Dino Drive: Their Music, and the Local Scene
If you say the name “Dino Drive” in the local scene, chances are, people will know who you mean. The 5-piece getup from Parkersburg is not only known for their energetic and unpredictable (in the best way) performances-they’re also very supportive of our local music scene, host a bunch of warm-weather house shows, AND make really good music. Naturally, we wanted to talk about these things, and Dino Drive generously obliged.
HTN: So, how long have you all been in a band, together?
Alex: That’s that's kind of an interesting question, because it started in 2010…Dino Drive itself. But Zeb and Adam and I were all together, playing music in high school. We started playing music (the three of us) back in 2009/2010. We originally were going to kind of be a pop punk (band) like Green Day, and we just kind of progressed. We said we were going to do things (as that band) and play shows, and that never really happened…
HTN: As the Green Day thing?
Alex: Yeah, we actually wrote some songs-which maybe one day, we’ll release those if we’re brave enough-maybe as a joke.
Zeb: Yeah, but we started doing that (the pop punk band/music), and then it was around the time you and I (motioned to Alex) moved in together and around 2014, and we needed a base player. So we can taught Kyle how to play bass. And Austin and I moved in together, and Austin took an interest in keyboards.
Alex: Zeb forced Austin to take an interest in keyboards.
Zeb: Yeah (laughter) and then that's kind of when we started doing what we’re doing, now. So playing music together, we’ve been playing music together for a while. Dino Drive itself, probably right around 2014.
HTN: How would you say your performance style has evolved, since then?
Zeb: I feel like it’s digressed. (Everyone laughs)
HTN: How has it “broken down” over the years? I feel like every time I know you guys are going to be playing… I know it's going to be a really fun show to watch. So for whatever reason that might be, do you feel like when you started playing together that you were that engaged?
Alex: No at first we had a problem (with moving around, and) we just stood there, I think.
Zeb: …Whenever we first started playing we went through a phase (of standing still), and then we all got to the point where we pretty much got to move around. You gotta make yourself look interesting, and we're having a good time, and we need to let you know that you should have a good time, too.
Austin: Yeah. I think everybody has that problem (at first). And it was kind of like you look at other bands moving around a lot, and go “that’s really cool”, and “people like that”. And you know, there are things you just gravitate to (in your performances)
Zeb: And you know the thing about it is, nobody's going to be that interested if you're just someone that’s sitting up there or standing up there playing song.
Eventually you get to the point where it's just like you don't give a shit if you look like an idiot anymore.
Alex: That’s the best part of it.
Austin: And then people start to like it.
Zeb: Or they feed off of it. Anymore, it’s like how dumb can we make it-like, how stupid can we look towards the end of the show? What demons can I channel, this time?
Alex: We haven’t done it for a while, but we used to have a habit of setting up a camera before every show, and then we would we go back and watch the footage and be like “holy cow look we look like idiots”. But then we thought “that’s awesome”.
Zeb: The other things is, you don’t get too self-conscious about that (looking like idiots) because you think you're playing music in front of a bunch of people that think you're the shit -that are there to see you and have a good time.
HTN: Do you think that plays into a part of your nurturing the local scene?
Austin: Yeah, I mean a lot of our band friends are out there that are watching us too, and understand that as well.
Adam: A lot of musicians come to shows-which, a lot of the music scene is other musicians coming to shows, and they understand it, too. And also, being in a band and everything and they get kind of goofy on stage and everything, so they understand moving with music in the same way-performers understand each other.
HTN: One of the (many) reasons I wanted to talk with y'all in the first place is…because out of all of the shows I’ve been to, I see you guys are showing up even when you're not playing.
Zeb: If you're going to be part of the scene then you support it…the way I see it, it (the scene) is a lot of those guys (other bands), and you know they come to our shows. So why not? It's a good time, and everybody has fun with it.
HTN: Even when I was able to finally come out to the Horse House (our loved and local house show spot), even when it wasn't even close to your turn to play you were right up front and when no one else was standing up close it was like you guys kind of had this understanding where you just go up and you stand by the stage and you you bob your head…
Alex: Our second show we ever played, we played at the VFW in post 1212… one of the guys from Cassius at Best, Josh Adams, he did that (came up to the stage) and kind of brought everybody in front of (the stage), and it was kinda cool. And that’s rubbed off on at least me.
Adam: We know what it’s like to play with nobody in front of you, and it sucks. When you’re giving your all, and nothing. Even when there’s people out there, but they’re like, fifteen feet away, it’s kinda weird. There’s no exchange.
HTN: So for people who live here (in the Mid-Ohio Valley, or are part of any small town scene, and) want to do more to support local music…any suggestions you have for how people can can help build up the scene or strengthen it, or keep it going in a positive direction-as a musician, as a fan?
Zeb: Part of it is, is this weirdo mindset from a “small town” type mindset that “Oh, I'm from a small town so there can't be any good bands or really good artists from this area, because it's a small town…so how is it possible? So just don't bother.”
