» Jesper Binzer - D-A-D
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Interview conducted March 13 2013
Interview published March 22 2013

Danish riskin' it all rock legends D-A-D (Disneyland After Dark) came to the U.S. in March for a brief tour. They also re-issued their latest album as a double disc with some bonus material for us hungry Americans, so help yourself if you like.

Clearly there is plenty of fuel left for us pilgrims, and I spoke with Jesper Binzer all about the new album, their loyal fanbase, the history of the band, his monster philosophy, and my personal appreciation of all their hard work for the past few decades.

Obviously, Jesper and his sympatico brothers have risen from the rim of hell, and are not sleeping their daze away, because they continue to write memorable songs, as well as showing signs of maturity in their lyrical and global perspectives. Join us for a lofty dogmatic discourse....

MettleAngel: Hey Man, I was hoping to speak with you, personally. I quickly booked this interview just last night, and I was not altogether sure with whom I would speak.

  • Jesper: Yeah, on this brief U.S. Tour we scheduled a few interviews with the American press.

MettleAngel: I assume this tour came together rather quickly, as you are only playing a handful of dates, mostly in Texas, then California.

  • Jesper: We just played in New York, and the fan response was remarkable. It was a real eye opener for us. Now we are in Texas, but we are not officially part of the SXSW Festival. Our promoter from Germany had some proper connections, so he assisted us with booking this small tour.

MettleAngel: I was hoping you would have played some Midwestern dates. I was surprised to see you were not coming to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, etc.

  • Jesper: We did not even know that there were still fans here in America. We thought perhaps a handful would remember us from the '80s, but as it turns out, they were very familiar with some of our newer material, which was never even released here.

MettleAngel: Well, D-A-D fans are dedicated. I, myself, have sought out to obtain several of your imports. I see that you have re-released 'Dic-nii-lan-daft-erd-ark' with a bonus disc of material. I was surprised to realize that many of the acoustic songs and live selections were not the classics.

  • Jesper: We still play the older songs live, but we want to focus on our newer material. We knew that our most recent album was not available in America, so we wanted to give you worthwhile extra goodies. We also want you to hear the more upadated, mature side of our band, whom you may have dismissed as so silly, and not serious from the MTV era.

MettleAngel: I have to admit, I did find those videos quite amusing back then, and this is one reason I was able to distinguish you from so much crap they played. MTV was our only source, now the kids have so many options. They can just go to YouTube and watch a video. We had to sift through hours of mediocre fluff just to see a band like PowerMad get played once on MTV.

  • Jesper: Yeah I can relate, we were linked with so many manufactured bands. The whole '80s scene was about image. It was a corporate rock machine. We stem from a Punk and D.I.Y. type background. This is not us, we never did fit in well with the U.S. scene.

MettleAngel: Wow! I would have assumed your roots were more in Country, Rhythm & Blues. I always saw the band in more of an AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Skynyrd, Motörhead, type vibe.

  • Jesper: We have always played the music we love, and allowed our influences to shine forth. Back in the MTV days, we were thrown on these corporate rock bills with bands with which we had nothing in common. Then when we had a hit like "Girl Nation", we were instantly called "Hair Metal" and touring with bands with whom we did not relate.

MettleAngel: I can see that! I actually liked the tongue-in-cheek humour of the band, but you also wrote and still create memorable songs. I also feel that you have really improved lyrically, and the words have a deeper meaning now. For example the first song "A New Age Moving In", or "The Last Time In Neverland" really express some thought and reflection. I noticed this with "Monster Philosophy", as well.

  • Jesper: Thank you for acknowledging the serious side of the band. Sure we still like to have fun. We came up with the name of the new album, with this idea in mind.

MettleAngel: Yeah, when I first noticed it, I thought is was in your native tongue, but then on second glance, I got the joke. What exactly is the monster philosophy?

  • Jesper: Well, it deals with the dichotomy of man. It focuses on an egotistical way of living. It can either to be right or wrong. Perhaps it is all about being true to yourself, and sticking to your guns, which may scare and frighten others. Or perhaps it could also refer to the band itself, and the in-fighting in the studio. For example, perhaps one member may think he has written the best riff for a song, but the other guys may disagree. Rehearsals can be very taxing. It can be a mixed bag.

MettleAngel: So it can be very subjective. You and your brother Jacob have been in the band since the inception, as has Stig Pedersen. Only your drummer Peter Lundholm Jensen is new, and he joined in 1999. Damn, you have only had one line-up change in almost 30 years, that is truly remarkable!

  • Jesper: Yeah, and we still call him the new guy! With D-A-D we want to show that we are not the same band, we once were. We are always evolving.

