Dishwalla is no doubt a band that comes to mind in the yester-years of 90’s Alternative with hits such as “Somewhere In The Middle“, and “Counting Blue Cars” that soared to the tops of many charts and clung to music history with its chorus of “Tell me all your thoughts on god, Cause I’d really like to met her…” I was given an amazing opportunity to talk with Scot Alexander of Dishwalla and get his thoughts on their new album “Juniper Road” and some insight into the band’s past.
Toney: My name is Toney Emmons from New Transcendence, these are a few questions I have about your new album “Juniper Road” and a few other topics. I just wanted to introduce myself and thank you for your time.
Scot: Hey there Toney ! This is Scot Alexander from the band. Thanks so much for doing this, we really appreciate the support!
Toney: Your name “Dishwalla” is a Hindi term for giving TV to a neighborhood.
How was this name chosen?
Scot: Man, long story but the band was originally called “Dish“. (Much like many one-sylable alt-rock names of the 1990’s! ex. Blur, Pulp, Curve, Prong, Tool, etc) We operated as Dish for only a few shows and made a demo under that name. Back in the day before Google, it was quite a challenge to know if there was another band with the same name! Anyway, we started picking up steam quickly, word got around somehow to a management company which handled another band called Dish (and had albums out), we receive a cease and desist letter in the mail and are left wondering what we’re going to do as we have shows on the books. Well, our geeky keyboard player at the time was always reading Wired magazine, and he stumbles across this article about people in India pirating satellite TV calling them “Dishwalla’s” and was like “why don’t we just throw “walla” on the end for these shows, we’ll figure something else out later”. Well, the band was discovered pretty quickly and next thing you know, we’re forever stuck with this stupid name.
Toney: What is the concept of your new album “Juniper Road“?
Scot: We definitely soaked in some vibe working in Eric Burdon’s (of The Animals / WAR) estate in Joshua Tree, but It’s hardly a “concept album“. I will say, Juniper Road is both a very cohesive effort, but at the same time pretty diverse and dynamic like our first album “Pet Your Friends” (in terms of the different textures and styles). It’s funny, we’re obviously in the age of the single again right now, and people are just not listening to full length albums like they used to, however this band DID grow up in the album era, and it’s just how we do things. So the “concept” is really the same as it’s always been for us… Write great songs, capture great performances and have a high standard of engineering and production (in this case we recruited Grammy Award winning Tool producer Sylvia Massey).
Toney: Could you tell me in short how your creative process was in producing
Scot: It was a lengthy one! Only because we live apart from each other, so setting aside the time for us all to meet up to write and record was the
single biggest challenge. In all honesty, our first record took about 4 weeks and once we got down to it, about the same with this one. Writing was done through a combination of us jamming in a room and letting Justin come
up with vocal and lyric ideas, to us writing some on our own, then coming together to each put our stamp on it. I think, because there was no set way or a single songwriter, it was always fresh and pretty fast paced.
Toney: “Counting Blue Cars” is your most recognized song though I’m particular
towards “Somewhere In The Middle” – Are there any songs you feel really ‘pop’ on “Juniper Road“?
Scot: You’ll get a different answer from any of the guys, but my personal picks would be “Give Me a Sign” and “Don’t Fade Away” both have that big Dishwalla anthem-chorus thing.
Toney: How do you feel bout the popularity of “Counting Blue Cars” when you had many hits that weren’t as recognized?
Scot: I hear you on this question, and I think that my personal feelings of disappointment with the lack of action on our follow-up album (to Pet Your Friends) have long-since subsided. We racked our brains there for a while though. So many videos made and singles released post Counting Blue Cars. Biggest problem following that single was the recurrent airplay of that song lasted years! Given that we still have fans out there all over the world, it’s pretty amazing that 20+ years later we’re back out here with a new album coming out and potentially touring most of this year. I’m personally very grateful for the road that single paved for us, however rocky that road has been! We live in SUCH a different world now. For us, this is about staying creative and taking care of our fan base. First and foremost, that’s all I care about. Radio is irrelevant to me.
Toney: You are known to stick to your roots in Santa Barbara – was there any feeling of being homesick in the new album since it was recorded in Joshua Tree?
Scot: Not at all. New environments, experiences, people, it all inspires and
influences you creatively. Great to get out of your comfort zone and in the case of the Mojave Desert, away from everything!
Toney: The support from your fans is key – Do you feel like even after a 10 year absence your fanbase is stronger than ever?
Scot: Yeah, it took some work to build things back up over the last 5 years for sure though. We’ve toured with Vertical Horizon, Tonic, Collective Soul, Gin Blossoms, Stroke 9, Nine Days, etc over the last few years so that was huge in getting the word out there that we’re back active again. Obviously, presence on social media has played a huge part as well, especially since much of our fanbase is outside the US. I will say this… The fans that are around at this point are CORE fans. Meaning they love the 2nd record, Opaline, they really know all the material and it’s less about Blue Cars which is awesome.
Toney: What words would you like to leave you fans with – any words of wisdom for the future?
Scot: I’m just going to say the things I have to remind myself… Stay positive and don’t get caught up in all the bs of the world. Go outside, go to concerts, hang with your family and friends, serve others, develop your passions, listen to records, read, do whatever brings you joy, but get the *&^% off the social media! haha!
Love you guys!
Dishwalla on Social Media
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