Interview with Dax Riggs
Band Photo: Dax Riggs (?)
With a laundry list of amazing and incredibly diverse bands on his rap sheet, Dax Riggs is soon releasing his second solo album and then heading on a tour of the U.S. Former Acid Bath/Agents of Oblivion/Deadboy and the Elephanmen vocalist has a legion of loyals, but attracts many different kinds of people with his mix of musics. I caught up with Dax before on the eve of his album release and tour to discuss "Say Goodnight to the World," what he believes his sound is exactly, and the BP Oil Spill Disaster that has affected his hometown.
Buick Mckane: Your new album “Say Goodnight to the World” is coming out on August 3rd. It’s the first one you’ve released in three years. How excited are you about it?
Dax Riggs: Oh yeah, man. Really excited. Yeah, I’m ready to get out and play these new songs, you know.
Buick: Have you been playing any songs from the album during the last few shows you’ve done this year?
Dax: Yeah. Everything I’ve been doing lately has kind of been focused on this recording
Buick: Well, you’ve had it ready to release for a while now. Why did it take so long to finally get it out there?
Dax: I’m not really sure. Kind of…record company bureaucracy. I’m not sure why they waited a little while.
Buick: Just corporate bullshit?
Dax: Pretty much. Well, it isn’t too much corporate over there. Just __ I don’t know. I guess that they have their reasons. I’m not really sure. Yeah, but it got pushed back like a month and a half or something.
Buick: Were you doing your residency at One Eyed Jacks because it wasn’t released on time?
Dax: I guess we did do it because the record was going to be pushed back a little bit. So it was kind of like a way to get ready to tour, you know.
Buick: And speaking of touring, you’re about to go on a two-month tour across the U.S. starting in just a few days, and I noticed that you’re playing some shows that are two-night stays at one venue; one is the Mercury Lounge in New York and one is Spaceland in Los Angeles. Are you playing different sets on those nights?
Dax: No, not really. I’m sure they’ll be somewhat different, but it’s not going to be a totally different set.
Buick: Do you plan on doing a European tour for this album?
Dax: I have no plans at the moment. But we might after we go over the United States. We would like to get over there, if even just to play a few shows. That would be great. Yeah, but there’s no plans for that at the moment.
Buick: Well, throughout the year you’ve been playing shows mostly around Texas and Louisiana. Where do you call home?
Dax: Texas and Louisiana. Austin, Texas, and like Lafayette, Louisiana, I guess. Houma, Louisiana. Both places, I mostly live in Texas. But, yeah, I lived in Louisiana for a long time.
Buick: As with the last album you did, this album is being released under your name. But you have a long history of being in proper bands. Do you think you’ll ever do that again or do anything with your previous bands?
Dax: I’m sure eventually I’ll do something under a band name. Probably nothing that I’ve already done. Something new, but there’s definitely no reason why I wouldn’t do a project under a band name. It’s really still a band project, even though it’s under my name. So it’s a little strange, I guess. I like band names. I have a lot of different ones I’d still like to use. It could happen tomorrow.
Buick: And each band you do kind of has a different sound. What would you say the sound is of this album?
Dax: It’s definitely kind of a proto-metal. In my opinion, it’s punk and proto-metal kind of aspects to it, but I find that it’s very transcendental-meets-Stoogey (Iggy Pop and the Stooges) kind of stuff. It’s like rock and roll with some transcendental vibes to it. So that’s how I think of it.
Buick: That sounds really cool. And the title “Say Goodnight to the World” kind of goes with the transcendental vibe.
Dax: Yeah, it’s very much in that way of thinking.
Buick: Well, being from southern Louisiana, like you said, Houma/Lafayette area and visiting often, what are your thoughts on the oil spill disaster?
Dax: Oh, I think it’s…I don’t know. It’s horrible. The people of Louisiana have been __ in a toxic dump site. It’s one of the cancer alleys of America, and it’s horrible. The people there have been beaten down for so long, and abused by chemical companies and petroleum companies. And they cut the unions out of it; there’s no unions workers, you know. It’s a long-standing tradition that if you get hurt out there, working in the oil fields, they will try to not pay you. They’re the worst. It’s a horrible industry. And then what’s super bad about it is that after stuff like that happens, people can’t…you know, they can only have so much anger towards these people because that’s how they make money. Even though there’s all this, they just accept it. You know, I’m so angry about this. I want people to take arms in the street, you know, over this. I want drastic action taken. They’ve ruined Louisiana’s coastline, and there’s no telling what kind of damage it’s going to do to the whole world in the future. But it’s just an absolute shame, and I don’t know. I don’t know what to say about that.
Buick: What’s your favorite way to show your anger about that?
Dax: It makes me obsessed with it. I watch it a lot, you know. And it’s a horrible cycle because it’s all this venom and ugliness. It gets you angry at the people around you that don’t want to hear about it, you know. I don’t know.
Buick: That’s absolutely true. I was putting up anti-BP flyers in the French Quarter and this woman came up to me and said, “We need oil. What are you doing? That’s horrible.”
Dax: Right. No, no. We don’t need oil. We need to make a change, and we need to quit listening to people who think that things can’t change. You know, everyone’s so afraid that they’re going to have to stop driving as much or maybe…you know or that their lives might be changed in just the tiniest little bit. Or they might have to give something up, you know. And people like that really do irk me. I mean, don’t you have any respect for the unborn? People that are coming in the future, don’t you have any care for these people? Of course the answer is no. People that live today cannot fathom that someone will one day follow in their footsteps and be trying to live in the same space. People, with our consciousness…you know, we’re just an animal. No more right to anything than a chipmunk or a squirrel, which is another animal that has gotten a really big head, you know. And I think the Earth will deal with this in its way, and one day we will be just a mess.
Buick: We’re getting there pretty fast.
Dax: Yeah, I mean, I believe it. I am totally sold about this. Of course, it all comes down to not having the people’s best interest in mind ever. People are looked at as useless, peasent, only there to work and slave away their lives. You get to make no decision. They will decide for you. And the only way this is going to change is a lot of people are gonna have to die; we’re gonna have to someday stand up for ourselves and people will have to die. And that’s the way it happens, you know. There’s been a lot of South American countries that don’t want to have anything to do with America anymore, and they’re doing just fine. You don’t need the material United States there abusing your resources. So I do believe that we could change, but we’re just too just fat in our luxury. Or we just can’t…we’re no longer alive. We’re sheltered from nature. Cut off from nature. I don’t know.
Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say or talk about?
Dax: I can’t think of anything right now, I mean. What we believe to be true can be true. I do believe that. Call it magic or whatever you want, but I do believe that if we want something to happen, we can dream it and make it real. Whether it’s you as a person, your art, the world. Everything can be changed. That’s all I have to say.
Buick: That’s a beautiful ending line. Thank you so much.
Dax: Thank you.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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