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Dark-Thirty with Quintaine Americana
by: jay 21 Apr 2002
Quantine Americana

Old fashioned, hook laden, smack you upside your head Rock and Roll

With �Dark Thirty�, their strongest release to date, due out later this year, Boston�s Quintaine Americana seem ripe to bring back some of what�s sorely been missing in today�s vast wasteland of tepid, generic music. Namely, same good old fashioned, hook laden, smack you upside your head Rock and Roll. With it�s Southern roots, evil laced lyrics, and sinister riffs, the band has quickly carved it�s own niche in the Boston rock scene. I sat down with the band, which consists of Rob Dixon (guitar, vocals), Jason King (drums), Marc Schelicher (bass), and Peter Wendell Valle (guitar), one stormy night after rehearsal.

How did the band originally come together?

Marc Schleicher: Rob and Jason moved up from Mississippi. I had been living in Louisiana, got into a pool game with Jason one day, and ended up drinking with those guys. Jason and I ended up hustling these guys for three games, so I had a need to get out of town quick, and took a ride with these guys. They said, �we�re moving to Boston�, I said, �sure, I�ll move to Boston.� They were talking about starting a band, and saying how that was the way to make ends meat up in Boston. Rob played guitar, Jason played drums, and they said I could play bass. I was like �you mean a stand up thing, or a violin type thing?� They said �no, an electric bass.� I was living with a guy named Dusty, Dusty Smithers I think. He was playing the bass fiddle. He was working at the casino and had run up on some hard times, so he traded me his bass for fifty dollars and a good luck Keno card. I�ve been playing bass from there on.

Rob Dixon: We had different singers too, and at the time we had a guy, who basically thought he was a mouse, and his throat closed up on him. So, he couldn�t sing anymore. All of his songs were about mice, and how he was a little mouse.

Jason King: He ran up on hard times a little later on�

RD: Yeah, we saw him a few years later. He was outside the clinic over by Kenmore Square, one summer, and needed fifty bucks to fill up a prescription, of some sort. I guess it was a little chilly that day for him�even with it being summer. It was funny, because one of the first things we had Marc do when he got in the band was to kick out one of the singers we had. We gave him the dirty work right off the bat.

One of the things that I really dig about your band are the almost spooky, devil at the crossroads lyrics. How does the lyric writing process evolve?

RD: There are mainly four things that I write about: fire, sky, guns, and the devil. I always liked old folk stories and things like that. Songs that tell stories, and that are almost spooky in a way.

One of my favorite tunes of Decade of the Brain is ��And They Were Drinkin.� Where did the lyrics come from?

RD: It�s not as funny as it may sound. I had a cousin who was retarded. I have a big family, and like when everyone is together on holidays, he would sit at the table and do this weird stuff. People would try and ignore it, and I would sit at table and be like �wow, we�re all pretending that this is not really happening.� So that�s how I got the idea that he would sit there, watch TV and jerk off.

How did the whole Roadrunner Records deal come about anyway?

RD: We put our first record on CherryDisc. Because John from CherryDisc had signed Letters to Cleo, and they were huge, Roadrunner assumed that he was a big A & R guy, and that he signed bands with talent, so they took a listen to his catalog, bought his label, and took the bands they thought were good. We thought it was going to work well, but that was not the case�

To me, it seems that there was a bit of a transition from Decade of the Brain to the Devil Went Down to Mississippi EP. Decade was this bass heavy, plodding album, while the EP sounds more melodic and just straight up rock. How does the forthcoming new album, �Dark Thirty�, compare, does it continue where Devil left off?

RB: I think so. The songs are just getting better.

MS: There�s some songs on there that still have the creepy bass to them.

JK: Most of the newer songs have a bit more structure to them, and are just more straight rock.

RD: We�re just getting better at writing songs, and that�s mainly what the difference is. We have Pete in the band now, so it�s bigger, just more guitars in there. It used to be that Marc would play some weird bass line, and I would play something weird over it.

Pete, how long have you been playing these guys?

Peter Wendell Valle: A little more than a year now. I was living in Mobile, Alabama. They came through one day. I happened to be drinking and they started up, and I though �man, these guys are good.� I was actually kind of scared of them. I had nothing to do, you know, had just lost my job, so I jumped in the van.

How far, touring wise, has band gone, outside of the Boston area?

RD: We did a lot touring behind the Roadrunner record, for the better part of that year. I didn�t even live anywhere that year, just put stuff at a friends house, didn�t even have an apartment. Since then, we�ve done a week here or there, heading down the East Coast. We try to hit the places that we did well in. You know, just head to the places where people liked you, to kind of to make sure they don�t forget you�re out there.

The first time I saw you guys was with Clutch in Boston�

MS: We played with their other group as well, the Bakerton Group. That�s actually how we met them. We were both on tour, and I think we had a night off in�Lawrence, Kansas. They told us to come down to the show, and just hung out. Real nice guys.

RD: The Roadrunner thing was good in a way, we got to play with a lot of bands that we normally wouldn�t. We were kind of weird for Roadrunner. I mean, they have pop bands now, but at the time they were seriously into metal. We would show up in these towns, and these bands would make up these big flyers with their name and �Roadrunner Recording Artist Quintaine Americana.� They would get on a show just so they could play with us, and be like �can you give our demo to someone at Roadrunner?� We would laugh, I mean, we could hardly get them on the phone, let alone give them a tape. These bands were some serious metal guys, and then we would play, and they would be like� this isn�t metal, these guys aren�t Type O Negative or Machine Head.�

Tell me a little about the new record due out later this year�

RD: It�s called �Dark Thirty�, which is the time half an hour after it gets dark. It�s an old southern folklore term, if you mention it in the south, people know what you�re talking about. The time when evil spirits are waking up, kind of spooky. We recorded it over the last year or so, some of it with Mudrock, and some with Andrew Schneider. Mudrock, who is originally from Boston, had moved out to LA, and he always liked us, so he came back out to do the record. It was recorded a couple different times, but overall, it feels really good.