MettleAngel: Is this why the way you have written the initials differently over the past years? My CD for 'No Fuel Left For The Pilgrims' has D.A.D., but then my import of a later album has D:A:D:, now the new album is D-A-D.

  • Jesper: Well, this is partially true, but also we had problems registering our name with the Internet, so we had to make some adjustments.

MettleAngel: That makes sense. If I recall, you also had problems with corporate Disney for the name Disneyland After Dark, which I think is a clever and witty.

  • Jesper: And yet people stil call us DAD, as is we are a synonym for father. We have family in this band, and we are a family, but not a "Father". Actually, we tried to come up with a name that would stand out, and maintain a Punkish verve. The name Disneyland After Dark is really our overview of the excessive '80s. We always thought that we did not fit in with the indulgent era.

MettleAngel: I guess is was a bit too much, or as you say, "Overmuch".

  • Jesper: Indeed! You mentioned how you have noticed the level of songwriting and lyrics to be more reflective, and less silly. Well, this is because when you travel the world as much as we have, you gain new perspectives on things. It changes how you see things, and you feel compelled to write about it.

MettleAngel: So, as you get older you are providing a social commentary?

  • Jesper: Exactly, and we do no want to be just seen as "that" band from the '80s with "those" videos. So many '80s one hit wonders are still touring and trying to live on the laurels of their past faded glory. We want to be recognized as the band we are now, and fully embrace our past.

MettleAngel: That is very admirable. Also, you still write quality music. Some of those bands release new material with one original member, and it is so mediocre, and then live all they do is their hits. Whereas, clearly you mix the old with the new, and allow for a wider audience.

  • Jesper: Yeah when we became popular in the '80s in America we were linked with the Music Industry; something we did not understand, given our D.I.Y. attitude. In Europe it has always been different; especially at home.

MettleAngel: In Denmark you are very popular. I understand that you were even nominated for a major award in 2012.

  • Jesper: Yes, in Europe we are very successful, and well-known. We do not care about the awards, we care about our fans. Afterall, they are the reason we have been doing this for so long.

MettleAngel: I agree, and I admire how you still have not cut your hair, just like the song says. My son is nine and his hair nearly touches the floor. Man, I would have loved to had hair that long at that age, when I still had hair! Now, I am happy to have long hair at my age, and not worry about what others may think.

  • Jesper: Well, being in a band allows you to have long hair.

MettleAngel: I had long hair in the '80s, but I was always misunderstood and mislabelled as either a hippy, a burn-out, or some Satanic HeadBanger.

  • Jesper: Having long hair defines who you are. When all those corporate rock posuers from the '80s cut their hair to adapt to the new fad of Grunge, they showed their true colours. We do not follow trends, I will not cut my hair, because it is a part of me, and it is not about image, or personality. It is about integrity. Also, I never used hairspray!

MettleAngel: Amen, me neither! This reminds me of Kurt Brecht from D.R.I., damn they too have been around over 30's years and he still has his long hair as the singer in such an influential Crossover act.

  • Jesper: We have much more in common with a band like D.R.I. than with many of the "Hair Bands" trying to stage a comeback today. Our journey as a band feels like a locomotive. Now, it is wonderful feeling to create music which people appreciate. We no longer feel compelled to churn out what we are told people want. We have paid our dues, and refuse to live in the past.

MettleAngel: This is why I so honour the band. I also want to comment on how much I like the song "Sad, Sad X-mas" from the album 'D.A.D. Draws A Circle'. I hate the Holidays, and the music even more. I always choose to play songs like this or King Diamond's "No Presents For Christmas" instead.

  • Jesper: We actually now have two Christmas songs, but I can see how you can identify with "Sad, Sad X-mas"

MettleAngel: This like so many great songs truly epitomizes the band's tried and true attitude. What is noble, is that if another band mimicked your style, or even had a similar musical vibe, I would not appreciate them as much.

  • Jesper: Why not?

MettleAngel: I always felt the band had a sound rooted in the Krokus or Rose Tattoo mode, but I have to say what has held me loyal all these years are your lyrics, whether fun and easy to identify with like "Sleeping My Day Away", or more reflective like "Monster Philsophy" or "Helpyourselfish", I feel there has always been a certain tenacity and edge to what you create.

  • Jesper: Wow, Michael thank you so much. You are so not what I expected from an American journalist. This has been a very enjoyable interview. I really appreciate it.

MettleAngel: Hopefully, you will make it back to America soon. My wife and I would really like to catch the band live, and meet you in person.

  • Jesper: That would be great. Thank You again for all the support!

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