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by EvAl

Photos by: EvAl

During the San Francisco stop of the Warped Tour, I had the chance to sit down with D.I. founder and front man, Casey Royer.  For those of you unfamiliar with D.I., it was formed in 1982 by Casey Royer after the first break-up of the band the Adolescents in which Casey had been drumming.  D.I. was one of several bands that grew up together in Orange County California in the early 80’s including the Adolescents, Social Distortion, Agent Orange and T.S.O.L. After four hours on my feet in the beating sun, D.I. guitarist Clinton Calton was kind enough to give up his seat in the shade of their merch booth so I could catch a few words with Casey Royer while he decorated a skate deck for a charity eBay auction and music blasted in the background from the adjacent stage.  Incredibly gracious to his fans, Casey (CR) more than tolerated the random interruptions from people wanting everything from autographs to set times, water and directions or to whine about missing the D.I. set. 

Eval: So growing up in Orange County, what were your influences?

CR: The Mechanics, a band called the Mechanics which was kind of a band that was like 2-3 years older than us in high school when me and Mike Ness were making up Social Distortion and before the Adolescents.  And we were watching this guy Tim Rocco play guitar and they were a high-energy, kind of a 1970’s Motorhead kind of act, you know, with two guitarist, {unintelligible}, flying V’s, long hair.  And punk started and we were hanging around them.  So the Mechanics, yeah.

Eval: Your latest disc [On The Western Front] came out, what, two years ago?

CR:   About a year and a half, yeah.  It’s on Suburban Noise Records.  A friend of mine, Brad, who’s in the Cottonmouth Kings, got us a deal and it’s yeah, sort of our latest.

Eval: How’s it doing?

CR:   It’s doing good.  It’s getting all kinds of recognition from around the world and more.

Eval: Now you’re really the only original member of left in D.I. at this point?

CR:   Uh yeah.

Eval: Do you handle the majority of the song writing?

CR:   No, just the words.  We all went to the same high school.  Me and Joe [Tater, drums] the same junior high.  We’re neighborhood guys, still.

Eval: And you’ve got three days on the Warped Tour.

CR:   Yeah, three dates on the Warped Tour. We did the Pomona Fairplex, then right here [San Francisco] and then we’re going to the Ventura fair grounds tomorrow.  And that’s the extent of the Warped Tour on the West Coast punk Old School Stage.
[Another interruption; this time someone asking Casey when the Adolescents were going on.]

Eval:  You’re like the Old School Stage ambassador!  So when you’re done on Warped you guys are going out on a real tour…

CR:   …our U.S. tour with FEAR, Agent Orange (Mike Palm a great guy) and Total Chaos, I mean Chaos.

Eval: Total Chaos?

CR:   Chaos.  Chaos, yeah. 

Eval: What cities are you hitting?

CR:   We’re doing Chicago, New York all the way down to Miami, Florida, about five shows through Texas, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Phoenix and then back home.  The loop, you know, the U.S. loop, as they say.

Eval: And how does that differ from touring with the Warped Tour?

CR:   Well it’s going to be a solid one-theme kind of tour.  Warped Tour has a hodge podge of all kinds of different concepts.  From rap to just all kinds of different styles of music.  Metal, you have some some techno going on, hardcore, and some pop punk.  You got all kinds of weird, you know, fusion.  Fear, Agent Orange, D.I. is going to be complete hardcore.  It’s going to be good.

Eval: So do you really look at coming to this to find new fans or do you like playing with …

CR:   … Yeah, a little of both.  New fans, that old chestnut. 

Eval: Huh?

CR: That old chestnut.  It’s an Austin Powers line, you know? 

Eval: Ah.  Any future recording plans or are you guys still working on supporting the latest disc?

CR:   Well we just finished recording a 25 song greatest hits album and we’re looking to shop it around or we might end up selling it online ourselves.  But we’re about to mix it.  We ended up at Subnoise [Suburban Noise] and I just did the vocal tracks about a couple weeks ago.  And it’s got 25, actually, well we did 25 songs and we’re going to take two or three off the new cuts to put on it.  So it’s going to be a 28 song greatest hits CD. 

Eval: Is it all new recordings?

CR:   It’s all new recordings of all the old songs.  The best of the best like Tragedy Again.  We picked the best and made a collection and these guys tore it up.  Clinton, the best guitar player.  You got Clinton Calton our guitar player, Eddie and Joey Tater, bass player, drummer, brothers, the sons of a concert pianist so they have some DNA.  Yeah, they grew up right down the street from me. 

Eval: Any favorite places to go, best places to play?

CR:   The best places are pretty much Western Europe.  ‘Cause there’s no rules, there are no guns, no alcohol regulations, you know.  Everybody is living a free life when they’re out having a good night.  So, it’s a lot different, a lot more free.  You can walk down the street with a beer in Germany and, unless you’re hitting someone or just doing something wrong, they’re not going to approach you compared to the U.S. thing where you just get questioned for just being anywhere, you know?  So it’s a different feel.

Eval: How are the crowds over there, a little different?

CR:   Oh, there’s a ton more.  A lot of people that are my age, in their late 40’s, mid 40’s have been punk rock in Europe for the last 20 years.  And over here, it’s just transcending into that same parallel, so the unity is awesome in America.  It’s getting a little more European but Europe is a lot more fun. 

Eval: So going back to the great hits album, do you have a name for that yet?

CR:   I don’t know. I’m not really sure.  We’ve been also working on a 4 song EP assault on the church and it’s going to be called Divine Intervention and one of the songs I wrote is Hypochristian and it’s going to be the title track.  I talked to Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys about it when we played at the Uptown [Nightclub in Oakland] and he’s all, “I’m stealing that idea, Casey” and I’m all “duuude?”

Eval: You guys played at the Uptown? 

CR:   Yeah, Tre Cool was there.  Tre lives down in Newport now by my house.  Who would have thought?

Eval: Don’t tell any of the Bay Area people.  Everyone thinks they’re a Berkeley band.

CR:   Yeah, they really are geeky little Berkeley kids for sure.  It’s just funny to see how people are cruising around. 

Eval: So you got the EP, you got the greatest hits and in terms of business, I guess it’s a lot different that it was when you got started back in the 80’s when your first album was released.  Is it easier or is it harder? 

CR:   It’s different, you know what I mean?  Different avenues, a lot more awareness with the internet, and a lot more potential to get ripped off with modern technology. 

Eval: What do you think of T.S.O.L. giving away their last album?

CR:   Pretty cool.  There’s some good stuff.

Eval: So are there any favorite bands to play with?

CR:   Misfits, Dickies, you know.  We played with Marky Ramones band once.  Duane Peter, I think it was US Bombs.  You know he has so many different bands it’s hard to tell where he is when, you know?

Eval: Are you going to be playing a couple drum tracks with the Adolescents here in a few minutes?

CR:   [whispering] They’re no good any more.  No, they’re good.  It’s just not the real band, you know?

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