Darkness Dear Boy
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Darkness Dear Boy

Tempe, Arizona, United States | SELF

Tempe, Arizona, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Darkness Dear Boy Is Fighting For Local Music with The BFLS!"

Not so long ago, Mill Avenue was the center of the universe for local bands trying to break into the music industry. Almost every band signed out of the Tempe scene in the '90s made it via the conventional route, cutting their teeth in the nightclubs along the strip, winning fans, and forging relationships with other bands. Other than the newly reopened Sail Inn, downtown Tempe doesn't have music venues anymore. The strip's been colonized by chains (that decline was documented in the film Mill Ave Inc.), and even the headshops seem stressed to be paying the rent in a neighborhood with American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, and a slew of trendy college bars.

Likewise, the industry that bands once toiled to break into has pretty much disintegrated. The major-label model doesn't work anymore. The biggest-selling album of last year came from a guy who made his name circulating free mix tapes on the street — but how is Lil Wayne's marketing plan supposed to work for anyone else? The music industry, it often seems to me, is slipping into anarchy.

And so it is that on a recent Friday night on Mill, people stick their heads in a hole cut in a painting of a dog's ass, posing for pictures while a band called Darkness Dear Boy performs acoustically atop ladders. Around the band, local standup comedians and artists hand out fliers to a show at Last Exit. Some hold protest-style signs that say "Support Local Music," "Support Local Arts," and "Support Local Comedy." A guy named Ted Organ, playing his guitar on the highest ladder, fronts the Tempe-based Darkness Dear Boy, and this demonstration is by his design.

Darkness Dear Boy isn't a particularly gimmicky band — they play the same solid, post-grunge alt-pop you'll hear from Nada Surf or The Eels — but this little happening is one of many stunts Organ has cooked up to promote the band. Here on Mill, scene of the biggest musical triumphs the Valley has seen, he's hoping to help rebuild camaraderie in the scene and, perhaps, find a way to "make it" in the post-label era.

"I think, for every band, it takes a little bit of delusional-ness to think you're going to make it, but even more so if you think someone else is going to do it for you," he says. "This is us completely scratching at every opportunity, knocking at every door."

The fact that DDB is asking people to pose with their head in a dog's ass just shows how far they're willing to take it. It also shows how far the local music scene — and the music industry, for that matter — has fallen. It's not that there aren't great local bands in Phoenix, and it's not that local bands aren't making it. It's that the scene is fractured. There's no strip of nightclubs, so bands are forced to play on musical islands across the Valley, working their niche and marketing themselves online. You can't really blame them — it seems to be what works nowadays.

Look at the two local bands that have received the most national ink in the past year, The Medic Droid and The Maine, Alternative Press cover boys this month. Both bands have relatively small local fan bases, building up their national followings on the Web. The Medic Droid, an electronic duo, played their first gig at New York's Bowery Ballroom before ever booking a local show. The Maine, an indie-lite act with pop sensibilities, has more than 10 million plays of the single "Everything I Ask For" on MySpace, yet they're still playing the Clubhouse. You don't see those guys handing out fliers on Mill or, perish the thought, playing on top of a ladder.

That's the Web for you. I still remember the first time the Internet and music intersected for me: It was 1995 and I was in eighth grade, poring over the liner notes to Radiohead's The Bends when I came across an address for a Radiohead Web site. I'd never been online before but I decided to ask my buddy Richard to pull up http://musicbase.co.uk/music/radiohead (yes, that was the URL of their official Web site — if you have a first edition of The Bends, look it up) on Prodigy. Ironically, 14 years later, the band used the Internet to bypass record labels entirely, staying independent after their contract expired and releasing In Rainbows through radiohead.com.

If going label-less works for Radiohead, I have to think it'll work for other bands. And if there are no labels to impress, why don't more bands rustle up fans the way The Medic Droid did, flexing their marketing muscle online instead of with fliers for tiny local shows? It seems to be the obvious move.

Still, you have to appreciate what Organ wants to do: rebuild the pecking order of the local scene. "Really, what we're trying to do is a resurgence. We want to keep it from going down anymore so we can get it going up. That's what we're doing: Putting the rings on it and trying to pull it up again." It's a worthy goal. I've heard stories from New Times contributor Chris Hansen Orf about when every band on Mill (including his band, Zen Lunatics) got signed, during the heady days of the Clinton administration. Everyone knew everyone, from the Gin Blossoms on down. Bands like The Refreshments were name-checking other bands in the scene, like Dead Hot Workshop, in their songs. It was a wonderful time, he says, until everyone got dropped. But Orf's band is still together, and he's still friends with the guys he played with back then. By contrast, The Medic Droid broke up after their first headlining tour (which is why they're not playing a South by Southwest showcase this week). That's what happens when you don't pay your dues in local clubs.

