Indie Label Hot Seat
Dualtone Records (Dualtone Records)
By: Randy Harward
Who are you, and what do you want?
Dan Herrington, co-owner of Dualtone Music Group. I want to continue putting out records. My partner in Dualtone, Scott Robinson and I like and exposing them to the public.
Where is your Fortress of Solitude?
The bathroom, of course.
What was your defining musical experience? How old were you?
Losing virginity to an older woman while Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" played in background on the car radio. Both experiences ended too quickly but changed my life forever. I was 15.
What was the first record you purchased?
Kiss, Love Gun.
Ever smashed a record/tape/CD in disgust?
No but I threw a copy of Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction out the window of a car because girlfriend passenger hated it and wouldn't stop complaining about it.
What is your favorite album of all-time?
Can't be narrowed to one. Hank, Zeppelin, Miles, Husker Du, Lefty, Patsy, Replacements, Sabbath... could be from any of these and more.
What are you currently listening to?
Buddy Miller's new CD.
What is the coolest record store you've ever patronized? Why?
Waterloo. Best selection and coolest store in great city [Austin]. Close second :Amoeba. LA or San Fran.
What is the best concert you've seen in the last twelve months?
It's the best concert I didn't see. Missed Springsteen in both Louisville and Birmingham on current tour. I'm told it's an amazing show.
Have you ever left a concert dissatisfied? Details?
Fell asleep at two concerts, Allman Brothers and Police, both in mid-eighties. Not sure if I was dissatisfied or just wore out from pre-game activities.
Do you have a musical guilty pleasure (e.g. you secretly dig Night Ranger--)?
Monsters of Rock. Enough said.
What is your musical kryptonite (the worst band ever--one that makes your toes curl/skin crawl/blood boil/stomach churn/mouth go dry/anus clench)?
Who is the be-all/end-all greatest band ever?
What was the last book you read?
Where Dead Voices Gather, a biography of lost performer/entertainer/songwriter Emmit Miller by Nick Tosches.
What's your drink of choice?
I'm in Tennessee... Jack Daniels.
How did your label come to exist?
Got laid off at Arista and needed a gig.
What was your first release?
Hayseed Dixie, A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC.
How many people are you keeping off the breadline?
How do you discover your bands?
[I] tend to hear about them from people I respect.
Why should a band sign with your label? What do you offer your bands that other labels do not?
Experience, passion and a well-stocked bar.
What do you contribute to the world by operating an indie label?
Put out great records from great artists that need to be heard--and bought.
What releases do you have coming up?
New Warren Zanes album in March...first solo recording from former Del Fuegos guitarist. Daniel Johnston...collection of his early works in March, new album from songwriter extraordinaire Jeff Black. New album from Kentuckian Chris Knight, a No Depression magazine compilation compiled and edited by the editors of the magazine, and a tribute album to ultimate outlaw Waylon Jennings featuring Henry Rollins, Robert Earl Keen, Dave Alvin, John Doe, Kris Kristofferson and many more.
Favorite member of KISS?
Gene, the evil one.
Please detail any brush with greatness you've had.
Spent an afternoon recently with June Carter and Johnny Cash at their home as we decided to get together and make a new June Carter Cash album, which I am incredibly excited about. Heard many stories, songs and saw many pictures of their brilliant careers. unbelievable day. Definite highlight of my mine.
Would you say dentists or indie label owners have the highest suicide rate?
Dentists, of course.
What motivates you to get out of bed day after day?
Gotta bale hay while the sun's shining.
Do you have any musical inclination beyond listening? If so, do you record and tour? Do you manage any bands or own a club?
Incredibly bad guitar player--answer should be...and is...no.
If you weren't running a label, what would you be doing?
Tons of yard work.
. How do you measure success?
By the quality of releases we put out. As long as the artists are making the albums they want to make and people I respect like them and say good things about them, I feel successful. I'm even happier when the public agrees and buys boatloads of our albums.
Hayseed Dixie: loopy, loony bluegrass tribute band serving up heaping helpings of cover tunes on three Dualtone discs, A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC, A Hillbilly Tribute to Mountain Love and the recently released Kiss My Grass: A Hillbilly Tribute to KISS. Sound fucked up? It is. But it's also a lotta fun and somehow, it fits.
Warren Zanes: Co-founder of the Del Fuegos (along with bro Dan), Zanes goes singer-songwriter on his solo debut for Dualtone and succeeds to great measure. Fuegos fans might lament the lack of boozy-bluesy sounds, but music lovers...those who care for a finely crafted tune, will be smitten.
Radney Foster: The singer-songwriter who knows the joys of welding country to R&B (see Mr. John Hiatt) will enjoy much success. Foster is one such writer/performer and demonstrates such on his fourth studio album which (((((((you must own))))))).
Jim Lauderdale, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys: their Grammy-winning (Best Bluegrass Album) collab, Lost in the Lonesome Pines, matches Lauderdale's supreme songwriting and sublime voice with Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys' down-home virtuosity.
Daniel Johnston: the unwitting master of melody and self-revelation finally sees his homemade discography issued lovingly on the dual-disc collection The Early Recordings of Daniel Johnston, Volume 1. The disc is due April 15 and features remastered versions of Johnston's 1980 and '81 albums, Songs of Pain and More Songs of Pain. A must-have.
David Ball: Gotta love a guy who gets on the radio, tastes the fruit, then tosses it away half-eaten for something more fulfilling (that'd be doing honky tonk music his way, unencumbered by radio trappings). Amigo, his Dualtone debut, is both a country album and a singer-songwriter disc. Enjoy it on both levels.