It's a good time to be in a rock n roll band right now. All you have to do is write a few songs that sound vaguely like the Stooges or the MC5 and shout a lot about having sex or throwing a party, liberally sprinkle a few 'Yeah's and 'Baby's throughout, and you've made it. Within a week you'll have mainstream music papers shouting from the rooftops about how you're going to be everyone's 'New Favourite Band', no matter how bad you are.

Fortunately, this is not the case for each and every band. New
Zealand's D4, one of the latest bands to get hit by the hype machine, are actually rather good. Taking their influences from late 60's/early 70's bands like the Heartbreakers and the Stooges(naturally), they play breakneck raw punk n roll with genuine style. Their debut album, '6twenty', is the best collection of songs about girls and partying this side of the 70's, and features both of their singles to date, 'Rock 'n' Roll Motherfucker' and 'Party', and also a covers of Johnny Thunders' 'Pirate Love'.

That was why I was quite excited about meeting them for an interview at the Garage in London. Armed only with a dictaphone and a few questions scribbled on a scrappy bit of paper, I wanted to chat with them about their new found hype and their place in the Garage rock 'scene'. I was also looking forward to checking them out live for the first time.
 
Upon arrival at the Garage, the photographer Chris and myself told the security who we were and why we were here, and to my surprise, were immediately escorted inside into the main part of the club without anyone checking up on whether we're supposed to be there. Not that I was complaining, mind.

In the main room, the opening band were doing their soundchecks -the stage was buzzing with roadies, fiddling with amps, checking microphones, shifting equipment, while the band themselves belted out a couple of tunes, seemingly oblivious to the activity around them. Our escort spotted a lone bloke sitting on his own at one of the tables by the bar, and went across to talk to him. She then brought
him back down towards us.

The bloke in question was the D4's lanky drummer Beaver, who lead us backstage. We had a good chat with Beaver, who was a thoroughly nice bloke. He told us that Dion and Jimmy (the band's two singer/guitarists) were the ones that we would be interviewing, but were away doing something else. Beaver doesn't do interviews for which he apologised, then he changed the subject to Glastonbury, where the D4 had recently played, and talked about how great the Queens of the Stone Age were there. He then preceeded to tell us about the antics of the Parkinsons, and tried his best to act them out.It was hilarious, but unfortunately none of it is recorded.

By chance,I had a copy of a well known music paper in my bag which had a lengthy review of Glastonbury, which praised the D4's live set, so I got it out to show Beaver the article. He then pointed out all the information about the band that wasn't actually true. There was a lot of it. That's mainstream music journalism for you.

During our lengthy conversation, Beaver told us that most of the band's equipment was hired, because their own instruments have either been broken or lost over the course of the tour. A few hours later, and this hired equipment would also be smashed beyond repair.

One and a bit support bands later, and we finally got to meet Dion and Jimmy Christmas, the D4's joint frontmen. We had met bass player Vaughan earlier in the night, but very briefly. All we'd got was the impression that he was wasted. Dion and Jimmy were slightly stressed, as they were due to go onstage pretty soon, and had done various other interviews over the course of the day. During our conversation, we talked about the labelling of the band in thepress. Dion and Jimmy wanted to set a few things straight.

"We're not a garage rock band" said Dion without hesitation. "We're a real rock and roll band - that's what we are."

Talk turned to the Datsuns, another band from New Zealand treading similar waters to the D4. As well as classifying both bands as Garage rock, many music papers and magazines have erroneously accused them both of jumping on the bandwagon of Garage rock bands like the Hives. Unsurprisingly, Dion weren't Jimmy aren't too happy about this.

JC : How can they (the Datsuns) be fucking bandwagon jumpers? I
tell you what, they can't be. (To Dion) How long have the Datsuns have been together?

D : About 6 years

JC : Yeah, about 6 six years

D : They've been around for a long time, people are fucking jumping on their bandwagon, man. They're a great rock n roll band, and we support them and they support us. We're the bandwagon.

JC : The bandwagon is a press created thing.

D : Actually, the press jump on the bandwagon, that's the truth of it.

PB : You're quite a tongue-in-cheek band lyrically. Do you think that most modern rock bands take themselves a bit too seriously?

D : I think so yeah. We're not preaching to anyone or doing anything
pretentious. We're just out to have a good time, and that's present in our lyrics. That's what it's about.

JC : Some people can do it. Some people have got something to say. You know deep and meaningful and all that shit, but if you can't do it you shouldn't do it. We're all about energy and having a good time. If we're at a party, we're not deep and meaningful in the corner. We're fucking ripping down the fucking curtains in the front room.

