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A Dirty Dozen with JOE DAHLSTROM from CASH BRIBE – November 2023

| 16 November 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Brooklyn-based heavy rock and rollers CASH BRIBE are set to release their second EP Escape From New York on Fanxdangxo Records on December 1, 2023. Rooted in hardcore punk and rock and roll, ‘Escape…’ is steeped in influences across the spectrum of extreme music – modern hardcore, death metal, grindcore, powerviolence, and beyond – while embracing the art of songcraft with rabid earworms strewn throughout. CASH BRIBE was formed in Brooklyn in 2019 by Kirk, Larry, and a friend named Colin on bass – this early lineup recorded and released the debut lockdown-era EP ‘Facemask City’ in January 2022. The new release, ‘Escape From New York’, unveils CASH BRIBE’s complete 4-piece lineup with Kirk on guitar, Larry on drums, Joe on vocals, and Brian on bass guitar.” We get singer Joe to discuss new music, influences, and 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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Escape From New York is our first release as a four-piece. Kirk (guitar) and Larry (drums) wrote most of it before Brian (bass) and I joined the band. We’re not trying to say anything that hasn’t been said before, but maybe with a bit more urgency or frustration – we, as humans, as a society, as we know ourselves now, whatever, are running out of time…or might already be out of time. Civilization is at a critical mass – socially, culturally, environmentally, financially, politically – we are being pushed to extremes and the trust and cooperation between individuals and groups of people has seemingly eroded to an all time low. Society is a death cult, indulging in the very things threatening our existence with only increased frequency – eating, smoking, driving, burning, consuming, wasting more with each day – adhering to and worshiping to the values set forth by the powers that be that seek to draw imaginary divisions as we lunge, full speed ahead, into the sun.

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

I’m lucky to have been born into a musical family. My parents have great taste – my mom’s first concert was Sly and the Family Stone and my dad raised me on an awesome, diverse palate rooted in rock and roll – Neil Young, Stevie Ray, The Clash, Cream, Zeppelin, Sabbath – but also old blues, country, soul, funk, classical, folk. Between my sisters and me, my dad has seen it all – Danzig, Kataklysm, Britney Spears, Pearl Jam, N*SYNC, Weezer, Tenacious D, Rancid, Suicide Machines, Bouncing Souls…he took my sisters to a couple of Lillith Fairs, he took me to see Santana and Dr. John at the Chicago Blues Festival and the 2003 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas…I could go on. Road trips growing up were formative for my taste, and I’m proud to say my family was probably one of the first to grasp the idea of burned CD mixes in the late 90s/early 2000s. My parents also got me into classical piano lessons at age 5 – very cool move – I stuck with that for 13 years. As a kid, I had a few neighborhood friends in the suburbs of North Dallas, and we lived within walking distance of the legendary Bill’s Records…we’d look up bands on the Kill From the Heart website, go to Bill’s, and try to find their records/tapes/bootlegs/whatever. Punk and hardcore were so cool in Dallas/Ft. Worth around then too…this is like 2003-2006…there were really good bands and shows all the time – Stefan and Aaron Gonzalez were playing a lot as Akkolyte; Chris Bonner from Frozen Soul was in two bands I revere to this day, Unit 21 and Tolar; and Riley Gale was putting on shows and getting his music career off the ground. Spaces like Red Blood Club and especially 1919 were huge in creating a scene/community that I adored but also definitely took for granted. Shoutout to the dfwpunks and dallashardcore forums, too. How could any kid not want to be a musician in that environment?

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

Off the top of my head – The vocalists that influence me most in Cash Bribe are: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Mike IX Williams, Barney Greenway, Henry Rollins, Riley Gale, Scott Weiland, Iggy Pop, Glenn Danzig, Rookie Sensation Mike Wiebe, D. Randall Blythe, Gibby Haynes. The shows that influence me most are: Void @ 9:30 Club –  02/13/1983; The Misfits @ Hittsville – 12/25/1981; Napalm Death @ The Philly Fillmore – 09/25/2021; Magrudergrind @ Shea Stadium – 09/11/2011; Magrudergrind/Unholy Grave @ The Alamo – 06/19/2009; Warthog Bridge Show – 07/30/2021.

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

It’d be cool to collaborate with a noise/sound artist like Merzbow. Or to do something like Full of Hell’s collabs with HEALTH and Nothing.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Read. Bolaño, McCarthy, Vonnegut, The Bible. I also like some comics – everything by Simon Hanselmann is worth picking up and I’m working my way through Alan Moore’s From Hell.

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?

In your face hardcore punk with elements of metal and a strong backbone of rock and roll. Since I don’t write any of the music, I’ll say it – these tunes blow my mind. There’s complexity and nuance and thought with an insistence on urgency and simplicity and it all works. One of the reasons I joined Cash Bribe was that underneath the chaotic noise and heaviness, there is a strong foundation of rock and roll – Motorhead, The Ramones, ZZ Top, etc. are very much there in our sound. This band can blend AC/DC, Napalm Death, and Soundgarden in one song and can represent elements of each band while still sounding completely unique. We’re trying to push extreme music as far as we can while giving a heavy nod to our influences, and if you ask me, the way these guys write delivers.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We don’t drink. Kirk has an seemingly endless cache of stupid metal singalong riffs in his back pocket.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I met MIKE at a Shabazz Palaces show a few weeks ago and had trouble finding words to say – I really was starstruck.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Pushing limits – personally, musically, creatively. The three pieces that I’ve written for Cash Bribe so far are, I believe, the best lyrics I’ve ever written. Community – Cash Bribe is a Craigslist band. I think Kirk and Larry were drinking buddies that wanted to take their 2020 lockdown jams in a more serious direction. But we basically all came into this as strangers, and it’s crazy that in just a year, Cash Bribe has transformed from drunk punx to the juggernaut that it is. Besides music, my dream job is in academia – teacher, researcher, librarian, museum curator.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Human beings possess the freedom and autonomy to recognize that all beings are deserving of love, kindness, dignity, and respect. We do not need outside influences (authority, government, religion, money, celebrity, etc.) or rewards to carry out good in the world. We inherently have the tools that we need to overcome the evils of greed, gluttony, and apathy, and we possess the values to reduce needless human suffering.

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?

Not one moment, but one lesson – don’t compromise on creative priorities, there isn’t enough time. In my experience, creative fulfillment and satisfaction comes from personal expression and the execution of a vision. Nothing should make a creative compromise on these objectives.

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

Locust Abortion Technician – Butthole Surfers; Fun House – The Stooges; Earth A.D. – The Misfits; Acid – Ray Barretto; and Bitches Brew – Miles Davis.




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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