting Ducks” it’s and E.P. with only four songs…. Is there enough material to make an album with? What might we expect? Any surprises?
There’s always the songs lying around, its refining them to the point where we think they stand up strong enough. There’s been a lot of unfinished material like B-sides we should release at some point. I hate the idea of songs of ours never being available for the fans to hear in some format.I think this would be more of a ‘White album’ vibe though and a bit more loose.
Rock Bands of L.A.com:
I’ll be honest, it took me two listens of the E.P. before I got it… What’s the story of the lead track, “Sitting Ducks”? There’s so much dissension in Britain and the United States… There’s Brexit.. “Trumpism” and terrorism.. Do you feel you need a platform to express your political beliefs with your fans?
I think there’s an overall feeling of confusion, disillusion, depression and worry in a lot of the world. It’s like there is something vital missing in our lives. We’ve gained so much in many respects and lost so much in others. The pop culture and mainstream no longer expresses who we are anymore, it’s just one more thing that has been sold out..I know there’s so many who feel disconnected with it all, where we’re going politically and as the human race. Everything has never felt so globalized. One control to rule the world, which I guess is money when it all comes down to it.
‘I can see it in you, can you feel it in me’ is a calling for like minds and hearts, and a reminder that were not alone. ‘Sitting ducks for sitting crooks’ is that we are all easy targets of the machine. ‘Divided hearts will fall’ a calling to come together. I believe in love, I know a lot of people don’t dig the politics but some stuff is so fundamental and I stick with this stuff, the important stuff that people will talk about on their death beds of what to value.
Rock Bands of L.A.com:
I’m going out on a limb… “Sleep” is the best song on the E.P.!.. It’s a tune that Paul McCartney could’ve written 30 years ago! What’s the story behind this song?
Well that is a huge compliment, Paul McCartney has been responsible for some of the best melody the world has ever seen. I’ve always loved doing acoustic songs and I love playing with backing vocals and harmonies. I’m a big fan of the orchestral feel with percussion and voices that the beach boys managed to incorporate also. We never see our band as a one trick pony and I think part of the cult following and die hard fans element to us has to do with the vulnerability of the whole thing. It’s good to display that where we can. The acoustic material has always gone down really well and we thought it’d be nice to bring some of it to the end of the EP.
Rock Bands of L.A.com:
Is Danny still beating the shit out of his drums?
Of course! There is no other drummer like Dan, he is a one off. He has a style unlike anyone I’ve ever heard, I think it must be through all the different influences. He can play with such power like Bonham but then has so much complexity and feel like jazz drummers and Mitch Mitchell of the Hendrix Experience. There was a crowd fund recently to buy him a new gong after the old one got cracked at the Sonisphere Festival. Our fans are incredible, and needless to say we’ll be taking a new gong out with us on the up coming shows in the UK.
“Drummer Assassin” Danny Dolan
Rock Bands of L.A.com
You’ve toured America twice… I saw both shows in L.A… In fact, we met at one of them… I’ll be honest I really loathed the bands you opened for… that’s me being honest…The States is a tough market to crack… Are there plans to tour?
We are a hard band to place on tour a lot of the time, I don’t think any other bands about sound like us. It may be a bit of time before we can tour the State’s again sadly. We are not with a label and it costs so much with visas/flights/van and fuel across America because of the size of it.We absolutely love touring the US, it’s an amazing place, we have loads of great friends there. Where there’s a will there’s a way though, hopefully we can make it happen.
It was my dream as a journalist to interview Ally Dickaty… I want to thank
Ally and Rob Town of Stampede Press