Dale Rowles is one of my oldest friends in the Steampunk scene. We first got in touch, oh, I guess it must have been in 2010 or earlier, it was concerning his band BB Black Dog, and I have done a review and several promos for them and related events over the years.
Last February, Dale and me actually met by pure chance in Bochum and had a chat and that’s when it dawned on me that I never got around to actually doing an interview with him, and now it again took the better part of a yoear to get back to him about it. Nevertheless, we finally managed and it is with great pleassure, I present this interview with Dale Rowles:
How long have you been making music?
I got my first Guitar on my 5th Birthday, the Day Jimi Hendrix Died,
I had Classical Lessons till about age 8 which I hated, and gave it up as soon as I had the Courage to tell my Parents, around the age of 12 I discovered Rock, and started again, so I suppose, from around age 12.
How many instruments do you play professionally?
Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, and Voice, My fist love is The Bass, and still Listen to Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Jack Bruce, and Jah Wobble who pretty much tought me bass via their records in My Bedroom.
When did BB Black Dog get started?
It started by accident, A German friend, one of the original members of German def Metal Band „Incubator“ (Bass), was given some studio time by another Michael (Guitar) and asked me to make some songs with him using 2 bass’s and drums, Just for a laugh, we wrote and recorded 6 songs in 3 Days, which ended up on Myownmusic.de, people liked them, so we recorded more and booked a Tour, it just evolved.
In how many bands have you played before BB Black Dog?
Oh too Many to count, I did a lot of session work for years mostly on Bass and as a backing singer to pay the bills. and as a teenager, it seemed we made 2 Bands A year, I also sang with a Choir in my 30’s mostly with Orchestra’s, but sometimes with brass Bands doing Seasonal concerts, Still get hairs rising on My Neck, when i hear Handels Messiah, from the time I toured it with a full orchestra.
You also can be found as a musician in other bands like Dark Design. How many other bands do you collaborate with?
I’m currently working with
The Dark Design,
Daniel Malheur with the songbook of Charles T Goodhill,
Hawkwind spinoff, Captian Lockheed and the Starfighters,
A new BB BlackDog Project involving the Copperfield Ensemble,
Professor Elemental for a joint Single release,
I Also work with Red Ruff as BB BlackDog’s Backing singers Live, and Lord Montague Jacques Fromage III
Currently touring a lot as an Acoustic Solo performer. while I find another Stable BB BlackDog Lineup.
Personally, I think BB Black Dog sounds a lot like Hawkwind. Is that deliberate, coincidental, or something else?
Influences are bound to be in there, and Hawkwind is definitely one, I know a lot of the surviving members of the original band (Gilman: Oh wow, I’m impressed!) and grew up listening to them, But there’s also Cream, BlackSabbath, English Psychedelic, and Space rock in General, Kraughtrock, (Listened to a lot of the original Jane and Birth Control when i was younger) and later Desert Rock and Funk.
When did you discover Steampunk?
It discovered us really, from 2007, we were playing Mostly Rock and Metal Clubs, as No One knew where to put us, I wore a dinner Jacket on Stage, Stefan an American Indian tracker kind of affair, and Axel Pink Cowboy outfit with Boa’s
Around 2009 We were asked if we were a steampunk Band, and the more we found out about it the more we answered Yes
What means Steampunk to you?
A Science Fiction Vision of a Victorian Future, a rebellion against the throwaway society where everything is cheap and poorly built, a resurgence of Moral values, Friendship, freedom, creative License, individuality, a DIY Ethic and a good excuse to dress up and have a Party.
From what I can tell, you get around a lot in Europe, how many concerts do you play a year?
Think the most I’ve done is over 120 in a Year, but currently, between 80 and 100, plus some for Fun 🙂 In the early Days I came to Germany more, as 2 members were German and living there, I think 38 ryanair flights was my record, But a little less nowadays, Just got back from My 3rd Trip this year, a small tour with Daniel Malheur, 2 Berlin, Hamburg, Keil, Lubeck finishing in Arnhem at the Emporium Vernesque steampunk event.
Are you on the road whenever you can? Do you prefer life on tour?
I love visiting new Cities, meeting new people and I feel most relaxed on Stage, but at the same time, I value my Home in The Derbyshire Hills, where its peacefull, Green and Quiet, the two go together for me, and after too long of One I crave the other.
When I’m at home we run an acoustic night every monday in the Local Pub, which has its own brewery, and I travel around a lot to other similar nights just for fun, so All good really, I only get down when I can’t play 🙂
What are the next steps for BB Black Dog, is there maybe another album on the horizon?
We don’t currently have a stable lineup, so only doing a limited amount of Big Shows Live, We Should be at Leipzig WGT and a few Bigger Festivals.
Our 3rd Album is ready for release but on the Back Burner, and Albums 4 plus 5 are recorded and Mixed. The next release may be something quite different though, as a Story Based live and studio one off project, watch this space.
I certainly will!
What other projects do you have going on at the moment?
We’re Building the Steampunk Records Roster up, Currently up to 14 Acts, with the view to cross promoting and booking each other, Although I run it with my Partner Karin, its more of a Co-Op for the benefit of All the Acts and steampunk in General www.steampunkrecords.com and the Phoenix Alternative Festival, promoting Tolerance, freedom and raising money for Charity’s
Jay Hadland, Karin and myself, have also taken over running quite a few Steampunk events in The UK, as well as helping out with a few more. I used to run about 8 a year plus a lot of steampunk Gigs, so have over 40 in total as organizer under my Belt, There are so Many more cropping up now, that we don’t run so many ourselves, but help others more. and events are getting so much better now, A whole experience, doesn’t seem that long ago, everyone was Happy if we could get 20 people in Costume to a gig
I’ve Always got too many things to do for the time I have, but its a good life and we have a lot of friends, and Fun.
Thank you for your time, it has been a pleasure!