Guilty Pleasures: Dez Dare Digs Grand Funk Railroad, More

Dez Dare is up to something. Scratch that: psych/punk/garage vet Dez Dare is always up to something. 

Starting on the first day of this year, the indefatigable U.K.-based punk-rock vet posted five cryptic Instagram posts piquing fans’ interest. Each post alluded to a big announcement that Dez — a.k.a. Darren Smallman — plans to make imminently.

Dez promises “records a plenty + weird videos + odd touring + a slick new website” in the posts.

It’s hard to overstate the breadth of Dez’s career. After getting his sea legs as a punk-rock musician in 1990, he played gigs with Fugazi and Australia’s Dirty Three, among others.

In a mere two years, he’s already tacked nine new releases to his Bandcamp page. Granted, only two of them are full-lengths: May 2021’s Hairline Ego Trip and August 2022’s Ulysses Trash. But still.

All the while, the incontestable multi-hyphenate is also the founder of Low Transit Industries. Over the years, Dez’s record label and touring company gave a boost to Black Mountain, Of Montreal, Okkervil River and Trans Am, among others.

While we wait for Dez’s big announcement later this month, tide yourself over with this special feature that he kindly assembled for the Bad Penny. It’s the latest installment in our ongoing Guilty Pleasures series, in which artists spill about unexpected musicians or bands they dig.

Here’s what Dez Dare admitted to enjoying, much to the surprise of his punk-centric background:

Crowded House (entire catalogue)

“Love these guys. Great songwriters and musicians. What’s not to love! Great opening line: ‘I would much rather have a caravan in the hills, than a mansion in the slums.’”

The Killers (most of the catalogue?)

“I love the pomp and grandeur of this band even though there isn’t much substance to it. [Their] first three albums are the best.”

Ben Folds Five (self-titled album)

“Catchy songs, fun to listen to when you are doing data entry or the like. Pretty sure the band all worked in data entry before they got big as well.”

Electric Light Orchestra (entire catalogue)

“Big riffs, cheesy hooks, good times. I was actually a fan of The Move before [Electric Light Orchestra]. [ELO cofounder] Roy Wood is an evil genius! It’s hard to stop singing along when they start!”

Grand Funk Railroad (entire catalogue)

“Weirdly, Monster Magnet got me into these guys. I was right into the early Monster Magnet stuff back in 1990, and on their first album they covered ‘Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother.’ Listen. To. It. Even if you can’t get into the overly cheesy prog/pop/douchery of the band, you gotta love the shonky artwork. So, artwork-wise you can start with ‘We’re an American Band,’ which includes a naked centrefold (not a joke!).

For more editions of the Bad Penny’s Guilty Pleasures series, check out:

• Young Marble Giants’ Stuart Moxham On Sex, Procrastination – And Fish And Chips
• Humanfly On Prince, Blur, Ice Cube, More

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