02. Flower Tattoo
03. Punk As Fuck
04. Burning Heart
05. All American
06. Right Or Wrong
07. No Equalizer
08. Ivory Girl
09. Gruesome Gary
11. Last Brigade
12. Best Friends
13. Hit Or Miss
14. Bright Green Globe
15. Goodnight Song
17. 500 Miles
19. In A Big Country
20. Radio Ragga (Dub)
21. Hit Or Miss (Dub)
Punkrockdays: The Best Of DBL
Down By Law
A collection of 21 tracks that were picked by their fans through their webite, the album features songs from the entire DBL catalog on Epitaph. Songs like "Independence Day," "Hit or Miss" and "Radio Ragga" remind all of us of just how good this band is and was.
Punkrockdays: The Best Of DBL
Down By Law
It's been quite a ride...and it's not over yet. When I first had the idea of doing another band, in 1990 (seems like forever ago now), it was just going to be a project band. I had some songs in my head, and a couple that I'd figured out on guitar. One of those was "Right or Wrong," a song that's on this album. I called up my friend Dave Nazworthy, the drummer and singer for a band called The Chemical People, and asked him if he'd mind playing a few songs with me. Then Ed, the Chem's bass player, and Jaimie, their guitarist, joined in and we started rehearsals. Just rehearsals, we said.
As time went on, we started realizing that the songs were clicking. So the next step was to play out once in a while. We were already breaking our one rule. One night we played at the Coconut Teazer in L.A. It was a pretty significant night - it was my girlfriend Caroline's birthday, along with our friend Joy Aoki (who was a writer for various Flipside magazine articles and an artist for Epitaph - she did the first Offspring cover, BR's "Against the Grain," the first DBL, and more). Anyway, it was going to be a birthday party for these girls, with sets by this unknown band Down By Law and some buzz band from Berkeley called Green Day.
We were luckily playing well that night. Some nights everything just happens right, and this was one (let's not talk about the nights when everything goes wrong). About the second my feet left the stage, there was a tall guy with thick retro glasses. I recognized him; he was the guitarist for Bad Religion. He said, "Hey, you guys were great. I'm Brett. I want to sign you to my label. Let's go out to my Volvo and talk." I was blown away.
And that was how it happened. A tiny club at a birthday party, with a band that really hadn't intended to do more than play a few songs.
The early days at Epitaph were great. Mr. Brett and whatever victim he could find (often me) playing chess...Guess who almost always won...Jay Bentley blasting Motorhead in the warehouse...Jeff Abarta coming on board as a school project, loving the Greatful Dead and punk rock - how many people can say that?...He's still here all these years later and has been a friend to DBL through thick and thin...Mr. Brett, Jay and I cruising around the streets of Hollywood with the windows down and sunroof open, singing Morrisey songs at the top of our lungs and calling ourselves The Travelling Morriseys...All of the bands on the label knowing each other and hanging out and singing/playing on each other's records...they were good times.
Since then, DBL has seen a lot of highs and a lot of lows. The first CD got praise galore, while the second one got generally panned. We quickly learned the expression "sophomore curse." We started touring more, crashed the van, had some great shows. Then "punkrockacademyfightsong" came out and everything sort of exploded. We started touring all over the place. "All Scratched Up" was next - still one of my and a lot of people's favorites. Sam was fast becoming one of my best friends and growing up before my eyes, becoming an intensely skilled guitar player and a main songwriter...Our last album on Epitaph, until now, was "Last of the Sharpshooters" - an album where we really pushed ourselves musically. Some people loved it, some hated it. Even where it failed, I was happy, in a way, because only DBL would have the nerve/stupidity to try to pull off some of those songs! We always operated from the philosophy that whatever moved us and whatever we could play should define the rules, not people's expectations. We didn't have to prove we were punk, but we wanted to prove to ourselves we were the best musicians we could be.
To everyone who's been there with us over the years, the most sincere thanks. We love you like friends and family. Talked with so many of you all over the world, and you know you can believe in punk rock and what all of us, together, are doing here. It's that big picture that's most important. I have said before, I wouldn't trade a million Britney Spears' fans for any of the Down By Law crew. I've seen so many DBL arrows tattooed on people - fists, necks, legs, arms, you name it. That is such a sign of commitment - it means we're in this for good, for real. The fanzines and writers, the kids who sing along with every word, the time in Italy the kid broke his leg in the pit and got carried out giving us a thumbs up and still singing "Radio Ragga" at the top of his lungs- you can't beat that. Well, of course we wish he hadn't broken his leg...