I have to ask, who�s the guy who comes out and does your intro live?

RD: That�s William Wallace! We met him when we first moved up to Boston. We lived in a house with him, and he seemed cool, and we just kind of hit it off. He was from the South as well, funny, and kind of crazy. You know, I don�t even remember how he got started introducing us�

JK: Redneck Fest was the first time I believe he did�

MS: Yeah, I don�t think he did any of ours shows before the first Redneck Fest.

JK: He just started jumping up there after that, and it became a regular thing.

RD: Yeah, he even went on the road with us once. He�s a pain in the ass, let me tell ya..

MS: That tour felt a lot longer than it really was�

How many years have you been doing the Redneck Fest?

RD: This will be the sixth year we�ve been doing it. It was always our thing. We started it, figure we would bring a little South up here. It started out as one night, you know, the upstairs and downstairs of the Middle East�

MS: Well, the first year was just downstairs. We brought seven bands down there, we had Karma To Burn from Virginia�

RD: We always tired to have bands that we knew from the South come up and play. We�d have a country band play. We tried to make it bands that were more geared towards Southern Rock.

MS: It�s fun to put on an event and have people get really excited about it. You know, people start calling us like three months before we have it to try and get on the bill. So it went from being just the downstairs, to the upstairs and downstairs, to the Linwood Grill for three nights. We tried to mix it up a bit, maybe have a show at the Abbey Lounge one night, the Linwood another, the Middle East a few nights.

RD: I would love to do it outside, in the late summer. Maybe have a barbecue and kegs of beer outside�maybe even try and take it on the road.

MS: It�s fun because a lot of people get into it and really psyched for it. We try to get as many people as we can involved. The Linwood Grill always hooks us up with the barbecue, I think we had Blue Ribbon do the first few years. Different sponsors just start calling, trying to get themselves involved. It�s great.

Back to the records, how did the �Devil Went Down To Mississippi� EP come about?

MS: We were touring a lot, and after coming off the road we were ready to write new stuff. The Roadrunner thing had kind of folded, and I had just gotten a new job at New Alliance studios, and they were cool about letting us have some time to use the studio. We really got a chance to take more time with the recordings.

RD: We did our first record (Needles) in two days, and then the Decade album in like six days. We had more money to do our second record, but not much.

MS: We felt like rock stars in the studio with a full six days to do our record.

RB: We had only recorded twice before that. We did our first demo, which was four our five songs, and then the first record. It was more time, but it still felt rushed. It was just not a good recording experience. We don�t want to name any names� We never really had a good time in the studio until we recorded with Mudrock, and Andrew Schneider as well. We finally started having fun making music in the studio. Before, it was just nerve racking. We never thought the records sounded like we did live. I mean, I still like those first two records, but the sound is just�you know.

MS: I kind of see us as more high energy rock, so listening to those albums, I kind of see it as�a little cold, I guess. It took our third record to find out how to not do the things we did on the first two. I think to a point we were, not bullied per say, but kind of like� alright, we�ll do what you say.� Working with Mudrock and Andrew, it was all about trying out new ideas.

RD: We argued with Mudrock too, but for different reasons, and they were all good.

Are you going to be playing a lot of the new stuff out live for upcoming shows?

RD: Oh yeah, we�re doing that even now.

JK: You see a live show of ours, you�re lucky if you hear two songs of the first and second record.

RD: We�ll play stuff if people want to hear it.

JK: Yeah, if people yell out for stuff we�ll play it, but normally in the set, maybe one off of each of our old records.

RD: With Pete in the band, we wanted to write new stuff, you know? We were playing so many shows that we never had time to practice the songs.

PWV: Which was kind of good for me. People would be like �hey man, play Sioux City�. It was like �oh shit.� I�d spend the whole first verse trying to remember the song.

RD: I really don�t like practicing things I�ve played a billion times. I like playing the songs, playing them live and all. I don�t like sitting in the rehearsal space and playing them over and over so Pete can learn them.

PWV: I just stay home with the CD�s and learn em�

Touring wise, any idea how things are shaping up for later this year?

MS: This summer we should be going on tour with Crash And Burn. We might also be doing some dates with Throttlerod.

So the new album will be out on Curve of the Earth records?

MS: It�s gonna be Curve of the Earth, and I believe there will be another label involved. We�re still hashing out all the details right now.

What have you guys been listening to of late?

JK: Mainly the stuff I always listened to, you know, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC�always have the Mule records out.

PWV: Been listening to a lot of Aerosmith lately. Just got a Melvins record I have been listening to a ton.

MS: Def Leppard�s �Pyromania�� Still listen to Nick Cave, the Birthday Party. That creepy stuff.

RD: So basically nothing new! No, we were arguing about the new System of A Down before, because I like them, and none of these guys do.

PWV: I was listening to Buckcherry, but that�s not new anymore, and they�re not a band anymore.

JK: See, I like Linkin Park, but everybody calls me gay for that�

RD: You ARE gay for that!

JK: Well, it�s cool for nineteen year old kids I suppose�

RD: Oh, Jesus Christ�that�s just horrible.

JK: It�s just as gay as System of A Down.

RD: Linkin Park is way more gay than System of A Down. System of A Down is just like the Dead Kennedy�s�all over again.

On that note, I think it�s time to call it quits�

For more information on Quintaine Americana, visit the following sites: or

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