PB : Are you surprised by the levels of praise and attention you have been getting from the media recently?

D : Not really, no ( They both laugh).

JC : We're pleased. It's very gratifying. It's all very surreal. It's a really great time for the band.

PB : You've been around for four years now, but you've only recently been getting a lot of world-wide attention. Was it irritating earlier on in your career to see relatively inexperienced bands like the Strokes rise to fame so quickly?

D : Not at all, not at all. I really like the Hives. They're a fucking great band and I wouldn't call them inexperienced, I think they've probably been playing for quite a while. We don't really care about other bands you know. We don't diss them. We just care about what we do. That's all we give a fuck
about.

JC : I mean it's good because the Strokes basically opened the door for a lot of bands that deserve a lot of recognition. You know people hear bands they haven't heard before and go : "Oh hang on ! What's this? That's kind of in that direction". So it's allowed a lot of bands that wouldn't have had the opportunity to travel to play shows in different territories.

PB : You've got a reputation as a very good live band. Is playing live the most important thing for the band?

D : Well it's the most fun, definitely. I mean you've got the recording side to it, which is important because it's a medium to get across to a lot of people, but I love playing live. I think it's our strong point if we're going to continue to be as good as we can.

PB : Out of all the great new Rock n roll bands (I chose my words carefully here) around at the moment, who are you most into?

D : We saw a really cool band in Birmingham called the Fuhrers, I'm really into the Buff Medways, the Hives, the Datsuns, the Tearjerkers, and there's just so many bands that deserve it that aren't getting enough recognition at the moment, and it's been that way since 1962.

PB : Is there any meaning behind your name? If there is where did your name come from?

D : Our name - my father gave us the name when he met the band members. I invited them back to dinner at my place and my father took me aside in the middle of dinner and said : "you guys are like the D4 - like 4 rabid dogs that should have been taken out the back a long time ago and shot". So we're dogs. That's the D. There's 4 of us so there you go - the D4.

PB : You're playing this year's Carling weekend festivals. Are you looking forward to it?

D :Yeah, it's going to be like the hottest festival.

JC : Yeah, can't wait.

PB : What can festival-goers expect from your set?

D : We don't really plan anything, so we can't really expect anything, I don' t know. We'll just go on and see what happens.

PB : Right. Can you see yourselves playing further up the bill in the years to come?

D : We don't really look that far ahead;

JC : About 6 months, mate

D : Yeah, more like 3 months.

JC : It's like every show is our last show, man.

D : Exactly, the door is wide open.

PB : Fair enough. Will you be checking out any other bands while you're there?

D : Yeah, probably loads

JC : Yeah

D : I don't know; I'd have to have another look at the bill.

PB : Do you put anything unusual on your rider?

D : We always put seedless grapes on our rider

JC : (enthusiastically)- They're too easy to come by. We thought it be funny, you know. We thought it would be like our version of brown M& Ms, but everyone just keeps turning up with seedless grapes and it's like destroyed our joke.

D : Maybe we should ask for a couple of dwarves to throw around back stage.

PB : Hmm, sounds like fun. Are you glad that you get to use the performers toilets at festivals rather than to use the smelly porta-loos graced by many a drunken pot noodle stuffed student over the course of then weekend?

D : (slightly bemused)-Are we gracious?

Beaver (shouting from the back of the room): You must be joking mate. Have you seen the toilet we've got backstage?!

JC (smiling): No it's great at festivals and stuff. It's really cool.

D :It's alright, yeah

JC: It's much better than going with the crowd.

PB : If you could've written one song over the course of history, which one would it be, and why?

D : It would have been for me 'Satisfaction' by the Rolling Stones- it's the greatest rock & roll song of all time.  It's got the best riff. Everyone knows 'Satisfaction'.

JC : Maybe we should do a cover version of 'Michael Row your Boat Ashore'.

PB :Sounds good to me. Do you think you'll open the doors for other great New Zealand bands to get to a wider audience?

JC : I think we'll inspire New Zealand bands to realise that they don't just have to be confined to New Zealand and Australia. I mean the natural progression for most NZ bands is like "Right now we are going to leave NZ and we're going to play Australia" you know, but obviously you don't have to do that you can just - the whole world is yours. So the idea would be to find out where your music is happening and go there.

PB : As well as the festivals, what else are you up to over the next few months?

JC : We're gonna go back to New Zealand, do a two week tour of New Zealand,then on to Australia, then back to play a festival in Belgium and then the Carling stuff, and then another tour in Europe, then a festival in Italy. That's we know about, and then who knows? It's going to be big.

PB : Thank you !


The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Chris Jarvis











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