There are many mysteries in Rock and Roll but after listening to D.A.D. since the mid 80’s I do have to wonder why they weren’t huge outside of their home country of Demark – they after all had and still have it all – great songs, insightful lyrics and a great live show. And they kept it going – year after year, album after album. It’s been a fair while since I saw them in Derby in 1989 so to hear they were coming to Australia for a national tour this year just made my day. Never having spoken to Jesper before it was a great chance to ask all the things I’ve wanted to over the years. If you’re on the fence about buying tickets don’t be – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Catch them is Australia in November – you know you want to!
Jesper: Yes indeedo!
Mark: (laughs) Jesper, so good to hear your voice, how are you?
Jesper: I’m fine Mark, so fine, we’ve been up all night, we’ve had an election, but the sun is shining now, it’s morning now.
Mark: And where we are in the West of Australia it’s almost time for that first beer!
Mark: It is fantastic to hear that you’ll be back with us in a few weeks now, it’s been far too long for me personally, the last time I saw you on stage was back in 1989!
Jesper: Wow! SO you’re on of the true ones! (laughs)
Mark: Well I’m not sure I could claim that even though I’ve been religiously buying the albums over teh years, I seem to have missed a few decades of live shows! D.A.D. has always been a band I’ve kept up to date on and so when you finally put out a new record ‘For the Loud’ in 2019 it was certainly one of my highlights of the year, a great album.
Mark: I grew up in the pre-internet age in the U.K. not knowing a whole lot about Denmark apart from Lego and D.A.D. but the albums kept coming, whilst Lego lost its appeal!
Jesper: (laughs) Exactly! Well there are always ups and downs and some territories flourish and some territories die, but that’s secondary to the music, as long as you can keep on being creative and producing music. Of course we have this audience in Denmark and that, you know has kept us alive through all kinds of crisis’s and ups and downs. Even in the 90’s this whole Grunge thing, and the whole Oasis thing, and you thought “Maybe Rock and Roll is dead?” but we just kept on and we’ve been lucky that we’ve had our Scandinavian fans with us all the time.
Mark: One of the good things about technology in the last 20 years is that ability to keep in touch from afar, even without being able to see you guys live so it was wonderful to hear when they announced the ‘Greatest Hits World Tour’ earlier in the year would be taking in Australia in November.
Jesper: It is fantastic, we are looking so much forward to it.
Mark: You are I must admit one of my favourite lyricists in Rock and Roll, and as well as the sharp observations there’s always a real humour in your lyrics, how important is that to you?
Jesper: I think humour is a part of everyone’s lives and I think that depth is important. Of course I love someone who is correct and I love the lyrics of things like black dark doom metal where there is no humour at all (laughs) and there is no depth in that sense, but in a way that is humour in itself so to speak, wanting everything to die. So I think that’s funny and I enjoy it, but from my own point of view I cannot keep my humour and smile out of anything we do, because first of all the energy stems from having a very good time. This whole Rock and Roll energy is born with that kind of mindset, but also it’s hard to keep a straight face. In Denmark there is no Rock culture in Denmark: to be Danish is to be ‘not Rock and Roll’. This is a place where everything is more like Folk songs. It’s hard to explain, because if you go to Sweden there’s a lot of Rock and Roll, if you go to Finland, a lot of Rock and Roll. And if you go to Germany, they’re really, really into Genres and Rock and Roll – they know everything about it. But in Denmark it just flies over people’s heads. So if you stand u in tight leather pants they want you know what you are doing and why you are wearing those pants! (laughs) So to live and to have a Rock and Roll band in Denmark you have to have a little bit of “Oh yeah, but it’s just for fun!” (laughs) It’s debilitating and it’s a handicap perhaps, but it’s kept us going with humour and you know, a ‘light’ mind.
Mark: I remember having a long conversation with Mike Tramp once and him trying to explain to me about Danish Folk music and how strange it seemed to want to play Rock and Roll. So bearing that in mind where did the spark come from for you?
Jesper: Definitely the whole Punk Rock movement. Because we started out, me and my brother and Stig, we started out riding skateboards when we were like 13, 14 years old. So this whole skateboard thing was an outlaw movement and it felt like us against the world. But of course every youth culture had that thing in it, or should have that thing in it, and I think we found each other in skateboarding. We found that this whole Skate Punk movement around this was exactly perfect for us, it was discarding this whole Danish thing, skateboarding is definitely not Danish culture, and Punk Rock and Roll is not Danish culture. So we just wanted to ‘attack’ or be apart from where we grew up and just wanted a small revolution for ourselves.
Mark: Well you certainly lit the way for bands coming after you, there’s some great Rock and Roll coming out of Denmark at the minute. Your first three albums have always intrigued me, and they’ve been described as various things but there’s always been that different Punkier sound to them. When did you know that music was going to be such an important part of your life?
