Unhinged, But On Point:
Dinos Boys Pull an Album Out of Their Antics
“A lot of people think it’s from the Thin Lizzy song, ‘The Boys Are Back in Town,’ but it’s not,” insists Dinos Boys founder Danny Song.
That link is the most obvious and plausible option when pondering the origin of the Atlanta band’s name, but both Song and co-frontman Chase Noles – better known these days as Chase Tail – shoot it down, although the latter player denies it mainly on the basis of ignorance. He isn’t sure why they’re dubbed as such. Song had the name already in place when the Atlanta native moved back home after a stint in Brooklyn, where he first formed Dinos Boys.
Back then, Song’s live lineup was rounded out by New York pals Danny Gold of The Stalkers, Ryan McHale of Night Birds and Ryan Roberts, a fellow former Atlantan he’d known since his teens.
“I moved out to Atlanta immediately wanting to start it in Atlanta,” Song recalls. “I saw Chase one day at the EARL when he was working, and I went up to him and asked him straight up. I knew him back in the Heart Attack days here in Atlanta before I moved to New York. I always knew he was a great musician, a great performer.”
Before Dinos Boys, Song was nurturing his third eye in a psych-pop outfit called The Runaway Suns. Noles, on the other hand, was generally musically idle after The Heart Attacks dismantled around 2008.
“I was five years not playing music,” he says. “The last time I played with was The Heart Attacks. Then Danny came back in town, then I started playing with him. I was just with my baby every day, and playing music with him, but before that I was just with my baby and working.”
Noles’ day-to-day changed drastically after his son was born, and even before that as he grappled with some personal issues. But when Song approached him, he was, evidently, ready for a comeback. He hopped on the bandwagon right away.
“I’ve always wanted to play. I went through some wild stages; I’ve been crazy for sure. I am, for sure, definitely crazy,” he admits. “But I’ve really appreciated playing with Dinos Boys. It was a godsend. I’ve been wanting to do something for a minute. I love Dinos Boys more than any band I’ve ever been in. If I could be in any band, it’d be Dinos Boys.”
In a lot of ways, Noles and Song are kindred crude-and-lewd spirits. When we discuss the meaning of Dinos Boys, they relate a definition they’ve adopted together: In unison, they exclaim: “It stands for despicable, ignorant, nasty ole shit-stirrers!”
Speaking simultaneously is something they’re quite practiced at – virtually every Dinos Boys tune features dual singing by Noles and Song, who also handle rhythm and lead guitar, respectively. A little camaraderie goes a long way, and these guys are absolutely gushing with it. While they goad each other’s crude, harebrained antics almost equally, one is clearly the rowdier of the two rabble-rousers; Song spends the bulk of the interview laughing at Noles’ totally absurd responses to basic questions. Really, Noles is so off-the-deep-end in his answers that it’s easy to forget that he, along with Song, crafts quick-hitting, expertly infectious rock ‘n’ roll romps.
One way or another, the two manage to get things done, albeit at a little slower pace than some. On March 10, the first Dinos Boys full-length, Last Ones, will finally surface. Five years in the making, their raw reinvention of late ’70s punk is shaped from a state of dementia, and forces you to eat a slice of their drug-laced pie that serves to fuel your own shenanigans. The whole shebang has a proto lean and there’s a heaps of power pop guitar work, but it’s not bubblegum by any stretch. The crunch of Song’s four-track cassette home-recording process obscures up the candied melodies; they’re better likened to a dirt-and-ant covered lollipop discarded by a sewage drain. And Noles would likely pick it up and eat it.
The LP is being jointly released through Oops Baby, the label run by Warren Bailey (Barreracudas, Gentleman Jesse and His Men, Beat Beat Beat) and his wife, and Die Slaughterhaus, the storied Atlanta house-venue-turned-imprint notorious for kick-starting Black Lips’ career more than a decade ago. Besides that Dinos Boys single, the latter has been generally inactive, despite having once been a centerpiece of the local scene.
“When I was younger [and] with The Heart Attacks, we were on Die Slaughterhaus’ other label Brand Name. I’ve always been involved with Mark doing stuff. He’s always been very supportive and good to all of us, musically or friend-wise,” Noles says.
Financial struggles hindered Die Slaughterhaus’ early 2000s heyday, nearly causing a permanent undoing when its reach was still quite high. Releases have been few and far between as a result.
