The Dillinger Escape Plan
The Dillinger Escape Plan, mathcore band hailing from Morris Plains, New Jersey, have often been credited as being one of the originators of the metal core scene. The band, whose current members consists of guitarist Ben Weinman, vocalist Greg Puciato, bassist Liam Wilson, guitarist Jeff Tuttle, and drummer Billy Rymer, has delivered some of the most intense rock performances for well over a decade.
Originating in 1997, the band was formerly made up of other members such as Chris Pennie, Dimitri Minakakis, and Adam Doll. Weinman, the current guitarist, has been with the group since it’s early days. During this time period, the Dillinger Escape Plan gained a reputation in the hardcore punk scene for their often intense and violent performances. These wild performances caught the attention of a record executive at Relapse Records, and immediately offered the band a contract. Following the offer, the band released an EP titled “Under the Running Board” in 1998.
After the release of their EP, the band completed their first studio album, “Calculating Infinity,” which gained positive reviews and would go on to be considered a landmark of avante-garde metal. During this time, the band lost members Adam Doll to a serious injury, and John Fulton due to creative differences. Jeff Wood would eventually replace Doll, even though Doll would still be credited with all his contributions to the album. The group’s work also caught the attention of Mike Patton, former vocalist of the group Faith No More, and offered the band go on tour with his group, Mr. Bungle. After several months of being part of events such as the Warped tour and March Metal Meltdown, Wood moved on to work on his own project, which lead to bassist Liam Wilson taking over his place. In 2000, the band parted ways with Minakakis.
With no vocalist, the group went on a nationwide search to find the next lead singer. That problem would be answered in 2001 when they met vocalist, Greg Puciato, who was offered a job by the band after two practices. Puciato made his first public appearance with the band at the 2001 CMJ Music Festival in New York City. Soon after, Puciato and the band recorded songs for the Black Flag tribute album, as well as a cover of “My Michelle” for the Guns N’ Roses tribute album, “Bring You To Your Knees.”
In 2004, the band released their first full-length studio album under Puciata titled “Miss Machine,” which was met with favorable reviews. The album peaked at number two on the Top Heatseakers charts. Following the release, the band embarked on a two-year tour, where they found themselves headlining their own tours and also opening up for groups such as SlipKnot and System of a Down.
After the release of their EP “Plagiarism,” and opening for groups such as AFI and Coheed & Cambria, the group completed and released their follow-up album, “Ire Works, in late 2007. The album became a commercial success and was featured on many music critics’ Top Ten Lists, making it the band’s most successful album. The band performed made an appearance on NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and even had their song, Milk Lizard, featured on an episode of CBS’ CSI: NY.
In late 2009, the band confirmed that they had started their own label, Party Smasher, Inc. The band’s first studio album on their new label, Option Paralysis, was released in 2010 followed by a short North American tour, and performing in this summer’s Warped Tour.
In our exclusive interview with the band’s guitarist, Ben Weinman discusses topics such as life on tour, the differences from today and ten years ago, what makes them original, and many more!
- Q: How’s the tour going so far? Any highlights? - Deborah
- A: It’s a pretty hectic lifestyle. We’ve been on tour for about 4 weeks. We’re excited to go to Greece, we’ve never performed there, we’re hoping they’ll like it.
- Q: You guys have been on the hardcore scene for about 10 years. What are the main differences that you’ve seen in how it has evolved? - Chris Sansom
- A: Well, actually a good example is touring overseas. When we first started, the first time we came to Europe was in, I think, 1999, and not only was the Euro not in place yet, but there really wasn’t a YouTube and MySpace and all of that stuff. The world was a much smaller place. Back then when you said “Europe,” I would be like, “what do you mean?” It was different cities, different people, different languages. Now everyone is more connected. It’s like America. People are starting to dress the same and so on. So it’s pretty interesting to see that people are processing information at the same time in the same way all over the world.
- Q: You’ve been credited as one of the originators of the Metalcore scene. Was that a natural progression through other bands that you’ve been in? - Chris Sansom
- A: Before Dillinger, I was pretty young. I was in a few bands when I was younger, and nothing really happened with them. Which is the usual thing with most young bands. And we were, at the time, playing music that we thought people wanted to hear. Then we went back to school, and nothing really came of those bands. And then with Dillinger it was just a way for us to take all that music that we liked, and thought other people would like. We never had any intention of becoming something that would appeal to a giant mass of people, or something that would work in a big way, or think that mass media would be covering us. So that ironically is when things really started to work out for us. So Dillinger was that band that wasn’t really trying to make it, wasn’t really trying to break out, and I think that’s part of why it was honest and real. And maybe we were doing something different from what people were used to hearing.
- Q: Why do you think that ten years into it, now you’re really getting that critical mass? - SHARON
- A: Well it’s never been a huge success for us. We’ve never put out a record or done a tour that’s been a huge success for us and launched us into some kind of next level. It’s been a steady and slow climb for us, but we’ve really just done our own thing, toured with a lot of big bands. We haven’t really been a part of any specific scene or been categorized as any real current state of music. Everywhere we play and every situation we always sort of stand out. So for us it’s been a really steady climb. It wasn’t like one day we turned around and it was like immediate success. It’s been a pretty interesting experience.
- Q: Critics said you were the Radiohead of metalcore. What do you think about that? - SHARON
- A: Well that’s definitely a compliment just based on the fact that there’s a handful of bands that have really figured it out like Radiohead. They’ve taken control over their artistic and creative outlets.
- Q: One thing you’re known for is having really intense shows. How do you think your shows are different from other bands in your genre? - AndrewR
- A: Well for one, we’ve always treated every show the same, whether there was 10 people or 10,000 people or 50,000 people. In every situation we’ve always treated it like we’re playing for a room of a few people who really have no idea what they’re about to get themselves into. And again since it’s been such a slow steady climb, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were playing in front of 10 people. Also, I can only speak for myself, but I’m nervous every single time, still to this day. I’ve been doing this so many years, but I still feel like I’ve got something to prove. So I feel like that nervousness and that attitude just translates to stage.
- Q: I heard there’s also a game with water bottles that happens at some of your shows. How did that evolve? - AndrewR
- A: There’ve been times when we’ve been playing and our singer’s trying to pump up the audience in any way, shape or form. I think anything that can happen on stage has happened at one of our shows.
- Q: What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened at a show? - jeff
- A: Well for me, I broke every single one of my guitars that I’ve ever owned within four songs, back in the day, in Florida. I kind of felt helpless. I had nothing to do. I was just standing there on stage. There was another 30 minutes of the set to play, and I didn’t even have an instrument. So I ended up just jumping the crowd.
- Q: I know you guys started your own label. Why did you do that and how has that affected the music? - jeff
- A: We were at a major label for many years and our contract was up. So we had some decisions to make, and during a time when things are changing so drastically, technologically, we really didn’t want to tie ourselves into anything that would not allow us to evolve with these changes. So starting our own label was, to have one umbrella name that people associate with Dillinger, regardless of how put the music is put out, is really the only point of that. So we can try new things as time goes on. So that’s how this kind of label became attached to it.
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