Band: Dempwolf and The Damage Done
Members: Chris Dempwolf, guitar and vocals; Michael Fickes, guitar and vocals; Brian Shoop, bass; Zack Ward, drums
Who we talked to: Dempwolf, 23
How did you guys meet/ How long have you been performing together? Mike and I were in a couple different bands together back when we were ... 18, 19 - around that age. The most notable of those (was) Book Club. We've been playing music together for about five or six years now. He does his own stuff, and I was doing my own stuff. (I) just started doing open mike nights around the area and asked him to come out and play along. That led to us learning each other's songs and starting to write stuff together. Then, I got a gig at Bistro 19 and decided that we should try to get a full band together. (We added) two of our other friends.
How did you come up with the name? Mike has his own stuff, but I was the one who was really kind of pushing for getting a band together. So, we do a lot of my original songs and throw in a couple of Mike's originals. The name just kind of has a lot of do with the topical nature of the songs. A lot of the songs have to do with heartbreak and relationships. The Damage Done was damage done to me by other people, and likewise, the damages I've done to other people.
Describe your sound and style. It started off kind of like an Americana/folks-y sort of thing. I recently purchased an electric guitar just so that at band practice, the drummer and bassist would be able to hear me. We started playing the same old songs, but kind of (thought) "this would sound kind of neat as sort of a punk-rock song - kind of in the vein of The Clash and The Ramones and stuff like that." It's kind of taken a strange evolution. It's still got this ... slightly country feel to it (with) a little bit faster tempo and a little bit more distortion on the guitars.
Who are your influences? Our influences are so vast, ranging from Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan (and) Johnny Cash to The Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Rancid. (We like) classic rock stuff like AC/DC as well.
Are you guys hoping to book more gigs in the next few months? We would like to. We're pretty much as a full band limited to weekends because all of us work full-time jobs. Booking can be slightly difficult as can be practicing. Mike and I are usually out on weeknights doing open mikes. We might do two-piece stuff (and) smaller gigs like that. I know that Feb. 9, he and I are going to be playing an acoustic set at Central Market from 10 a.m. to (noon).
Are you thinking about making an album? That is something that we would like to do. I've started laying down some of the rough tracks just to get the idea of how I want things to sound. (Brian) is really big into studio recording and has all sorts of equipment. So, he's been talking about getting us all together to try and record at least a five-song EP. I would like to at least record one album. That's something that could take several months to get everyone in the right place at the right time. It will be on the horizon.
Have you seen any changes in the local scene through the years? I've definitely seen kind of a boom in the local scene. Back when I was ... 19, the scene was decent, but it was nothing like it is today. I was a touring musician for two years, and honestly, out of everywhere I've been in the country, York has one of the best music scenes. I think one of the biggest differences in the scene now ... is that there seems to be a bigger push for original music. You can tell that people are appreciating that. One of the biggest things that got me playing original music ... was my friend Ronn Benway. He approached me one night after I played at The Depot and he was just saying ... "You have to teach these people your songs. You have to get to the point where these people recognize your songs as well as they recognize a Johnny Cash cover or something like that."
Any closing thoughts? The biggest thing to me is that you can go out and hear bands that are well refined and ... have their music down to the point where you can go out to a live show and it feels like you're listening to an album. The one thing that's been really important to me about this project is that it's always been something that's just raw and honest. We get up on the stage. We make mistakes. But at the end of the day, you know, when I'm up there singing (or) when Mike's up there singing, we're meaning every word we're saying.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
Dempwolf and The Damage Done: www.facebook.com/DempwolfDamage
Listen to the interview: flipsidepa.com
Read more meet-the-artist interviews
If you go
Hear Dempwolf and The Damage Done Jan. 12 at The Depot, 360 W. Cottage Place, York. Chris Dempwolf said he hosts a weekly open mike 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sundays at Holy Hound Taproom, 57 W. Market St., York.[emc: cq: ]