If Organ has hope of rebuilding, it's through the pleasant quaintness of his monthly BFLS ("Best Fucking Live Show") at Last Exit. His project — Doggass Productions and the BFLS — started after Organ posted a rant about the local music scene on craigslist.org and received an enthusiastic response. He decided to build a show around his manifesto.

Courtesy Photo
By any means necessary: Doggass Productions promotes on Mill Ave.
The Best Fucking Live Show is scheduled for Friday, March 20, at Last Exit in Tempe.

The BFLS has four bands and four comedians, so there's something going on at all times. Doggass doesn't book based on genre or "draw" (how many people a band brings in) and everyone is expected to chip in with marketing efforts, handing out fliers and the like. Each $5 ticket comes with a program, so the crowd can figure out who's onstage. Doggass is militant about the start time for every set, and it expects everyone in a band to stay the whole show.

"If nobody else shows up — if it's just the bands and comedians there supporting each other — there's 25 people you're playing to," he says. "I think creating a music scene starts with the bands, the commitment to get there early and stay through the whole time. The other bands support you, you support them."

"It's the opposite game plan of every other promoter in town. They run off 500 fliers, and they sit at the door and take people's money," says DDB drummer Aaron Bland. "You know from us exactly when you play and what you'll get paid."

I'm not a promoter and I'm not in a band, but that sounds pretty good to me. Certainly, it's the most positive action I've seen from a band tackling the many problems with the local scene. (I can't attend a show without someone bending my ear about the scene's problems.) Too many people spend their time bitching about media coverage, making fun of the bands that do get covered, and publishing stupid 'zines to further fragment things. They complain yet don't attend shows where their friends' bands aren't playing, and they hardly ever venture beyond the same few venues. It's no wonder a city the size of Phoenix — a city with a lot of young and creative people — hasn't boosted more bands to the big time.

It's funny: I go to both Hollywood Alley and Modified Arts fairly often, but I hardly ever see the same people at both venues. Yet I see plenty of repeat customers at both. The naysayers are wrong: People in Phoenix care about local music; they just don't seem to care about local music outside their preferred niche, which is why they're left looking for a crowd. Maybe they'll find one this Friday at Last Exit. - Phoenix New Times- Martin Cizmar

"Q&A with Ted Organ of local band Darkness Dear Boy"

Hailing from different parts of California and Indiana, members of local band Darkness Dear Boy came together through a Craigslist ad about three years ago to combine a variety of musical elements and share their unique sound and style.
The three-man band includes guitarist Ted Organ, 34, and an ASU graduate, bassist Will Kingsbury, 30, and drummer Aaron Ranschaert, 34. All three guys sing and write their own music. The band’s music style is a combination of alternative, punk rock, honky tonk, and reggae.
Outside of the band, the guys have regular day jobs but claim that music is their sole focus and just work these 8-to-5 jobs to pay the bills.
Right now, the guys regularly play around 9 p.m. Wednesday nights at Bogeys Grill in Tempe. The band members also spend many of their weekends traveling around different cities in Arizona, expanding their fan base and performing in all sorts of venues.
The band’s debut album, “Brand New Carrot on a String,” was released last March on Doggass Records.
The band recently sat down with The State Press at Bogey’s Grill to explain a little bit about themselves, their passions and what separates them from other bands. o
The State Press: The name Darkness Dear Boy is not what most would expect a somewhat alternative band to be called. How did you guys come up with that name?
Ted Organ: (Laughs) One of the hardest parts about being in an original band is agreeing on the name. I think it was my fifth grade teacher who had a cat named Darkness, who she called “Darkness, dear boy,” and that always stuck with me. It’s really just the name of a cat.
SP: You guys claim your style includes a little bit of everything from alternative punk to reggae and honky tonk. How do you guys incorporate so many different genres of music?
TO: We don’t try to sound like anything. A lot of times when you hear bands play their songs always sound the same. We try to make every one of our songs sound totally different.
SP: Who are your greatest influences?
TO: We all are huge Sublime fans. Lyrically, I’d say our biggest influence would be Kurt Cobain. We really like lyrics that tell more than just a story, something that creates picture with words.
SP: Right now, where is the best place fans can check out your music?
TO: iTunes and our website are probably the best places. Hoodlums Music and Movies on Guadalupe [Road] and McClintock [Drive] carries our album, and we should be hitting Zia Records soon.
SP: The band has been known for its famous ladder performances, can you tell me about them?
TO: This is the type of show we usually perform on First Fridays [in Phoenix]. We built a ladder stage where the three of us sit on different-height ladders and perform our set from about 15 feet in the air. It really attracts a crowd [and] differentiates us from other bands.
SP: I’ve read that you guys are very into the Phoenix local scene, why? Do you think that after you become famous you will return back to these local hot spots to play?
TO: We love the local scene. There’s no limitation in Phoenix. Of course we’ll return home. Since we’ve been playing the local scene for so long, we’ve established some great relationships with bars and other bands out here.
SP: What does the future hold for Darkness Dear Boy?
TO: [We’ll] hopefully come out with our second album and keep making our circle of shows. We’d like to expand out of state, but right now this is exactly where we want to be. - The State Press- Alicia Diaz

"Darkness Dear Boy- Bro Rock?"

