Dwarves is an American punk rock band formed in Chicago, Illinois, as The Suburban Nightmare, in the mid-1980s. They are currently based in San Francisco, California. Formed as a garage punk band, their career subsequently saw them move in a hardcore di...
Dwarves is an American punk rock band formed in Chicago, Illinois, as The Suburban Nightmare, in the mid-1980s. They are currently based in San Francisco, California. Formed as a garage punk band, their career subsequently saw them move in a hardcore direction before settling into an eclectic punk rock sound emphasizing intentionally shocking lyrics. They have been described as "one of the last true bastions of punk rock ideology in the contemporary musical age".
The original members of the Dwarves began making music together in the mid-1980s as teenagers in the Chicago garage rock outfit, Suburban Nightmare, which was compared to The Sonics, and which has been described as part of the Paisley Underground scene. This era of the Dwarves is captured on Lick It(the psychedelic years 83-86) a 34 track collection put out by Recess records in 1999.
The band became notorious for self-mutilation, on-stage sex, and taking hard drugs, and their live shows would often only last around fifteen minutes, occasionally cut short due to injury caused by spectators. The band's sound began to evolve beyond its early garage roots with their second (nine-minute long) LP, Toolin' For A Warm Teabag, which saw the band drifting towards a more truculent punk rock sound, influenced by GG Allin. Recess records issued Free Cocaine 86-88 in 1999, a 39 song collection that shows the band's transition to the nihilistic style that took them to the sub pop era. The band released Blood Guts & Pussy on Sub Pop in 1989. By this time the Dwarves had dropped their early psychedelic sensibilities and morphed into a hardcore punk band. The Blood Guts & Pussy LP was followed up by EP Lucifer's Crank released by No.6 Records, as well as another Sub Pop LP, the metal-punk Thank Heaven For Little Girls, both in 1991.
In 1993 the band issued a press release stating their guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed had been stabbed to death in Philadelphia. Though this later turned out to be a hoax, the band even went as far as to attach a tribute to the "late" guitarist on their 1993 Sub Pop-released album Sugarfix. Sub Pop did not respond well to the hoax and summarily dropped the band from its label. The Dwarves reformed in 1997, releasing The Dwarves Are Young and Good Looking (described by Adam Bregman of AllMusic as "the beginning of a new Dwarves...one that plays real songs, had a set list, and left the club unbloodied"), and its 2000 followup The Dwarves Come Clean. In the film Me, Myself & Irene, Jim Carrey is seen singing along to Dwarves "Motherfucker", which Dahlia later said he got "tens of thousands of dollars" for. In 2000, the band offered the track "River City Rapist" to George W. Bush as his presidential campaign song.
In 2004 the band released The Dwarves Must Die, its first LP for the indie label Sympathy for the Record Industry, which featured guest appearances from Dexter Holland (The Offspring), Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age), Nash Kato (Urge Overkill), and voice actor Gary Owens. Dahlia was assaulted by Josh Homme of QOTSA before a Dwarves show in Los Angeles in 2004, which saw Homme placed on summary probation for thirty-six months.
In 2009, Blag and HeWhoCannotBeNamed were immortalised as Bobbleheads by Aggronautix.
Singer Blag Dahlia (a.k.a. Julius Seizure, born Paul Cafaro), and guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed (a.k.a. Pete Vietnamcheque) have always been the two core members of the group. The lineup has shifted around them, and currently consists of members "Fresh Prince of Darkness" (a.k.a. Marc Diamond from the band Motochrist) on guitar, "Chip Fracture" on bass and backing vocals and returning drummer Gregory Pecker (a.k.a. Gnarlie Watts). "Rex Everything" and KMFDM drummer Andy Selway (under the alias Dutch Ovens) are on again/off again members. Former members include "Wholley Smokes", "Clint Torres", "Tazzie Bushweed", "Thrusty Otis", "Crash Landon", "Wreck Tom", and "Vadge Moore", among others.
They are known for their simple, loud, yet nuanced punk repertoire, and controversial lyrics. Since the garage punk sound of their early days, they developed a more direct hardcore punk sound, often identified as "scum punk" due to the intentional perversity of the lyrics. Around the turn of millennium, the Dwarves developed more of a manic pop punk influence. Bits of hardcore, surf rock, pop, hip-hop, and rock & roll all factor into the band's current punk rock sound.
Their shows have been notable for some aggressive fights on stage (with the audience and even a cop), and because HeWhoCannotBeNamed performs either in nothing but a jockstrap or totally nude, apart from his trademark "Rey Mysterio" wrestling mask.
Their album covers are unusual - naked women, and a naked dwarf sodomizing a rabbit covered in blood, for their 1990 album Blood Guts & Pussy - followed up a decade later, with a similar theme, this time covered in soap suds, for Come Clean.
Former drummer Sigh Moan formed Specula with Specter Spec, releasing the Erupt album in 1995.
Blag Dahlia has worked as a producer for Joey Santiago's band The Martinis, and is also half of the duo The Uncontrollable with Nick Oliveri.
Blag Dahlia has also performed solo acoustic sets, which he described as his "camp counselor guy routine", released a bluegrass album, Blackgrass in 1995 under the name Earl Lee Grace.
Blag Dahlia was a part the side project Penetration Moon, which released a sole single, "Fifth a Day", in 1991.
Blag Dahlia has published two books, Armed to the Teeth With Lipstick (1998) and Nina (2006).
Blag Dahlia sings "Doing the Sponge" in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode The Chaperone, which originally aired on Nickelodeon October 2, 1999. "Doing the Sponge" is written by Salt Peter (Peter Straus), former bassist for the Dwarves.
Blag Dahlia's most recent side project is pop/rock band Candy Now!, which he formed with Angelina Moysov of Persephone's Bees.
HeWhoCannotBeNamed has released two solo albums, which have featured guest appearances from his fellow Dwarves members, including Blag Dahlia. "Humaniterrorist", a vinyl only release in 2012, and "Love/Hate", a compact disc-only release in 2013.
Blag Dahlia on Vocals recording The Who's "The Kids are Alright" with Peted on guitar of The Adicts and Cell Block 5
Blag Dahlia sings vocals on the Royce Cracker single "Who Put the Methamphertamine in Mr. Everything".
Rex Everything sings vocals on the Royce Cracker single "Doin' Whatche Say". The Royce Cracker Dwarves split 7" was released on Zodiac Killer Records (ZKR038) in 2009.
Marc Diamond plays guitar, and Andy Selway plays drums on the Royce Cracker single "Meth Stop Calling".