Take care of each other. There's a world of hurt and pain and suffering out there, and people ready to beat you down. Don't let them. Discover who you are and have a great time in life. Try to make a difference, because we only get one shot. Hope you enjoy this album and we'll see you at the next show. Cheers. - Dave
I had always been an admirer of Dave and his bands. I more or less followed his recording career from Dag Nasty on, (taking a slight backtrack to appreciate DYS later). As a musician, I had always considered him to be one of the top 5 punk/post punk vocalists of all time. So when I heard that he had formed a new band with members from the Chemical People, who I also was a fan of, I had to check it out. The first song I had heard was "Vision" on a compilation entitled "The Big One". I was blown away, and chomping at the bit for the first album to be released. Blah Blah Blah.. jump ahead a couple of years. Freshly out of high-school, I had joined a local band called Balance. Our second show was opening for Down By Law in our home town of Tampa. Oddly, it was the last show I ever played with Balance and I don't remember it one bit. However, I do remember finally meeting Dave. My friend Mark and I cornered him and he patiently answer our mindbendingly generic questions about Dag Nasty and All.
A while later, I had decided that I was going to make the commitment to become a complete musician. That meant, in my mind, that I would dedicate myself to music, college be damned. So I wrote a letter to a couple of my favorite bands asking if they needed a guitarist, one being Down By Law. It turns out that they did need a guitarist. The rest is history.
In order to tell all of the interesting stories that DBL has been involved in since I joined would take at least a couple of months with no holidays or weekends. Like when I brought my buddy, Jimbo, to my audition with DBL in LA. Jimbo has made one helluva mark on the band, considering he's not a member. For starters, during the audition, we stayed at Dave's old apartment (he was in the process of moving but the lease was not up on the old place). There was an LA gangmember (or a reasonable facsimile) that lived downstairs. The entire apartment complex was completely terrified of this guy, and rightfully so. So of course, he and Jimbo became fast friends. Jimbo later became our roadie for a time, and the hijinks continued until his untimely dismissal from our service, many destroyed walls and stolen turntables later. Don't fret, I still see him almost every night here in Tampa.
There's also a story about another roadie, who we'll call "Blaster", who we naively thought was superhuman because he had the ability to drive 16 hours, load out, sell shirts, load in, hop in a van, and drive 16 more hours. We later found out that the source of his super powers was a bit more earthly. Duh.
Or the story of "Mad Dog", the nicest man you could ever meet until we pulled up to the venue and it was time to load in. At which point he would become a frothing, snorting, madman. It was so drastic that it seemed to happen in mid-conversation. None of us could ever figure out the reason. But we quickly learned run like hell out of the van as soon as we pulled up to wherever it was we were playing.
As you can see, just a few tales about the roadies takes up quite a bit of time and space. So I'll end the stories there for now.
I've been with DBL (and vice versa) for some of the most important years of my life, and I think I'm a different person because of it. As a musician and a music lover, I can't think of a band I'd rather have been brought up in. As a person, I've made some of the strongest, lifetime friendships in DBL. Dave has moved from the status of "idol", to big brother and true friend. The others know who they are. It's really one of my ultimate achievements in life, thus far, to have gotten in this band. And it makes me feel good that I did what I set out to do. And I have no intentions of stopping.
For the record, I still think Dave is in the top 5 of punk singers. However, nothing comes close to his rendition of "Dixie" at my wedding. Look for it soon on Weaseltooth Records. - Sam
>From the album "Down By Law": Best Friends (words and music by The Outlets), Right Or Wrong
>From the album "Blue": Last Brigade (music: Chris Bagarozzi; words: Dave Smalley)
>From the album "punkrockacademyfightsong": Hit Or Miss, Punk As Fuck, Flower Tattoo (words and music by Hunter Oswald), 500 Miles (words and music by The Proclaimers), Bright Green Globe, 1944, Goodnight Song
>From the album "All Scratched Up!": Independence Day (music: Sam Williams III; words: Dave), All American (music: Sam; words: Dave), Gruesome Gary, Radio Ragga, Superman, Ivory Girl
>From the album "Last of the Sharpshooters": No Equalizer (music: Sam; words: Dave), Burning Heart (music: Sam; words: Dave)
All music and lyrics by Dave Smalley, except where noted, and published by emotion one music, bmi.
(except the September '01 Florida rehearsal sessions version of: "In A Big Country": words and music by Big Country).
All songs on this album picked by fans voting at www.downbylaw.com.
The players on these songs (in no order):
Lead guitar: Jaimie Pina, Chris Bagarozzi, Brian Baker (on Goodnight Song), Sam Williams III
Bass: Ed Urlik, Angry John DiMambro
Vox, rhythm guitar: Dave Smalley
Spinal Tap drums: Dave Nazworthy, Hunter Oswald (and vox on Flower Tattoo), Danny Westman, Chris Lagerborg, Milo Todesco
Executive producer: Jeff Abarta
Design: Caroline Smalley
Photographs by: Alberto Polo (cover), Kim Bockus, Lisa Johnson, Ken Unknown, Todd Taylor, Francesco I. Coppola, Caroline Smalley, Jimmy Hole
Thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout the years -- special thanks to Danny Baldinado, Scott Puckett, Jeff Abarta, Dave Naz, Kurt Soto/Vans, and you.
This record is dedicated to the memory of Stewart Berg, Rick Urlik, and Rudy Salame -- forever part of the punkrockdays.
Chat with Dave Smalley this Friday! More
US Rel. Date: 04/09/2002
EU Rel. Date: 03/26/2002
Average Fan Rating: 0.00