Darkness Dear Boy play Bro Rock. What's Bro Rock? To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart's words about hardcore pornography, "bro rock is hard to define, but I know it when I hear it." What exactly constitutes Bro Rock is, indeed, tough to pin down, because Bro Rock encompasses many genres, spanning everything from the funky rap rock of 311 and Red Hot Chili Peppers to the modern rock of Breaking Benjamin to the punk/reggae-stylings of Sublime and the jam-band leanings of Dave Matthews Band. Those bands are all cited on Darkness Dear Boy's MySpace page, for the record. Darkness Dear Boy stray a little from the Bro Rock pack by also listing Motörhead and John Fogerty, but in general, the dudes crank out tunes that would fit perfectly on the playlist of every "alternative station" since the early '90s. Songs like "Get Off Me," with its wah-wah guitars, syncopated drums, and oh-so-funky bass, recall Valley stalwarts Authority Zero, and "Today" sounds like Offspring at their radio-dominating peak. Even if one despises the band's sound, it's tough not to be impressed by their mass-market crossover appeal, uniting the various strains of Bro Rockers Valleywide. - Phoenix New Times- Jason P. Woodbury

"Brand New Carrot On A String- CD Review"

“Weezer and Sublime have a baby who likes to whistle.” No really, with an assist from the accompanying one-sheet, that’s exactly what came to mind before the first kaleidoscopic track of this disc (the biting “Stalemate”) had finished.

Darkness Dear Boy are an energetic power trio with a loose, organic indie-rock vibe and a riff-heavy sound, a Tempe, Arizona group that shares a jones for fat-chorded hooks-and-harmonies rock with local compatriots Jimmy Eat World and the Gin Blossoms.

Of course, neither of those handy touchstone bands ever produced a reggae-fied, shambolific tune on the order of “Get Off Me,”’ where the Sublime influence takes over and lead voice/guitarist Ted Organ begins speed-singing until he’s almost rapping. Whereupon they settle down for a bit until bassist Will Kingsbury and drummer Aaron Ranschaert hit the jet boosters for the final furious minute.

I can’t say I loved everything here–some of these tunes (“Knob” comes to mind) careen right off the melody line into a rich chaotic stew that’s amusing once, but doesn’t hold up so well with repeat listens. And the band’s rather purposeful forays into a more mainstream alt-rock sound (“Today,” “Fireflies,” “Terminal”) are this album’s weakest moments.

No, this is a group that feels like they are at their best when letting their inner id run loose, as they do on the bouncy, joyful “There” and the bipolar snarkfest “Dog In The Manger” (opening line: “You quit talking to me, but I liked it / You get so angry that your eyes pop out of their sockets”). Organ, Kingsbury and Ranschaert (not a law firm) clearly have the chops and wit to entertain with a broad brush rather than a narrow one.

Finally, there’s another influence here that the boys may or may not acknowledge. The melodic reggae-punk-pop sound they mostly stick with here—much like Sublime’s entire catalog—owes no little debt to the Police’s 1978 debut Outlandos D’Amour.

Brand New Carrot On A String is an impressive debut full of tart lyrics (“Pain can feel soothing when it’s all that you’re used to”) and sharp riffs, wrapped up in a loose, friendly DIY vibe. They might not change the world just yet, but Darkness Dear Boy can definitely put a smile on your face. - The Daily Vault- Jason Warburg


Debut Album: "Brand New Carrot on a String" 2010 Doggass Records

Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHT99N3cnh8



Darkness Dear Boy are an energetic power trio with a loose, organic indie-rock vibe and a riff-heavy sound, a Tempe, Arizona group that shares a jones for fat-chorded hooks-and-harmonies rock with local compatriots Jimmy Eat World and the Gin Blossoms. -Jason Warburg (The Daily Vault)

DDB combines dynamics, hooks and harmonies with interesting lyrics and infectious melodies. They put on a high energy live set that engages and plays off of the audience.

Street Performances:
Darkness Dear Boy performs a Ladder Show: Each member sits on a ladder and plays from 10ft up in the air.

Major influences include:
Nirvana, Sublime, Credence Clearwater Revival, Bad Religion, Tom Petty and Weezer