Song Roulette: Dash Rip Rock’s Bill Davis

Dash Rip Rock’s Bill Davis

Jessica Cassyle Carr
5 min read
Dash Rip Rock
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Bill Davis is the singer and guitar player for Dash Rip Rock—a New Orleans-based country punk band that’s been at it since 1984. The group is bringing its energetic live show to the Launchpad on Sunday, when Dash Rip Rock opens for fellow New Orleans rock outfit Cowboy Mouth. To get a peek into Davis’ music library, we asked him to put his iPod on shuffle. Below are the first five songs that appeared.

Song Roulette

1) “Watch the Sunrise” • Big Star • Keep An Eye On The Sky

“Big Star should be Square 1 for all Southern rock bands. Alex Chilton died last year in New Orleans and we had become friends over the last few years. He has been one of my pop idols since I was a kid—since I heard ‘The Letter’ on the school bus radio. As he got older he lost interest in the shimmery pop of Big Star and fell in love with classic, dirty R & B, particularly stuff from New Orleans—Ernie K-Doe, Bobby Marchan, Johnny Adams. We shared the same birthday—we went to Galatoire’s together one year and he gave me a bag full of cardigans. He was brilliant to the end. When I hear any Big Star, it represents the birth of Southern pop, the clean arrangements and engineering of Chris Bell, the rock-bottom layers of Jody and Andy. It was a band of stoned geniuses.”

Song Roulette

2) “The Only One” • American Analog Set • Know By Heart

“My girlfriend’s taste in music is more adventurous and current than mine—she loaded up some of her favorite bands into my shuffle. I’m sort of an ostrich when it comes to new bands / new songs / new movements. I like the (what I perceive to be) Gen Y songwriter-y stuff she’s turned me onto—AAS, Sun Kil Moon, Band of Horses. It’s all very pretty, lush and melodic mood music.”

Song Roulette

3) "Don’t Fade My Favorite Song" • Dastardly Jones • Demo

“This is a cool Cajun rock band in New Orleans. I sang on their record and this is the demo that I used to rehearse. The song is funny—it’s about a guy listening to the radio and he gets pissed when the DJ fades out the end of his favorite song. It’s a funky soul song but it has a Louisiana vibe. Ryan Dufrene wrote it—he injects that Lafourche Parish bayou soul into anything he does. We try to help out up-and-coming Louisiana rock bands because it’s not a music style that receives a lot of notice in our state. It’s like stereotype-discrimination—national media and tourists focus on blues/Cajun/zydeco but there’s also cool rock bands: Cowboy Mouth (who we’re currently touring with), Better Than Ezra, The Iguanas, Supagroup, The Vettes. Seems like we’d all have it a lot easier if we were from Detroit or Seattle!”

Song Roulette

4) “My Girlfriend’s Pretty” • NRBQ • Grooves in Orbit

“We sorta modeled our stage and studio personas after these guys. They were always mega-talented musicians who could play circles around anyone—and they preceded us in the comic Southern alt. rock band genre. By that I mean they are all hilariously funny and quirky and bizarre. But they wrote these beautiful sappy love songs. This one is sung by bassist Joey Spampinato, who has a smooth, warm, ballad-perfect voice.”

Song Roulette

5) “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” • Chip Man and the Buckwheat Boys • “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”

“I teach music after school at a couple of New Orleans Recovery Schools. We did a skit where I got first-graders to dress and act like the teachers while rapping and dancing to this song. I think ‘Family Guy’ wore this one out, but despite that, it’s really catchy and absurd and kids dig it. Another of their current faves is ‘I’m a Banana.’ ”

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