“Mark was betting a lot on dog fights, and that’s not anything I’m cool with, but different strokes for different folks,” Noles jokes. “He does what he wants. Mark’s a different breed. He didn’t just bet on dog fights, I think a couple times he bet on a dog versus cat fight!”
“I don’t think people understand how small Die Slaughterhaus is,” Song adds. “If you order off the website, it’s not, like, from some warehouse.”
To be clear, neither Song nor Noles blames the delay in delivering Last Ones on Naumann, who they affectionately refer to as Big Steak – “always well done, never medium rare,” Noles notes.
“I threw my throat out at SXSW last year smoking too much weed, and overthrew my voice yelling at people over bands playing,” Noles explains. “I basically was shouting out what feels good and whatnot, then I couldn’t sing on the record a little while – three months. Then it took seven or eight months for the artwork. It takes a while. If you want good stuff you have to wait for it, big whoop!”
A few cuts featured on Last Ones are four or five years old, like the unruly but unhurried “Be Low,” and “Kid You Hate,” which rips on “young bloods” to a simple, steadily rollicking riff. “She’s Outdated” is another, and with its trembling intro and the surprise of brief forays into sweetly soft vocal territory serves as the LP’s grand finale.
“I had other ones written, but those were the main songs. The rest of the songs I wrote with Chase. ‘Cause when we were in New York we only had a couple songs, some that we never played in Atlanta; it was like a 6-song set, about a 10-15 minutes,” Song says.
A lot of folks already following Dinos Boys – those people can now publicly display their allegiance by sporting Damnless Givin’ Dope Smokers Club pins, by the way – will recognize Last Ones practically in its entirety. Despite having only released a 7-inch, last year’s “Scab” b/w “Play Dead,” they’ve been regularly showcasing their material all around the States, typically alongside seasoned staples like The Spits, Paul Collins, M.O.T.O., Testors and Black Lips, plus newer acts like Tough Shits, Natural Child and Pop Zeus. Naturally, they’ve been on numerous bills with revered local acts like Gentleman Jesse & His Men and The Barreracudas as well. Compared to the bulk of their genre counterparts, their catalog is drastically tinier, but in terms of quality they’re undeniably equals, maybe even better than a few of ’em. Noles seems to think so, at least.
“I think just because when we go on stage and do a very good job, we play very well. And I think a lot of people are nervous when they see motherfuckers bleeding, sweating raw talent onstage, it hurts feelings. And a lot of people wanna go cut their hair like mine, they go cut their hair like Danny’s, [drummer] Slim Gerry’s. That’s some wild shit to me,” he says, then delves further into his tongue-in-cheek delusions. “It ain’t wild because we go out on tour and whoop an ass in every state, take a name in every state, then come back from every state, with a clean slate…”
One of those jaunts included a date in New Orleans, and a pit-stop at the gravesite of famous Voodoo figure Marie Laveau. They were quite taken by her story, and named a track after.
“Why do we sound so good? Why do we look so good? Marie Laveau gave it to us,” Noles says. “She was a beautiful woman.”
They haven’t realized that they’re actually pronouncing her surname incorrectly, but they do the channel their devotion into an uproarious number representative of the blatantly boisterous image they’ve shaped for themselves. On “Hoovertown,” lawlessness is even more prominently placed front-and-center.
“‘Hoovertown’ is about me and Danny, we used to do a lot of cleaning back in the day, we worked in motels and stuff like that,” Noles says. “And it’s, like, basically a jam to get you motivated, like, let’s get to room 118, Hoovertown baby! Then you hit that Hoover on the carpet, there’s nothing more exhilarating. And that’s the thrill of Hoovertown, baby!”
Sure – that’s completely believable, right? Noles isn’t one to speak directly about much of anything.
“I’m sorry for being the way I am,” he says. “Do you want to call my dad up and interview him and cuss him out for making me the way I am?”
Song occasionally levels out Noles’ nonsensical nature, though. Toward the end of our chat, he finally admits why he named the project Dinos Boys.
“I got the name in the old building I lived in in Brooklyn, everyone called me Chino – it was a Puerto Rican building. But there was another Puerto Rican dude that sold heroin there, and his name was Chino because he looked Chinese. He was an Asian-looking Puerto Rican guy. We couldn’t both be Chino, and they knew my name was Danny, so they called me Dino. This old lady called me Dino. That’s where I got Dinos Boys from. An old neighborhood name that was given to me by an old Puerto Rican lady,” he says.
Photo by Tim Song.