I think the first step to making the scene better and keeping it going is to prove that wrong- which I know it's wrong, because I know a lot of amazing bands.
Austin: I think what I comes down to is, whether you’re in a band or not…buy merch. I don’t want to sound like a salesperson. I think if you like bands, you should support them. And I mean, being in a band does cost money, unfortunately. I mean, not even after you buy gear and stuff and still, you’re constantly getting stuff: gas, maintenance on stuff and everything… but I think you have to look into band's merch, because a lot of people put a lot (of time, money and energy) into merch. Zeb does all of our designs by hand.
Zeb: Also, don’t get into a show and not pay. I will find you and I will hurt you, tremendously- even if it's not my show.
Austin: Also, share artist’s stuff, online-even if it's something dumb like dumb videos. One of our videos, a guy from Set to Fail shared it, and we hadn’t even talked to him in a while. That was really cool. But people shared it all over the place. We haven’t played in Huntington, yet. But we have friends there. (So you never know who will see a video you share, and become a fan).
So, spread things around social media. Get the word out about bands you love.
Zeb: Also, the way Facebook is set up, just share things so we (and other artists) don’t have to pay to share our stuff.
HTN: Yeah, these things are so important for artists who might not have the means to have managers for promoters, yet. Help them get their names and work out there.
Austin: Anytime you want to spread word about stuff we like that. We like when people spread the word about us and we also spread the word for other people, too.
HTN: If each of you could pick a local artist that you don't think people have heard enough about, that you love…
Dino Drive: Call Me Friend.
Yeah! They’re the best. Their sound is really maturing, too.
Every time I see them, each show gets better and better.
We were at their first show.
I would have said Mooney Tyson, but they’re gone. (We also talked about the awesomeness that was What Great Fangs…but we’re just gonna throw it on the table that we’d like both of these bands to get back together).
I wanna say Horseburner, but they’ve toured a lot, and they’re doing well. But people need to know more about Horseburner.
I’d also say Cassius at Best. They have some pretty solid music, and they’re nice guys, and not too many people know about them, yet.
And they’re (Cassius at Best) a two-piece (band), right? Amazing.
Yeah, Funhouse, too!
HTN: Speaking of: New Dino Drive music!
Zeb: Not really new, but finally recorded. The new stuff is getting more aggressive. It's much more mature than the EP.
HTN: What’s “mature” mean to you?
Alex: I don’t know, I think we just kinda found more of what we’re going for.
It’s more that (we) found the sound (we) want(ed) to make.
Zeb: Before, I think I was just blindly throwing riffs, like this guitar riff and this melody, and then finally throwing some other guitar part…But now it's a lot quicker. “This sounds cool, we lead into something like this”. It's more thought-out, we understand the flow of the song quicker than before.
HTN: Do you want to talk any more about the the new music that you’re going to be recording and/or selling?
Zeb: Selling? It would be be awesome if you would buy it. But if you’re going to steal it, just come to our shows and buy a t-shirt, and I’ll forgive you. But with the new music, it's taking forever for us to get the new music done (recorded), because we wanted to be able to record it on our own. So we can have a (flails hands)…so we can be involved in every aspect of the recording process…so we can really go in-depth, and so we can finish what we thought was the finished song…and go back and add parts in.
Alex: Poison River is actually different than what we recorded and put out. There are a bunch of extra parts we’ve added in, that we’ve never done live.
HTN: So if someone were to come to a Dino Drive show, and they’d never seen you (play live) before-they’d never heard your music before-what would you hope, at the end of your show that they could tell their friends about you?
Zeb: That “They’re some of the weirdest people ever”.
Alex: Yeah that's pretty cool…maybe the most physically active (performers), and I guess I don't know…that singer, the singer did a backflip or something stupid… he crab-walked across the stage while playing guitar. It’s been close to happening before-I’ve seen it. (Everyone laughs…but it’s true)
Zeb: I just want them to recognize that we fully embrace our weird. Don’t hide it. It’s so boring, hiding it.
HTN: Anything else people need to know?
Austin: If you come to the show and you say that the reason that you came to this show is because you read this interview on Hold the Note, I will personally give you the best high five of your life, genuine. and I’ll get Zeb to do it, too.
To increase your odds of getting the full Dino Drive experience, come to their next show:
December 15th in Morgantown at 123 (Pleasant Street), with Knuckleduster, Grindshop, and Rise Among Rivals
How do you find Dino Drive music?
-The best way to find our music is to come to a show and listen to it, live. Because it’s gonna sound way better live than it does recorded.
-Second best way is to come to our merch booth, at that SAME show, and buy the CD.
-The third best way is to stop by our van, after the show. You can still buy a CD there.
Their previous CD is called Origins.
Dino Drive’s new album should be out in early 2018.
The Horse House, a local house show venue, will reopen in the spring.