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A Dirty Dozen with LONELY DAKOTA – July 2019

| 10 July 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “UK based, Southern Rock Band LONELY DAKOTA has released the official music video for “End of Days,” the title track off of their hotly anticipated, debut EP, out June 28th. Lonely Dakota was originally the brain child of Paul ‘PJ’ Jackson and started life as an Indie band on the Southampton and London circuits, receiving moderate success supporting acts like Lonely The Brave, but PJ’s passion and influence had always been for rock music.” We get the band to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Luke ‘VonDee’ Varndell: Our new EP really is the end of a process of years of hard work. It’s taken a long time for us to get to a point that we are happy completing the songs and releasing them to the world because once that song is recorded you can’t really make a change to it. It’s not the same as a song that you only play live that might change in length or have the lyrics changed over and over. Once it’s recorded that’s it. I think listeners will find a little something for everyone, at least if you like rock music. We have some heavy, driven tracks, like “End of Days,” but we also have softer and more ballad-like tracks with huge choruses you can sing along to, like “Medication” and “Victoria.” We also have a dual vocal track, “Overdrive,” which is something the fans always love but is something bands in the Southern/Heavy rock scene just aren’t doing and will become a feature of ours in future releases. As for a hidden nugget… in the breakdown of “Victoria,” on the EP, I recite a part of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. It’s one of my favourite poems but it’s also a nod to those service men and women that take part in the Invictus games. The song as a whole focuses on a soldier that doesn’t come home to his family, by adding Invictus I felt we also recognized those in the armed forces that came home but that may not have been ‘whole’, whether physically or emotionally.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Paul ‘PJ’ Jackson: I remember it well. It was the summer break of 1995 and I had just bought Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet on cassette. I saw Bon Jovi play live on tv and after watching Richie using the talk box, I knew I wanted to scratch the itch I had and learn to play guitar. I remember having my first guitar lesson soon after in the MM Music guitar shop in Southampton from Richard Barrett (guitarist for Tony Hadley). They had a Richie Sambora Stratocaster for sale in the shop, which I lusted for and had to spend all summer working to save for. The rest is history, I’ve been playing ever since. Still, love Richie Sambora! I never did get the Sambora Strat, I still look for them on eBay from time to time.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Luke ‘VonDee’ Varndell: For me, the biggest influence on my music has been Seether. I can still remember the first time I heard “Broken” on Kerrang TV, I was working at a Toys R Us selling video games. I have been a fan ever since. The song is just so emotional and raw, I really connected with it. Shaun Morgan’s style has had a lasting effect on my playing and approach to vocals… I also distinctly remember getting a b********g as well for pumping the volume on the TV’s in the store.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Terry ‘Tez’ Jenvey: My playing influences kicked in way before I even started playing. I remember going to this youth group and there being a really old crappy CD player at the side of the hall. One evening my friend brought some CD’s that his older brother had given him. One album blew my teenage mind and really introduced me to music. It was the Piece Of Mind by Iron Maiden and I just remember those timeless driving bass lines through every song. From that moment on Steve Harris became one of, if not the main influence to my playing style and definitely the basis for my ongoing tone quest. Other influences stem from that moment really, listening to bands like Megadeath, Metallica. All driving bass lines underneath roaring solos and catchy riffs. I was pretty late to the party when it came to Gun’N’Roses but when I really started listening to them, I was hooked. The fills and every part of Duffs playing drove me to finally picking up a bass and learning to play. More recent influences have come from bands like Alter Bridge’s Brian Marshall.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Paul ‘PJ’ Jackson: John Lydon. I love the Sex Pistols, and I think a bit of Johnny Rotten on one of our tracks would be awesome! I think John is verging on a National Treasure in the UK. His straight-talking views on politics and celebrity divide opinion to this day!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Luke ‘VonDee’ Varndell:  I think I’d describe us as definitely falling into that New Wave of Classic Rock (NWOCR) category but with some heavier riffs at times. We’ve been compared to Black Stone Cherry, Monster Truck, Blacktop Mojo and even Nickelback (but I’m assuming in a good way?). I think the best way to describe our songs as a whole can be to look at each band member… you’ll find lead guitar licks inspired by EVH and Richie Sambora; Bass lines inspired by ‘classic’ metal bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden; technical and driving drums that just show the real breadth of Sepala’s abilities as a seasoned session musician and songwriting influenced by Rock, Grunge and even some Nu-Metal bands from the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. Put all that together on a stage, add beer and whiskey, throw in the weight of the world as well as a few near-death experiences and you get Lonely Dakota. After an acoustic set, which included some of the early Lonely Dakota songs, I was once told that my singing voice reminded a couple of Rod Stewart… it’s not exactly the sound I was going for.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Luke ‘VonDee’ Varndell: The best thing about being a musician for me is hearing someone sing a song back to you at a gig. That only really happens when either a song really resonates with someone or its catchy as hell! In my mind, either of those two things is an accomplishment. It means instead of being a song that’s been heard it’s become something personal; the listener is taking ownership of the lyrics and the music.

8. When you have downtime and are hanging out as a band, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and how often is there an acoustic sing along or impromptu karaoke night?

Luke ‘VonDee’ Varndell: I tend to play the role of ‘band mother’ when we are hanging out or organizing something like a music video. Bringing along junk food and drinks to keep everyone happy. Although that being said on the set of the last video, we sent PJ out on a cheeseburger run! We are all pretty quick to the bar but normally it’ll be Tez or Sepala that get the first-round in.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Luke ‘VonDee’ Varndell: The last time I had been starstruck was late last year, myself and PJ went to see Black Stone Cherry at Wembley Arena and they just played faultlessly. It’s amazing to watch a band you love do their thing on stage but what gets me is the accuracy and the showmanship of BSC. Chris Robertson cannot only sing his heart out, but he can do so whilst playing lead! And watching Ben Wells scissor kick whilst he plays guitar is just plain awesome!

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Terry ‘Tez’ Jenvey: I think I’d have to say owning and running my own custom and classic car shop. I’m a massive petrol head and love the idea of bringing old forgotten machines back to life again. Like music, you can give things a new lease of life, character, and flare.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Luke ‘VonDee’ Varndell: The biggest misstep came from letting LD lose its traction after our second release, it’s a shame that we built up some hype and then it all kind of fell by the wayside. But on the flip side of that if it hadn’t Tez and Sepala wouldn’t be in the band! And we wouldn’t have our current sound, or this EP to share with the world. We’re a half glass full kind of band… hopes, dreams and Jack Daniels!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for anyone record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Craig ‘Sepala’: It’ll have to be something by MJ, so I’d go with Thriller. To watch both him and Quincy work would be the biggest learning experience ever. Not to mention, recording on one of the most iconic songs of all time!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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