TEN FOOT POLE
Speaks with Jonesy
from The Vigilantes
Punk Globe: How is your day?
DJ: Pretty good. I have some time off so I am watering my back yard to get the track a bit muddy for me to practice sliding a dirtbike through the corners.
Punk Globe: Whatís new in the life of Dennis Jagard?
DJ: I have 2 boys, ages 2 and 5. So most of my new stuff comes from experiencing being a dad, watching them grow, trying to make good decisions about discipline, etc. And from my work, I get to do sound for lots of events, and each event is a little different. The last job I did was mixing monitors for Jimmy Eat World at the KROQ Weenie Roast; I had a great time since I love the band, and it was exciting because we didn't get a sound check, just a few minutes to test all the lines before the turntable stage rotated them in front of a huge crowd. Luckily for me it went well.
Punk Globe: I am very happy to hear you are doing shows again with Ten Foot Pole. How did that come about? What have you got planned for 2009? New material?
DJ: We got a nice offer from Riorock, which was a festival we had agreed to play in the past but we had to cancel. So it was great to keep my promise to them to play, as well as to have a goal to get the guys back together rehearsing. We are now available to play shows, though the schedule is tricky since our drummer plays in Death by Stereo who tours a lot (right now they are in Canada ). Eventually I'm sure we'll have new material, but I don't want to put anything out unless it is very good, so I'm not setting any kind of timeline. When we have music we are proud of, we will release it.
Punk Globe: Tell me about the current line-up of Ten Foot Pole plus something we didnít know about every band member.
DJ: Keith Divel on guitar is also known as DJ Divel, and he is a great DJ, I think you might see more of him once more people have seen his skills. Chris Dalley is a great drummer, playing with Death by Stereo, and he recently played a few songs for Strung Out as they are touring together and apparently they needed help.
Punk Globe: How would you describe the sound of Ten Foot Pole 2009?
DJ: Same as it ever was, though I think my voice gets better with age and the stress of having kids.
Punk Globe: What are your main sources of inspiration? What inspires you to write songs? You both sing and play guitar, is it music first or lyrics first?
DJ: Music, lyrics or melody can come first, then it's easy to build the other elements if it is a strong original idea. Sometimes an idea just comes to me, often in the shower or while sleeping, and the trick is to record the idea before I forget it. I think songwriting is just a way to share an emotion, so inspiration can come from any aspect of life, as long as it is a strong enough emotion to make it worthwhile to sing about a bunch of times.
Punk Globe: Which is the best punk rock song of all times? Why is it so great?
DJ: Tough call, there are so many good ones, and it is too much pressure to say the "best." Here are some of my favorites: David Bowie "Rock N Roll Suicide;" Muse "Knights of Cydonia"; Pink Floyd "Another Brick in the Wall;" Green Day "Boulevard of Broken Dreams;" Fugazi "Merchandise"
See, the more good ones I think of, the more come to mind. There is no best.
Punk Globe: Where is your favorite place to tour? Why?
DJ: Wherever the kids are stacked up and happy to see us. Because it doesn't matter where we are, as long as we have friends.
Punk Globe: What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
DJ: One guy gave me a wet willie. That was disturbing, I can't remember if it was in Holland or Spain .
Punk Globe: Looking back all the way to the beginning of the 80ís and the Scared Straight-days; what is different? How has the punk scene changed?
DJ: Things are a bit more safe now. More sanitized. Less scary people at shows. Punk is a lot more mainstream than it was. Before it was the geeks and freaks who liked the music mostly, and it has shifted to be an accepted style of music for normal kids.
Punk Globe: What are your thoughts about mp3ís and file-sharing?
DJ: I suppose eventually they will take care of my main issues: poor sound quality and no compensation to the artists. I hope they do it sooner rather than later, because it is a shame to have such great recordings unheard by the masses, since they are hearing a pale and shoddy copy of the original.
Punk Globe: Tell the readers something about your career as a sound engineer. What artists have you worked with? What is it like working with Prince?
DJ: I have worked with quite a few interesting characters and entities, just this year I have done sound for Obama, Scharzenegger, AFI, Jimmy Eat World, Microsoft, Alice Cooper, etc. I love the variety and I like the challenge... no matter how good it sounds, I can always improve on it and work to make things more reliable. Working with Prince was a challenging and exciting time; I learned a lot and got to work in high profile environments, like the Superbowl and Saturday Night Live, etc. Of course, there is also a lot of stress with that type of job, so it's nice to take breaks occasionally so I don't get too many grey hairs.
Punk Globe: Where did you study? Who are your influences as far as sound engineering goes? How did you get into it?
DJ: My Grandfather was a sound engineer and my dad had a sound company besides his day job as an electronic engineer, so I grew up doing sound. I learned things mostly by trial and error.
Punk Globe: What would be your advice to bands trying to get their first demo together and playing their first shows?
DJ: Don't quit your day job, don't expect success, you have to do it because you love it. And most importantly, spend your time writing good songs, not just rushing to have some product. Being in a band is a lot of work, and it is not worth your while unless you are absolutely proud of your songs.
Punk Globe: When did you first pick up a guitar? Who are your influences when it comes to the guitar? What equipment are you using?
DJ: I started playing acoustic guitar as a way to get my parents to stop forcing me to take piano lessons. Then when I was in jr high I got an electric guitar to play music with friends in a garage band, mostly in an effort to impress the girls. I was a big fan of older metal, like Black Sabbath and AC/DC, then I got into Minor Threat, Black Flag, 7 Seconds, etc, and tried to learn their songs. Right now I use a Gibson Les Paul Studio Lite and a Peavey Classic 50 head, with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers.
Punk Globe: Thank you for your time Dennis. Hope to catch you in 2009. Anything else you would like to say to the readers of Punk Globe Magazine?