Jesper: That’s a very good question because we’ve been around for so long and we’ve definitely had different timings of revelations of things like talent and opportunity, But of course when we started out if there were 30 people in the audience it was a success. And maybe just being able to play your songs and have a couple of beers was a success! So growing up in Punk and aiming to be a great Punk band you never aimed for commercial success. So that was a funny part of trying to set yourself apart from the mainstream that you were never interested in success in. But personally it was about 5 or 6 albums in to D.A.D.’s career before I could admit that I was a great composer and this was going to be the rest of my life. It took so long because first… you need the songs (laughs) because we’d been great at doing teh other things on stage, the choreography, the big stupid backdrops and all kinds of stupid things. So it took me a long time to nail it down, “OK what is the skill in this? What is the talent in this?” So it took me years and when I did it was a shock to enter the ‘real’ industry with ‘No Fuel Left For the Pilgrims’! We were shocked to enter an industry where at some point you had to put on a mask to play the game. Because that was definitely not in teh whole Punk Rock part of our lives.
Mark: Exactly! You treated your fans for your 30th Anniversary – the ‘Overmuch’ Box was fantastic and we also got the 30th Compilation as well. Do you have something special planned with the 40th just around the corner now?
Jesper: The hope is, and of course there are insecurities as there are for everyone these days. But the main objective is to play 40 gigs in Europe. But of course if Australia calls. we’ll make you part of the 40 in 2024 when we turn 40! (laughs)
Mark: That sounds perfect!
Jesper: Of course there will be a whole truckload of nostalgia going on, so what we’ve decided is we want to release an EP or maybe an album before with new songs because we can’t really… you know it’s debilitating sometimes to keep on rehashing old songs, you die inside if you only play old songs.
Mark: I’m so with you on that Jesper, there’s nothing I like more than hearing new songs from a band I love.
Jesper: So right now we are trying to come up with something new and we are in rehearsals composing and making new songs. So ’23 will be some new songs just to get an alibi to be able to jump into the sea of nostalgia in ’24.
Mark: That is fantastic news. Many years ago, and I can’t remember exactly how many it was I had a Danish friend who read me extracts of your autobiography ‘I Won’t Cut My Hair’ which I loved, there were some great things in there and I don’t think we ever got through it all but his translations were pretty good. What struck me about it was how honest you were with yourself. Did it ever get published in English or any other language?
Jesper: No, never, never in English. I donlt know it was funny that it was not because it was more or less of a best seller in Denmark and Scandinavia, because the Swedes if they want to they can read Danish. Of course I tried a bit half-heartedly trying to get it into English, and maybe it will happen someday I don’t know, and then you could throw in a couple of up-to-date kind of chapters, but you can’t really do anything else. When they called me originally and said “Jesper do you want to do an autobiography” I said “Oh I think you called the wrong guy, Stig has a much more promiscuous life than I.” But they said that they didn’t want the sex, they wanted the honesty (laughs) How do you relate to that! (laughs) But it turned out I was the right guy.
Mark: I hope we do get to read it in English one day. I know there are a lot of Rock and Roll autobiographies out there but yours said a little more than most,
Jesper: I think I should try to make it into English, at some point I’m sure it will happen.
Mark: I loved the solo record too ‘Dying is Easy’ from 2017.
Jesper: Thank you, thank you.
Mark: Any plans for any more solo records or are you waiting till you’re sitting on the porch playing that Folk Music? Or at least till after the 40th anniversary?
Jesper: I’m definitely going to wait until the whole D.A.D. Anniversary thing is over. The solo album was just because I felt like I was wasting time while the band was taking it easy. So it was more or less to filter off that energy, but it is the way that I communicate with myself and the world through music, so I couldn’t really take a break. It was just the timing of everything else that made the solo album possible. But it will happen again, it’s in me, and I really enjoyed hanging out with the guys on my solo album. It was like ‘Yes, wow’ this is my heartbeat so to speak: it’s a thing that makes me very happy. With D.A.D. there’s a lot at stake I think, and I love to have that whole thing going but there are a lot of audience expectations. But having a solo (album) it’s just a walk in the park.
Mark: That’s fantastic. If you could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ in the studio for the creation of any of the great albums of Rock and Roll’s history, what would you like to have seen being made? Watching the magic as it happened?
Jesper: Woah! That’s a good question. I’m a great fan of AC/DC so maybe I would have loved to have seen how ‘Highway to Hell’ was made because it was the first time with Mutt Lange, that would have been great. And I’m pretty sure it would have been a fast one, if you’d been a ‘fly on the wall’ with Sabbath of The Stones I’m sure it would take years! But I think the Young brothers are renowned fir doing quick stuff! (Laughs)
Mark: I think they always knew what they wanted to do in the studio. That’s my favourite AC/DC album too, I know a lot of people plump for ‘Powerage’, but that was always the one for me.
Jesper: And me. I think that ‘Highway to Hell’ has everything in it and of course Bon Scott’s lyrics – that means a lot to me. Because I think they knew what they were doing I think it would have been very interesting to see the small changes that Mutt Lange would have made, and the small changes to their playing.
Mark: Absolutely! And we’ll close with an easy one – ‘What is the meaning of life?”
Jesper: (laughs) Woah! Well the meaning of life is to help one another. But it is also that you need to find your own way. What can you contribute with in this world? And if you haven’t found it then go contribute and things will fall into place.
Mark: That’s a wonderful answer Jesper, thank you so much for your time today it’s been great to finally catch up.
Jesper: Thanks Mark. I hope to see you in Perth! Definitely come down and say hello!
Mark: I will do. Take care my friend and safe travels.
Jesper: Thank you.
GET THE TICKET OF THE YEAR HERE: https://metropolistouring.com/d-a-d-2022/