An Interview with Edsel Dope!
I don't need to tell you who Edsel Dope is...you should know that he is the lead singer & mastermind behind the band Dope...he's pretty outspoken, outgoing, & to the point, so I'm not gonna over hype this interview, I'll let Edsel do that!
Rock N Roll Experience: You're selling a DVD of all of your videos at your concerts...will that be available in retail stores anytime soon?
Edsel: No, that is just a collection of all the videos that we've done & it's just one of those things for the die hard fans that come to see the band live or that wanna go to the web site & get it, but we have no plans to ever distribute that just because it's just a thing that we did on our own for the fans
Rock N Roll Experience: Tell me about the title of the new record, American Apathy.
Edsel: I think touring, as much as we have, & just seeing the state of where the majority of the youths of America's head are at, I just feel like it was very representative, I think it's a very good word to describe the way alot of people in this country feel about the way that everything is going right now & I'm right there with them.
Rock N Roll Experience: I take it you hate George Bush Jr.?
Edsel: Yeah, I can't stand him...I think he's a putz & I think that everybody agrees, but we have to deal with what he have to deal with, but I still love our troops & I'll always support the people that enlist in the military that take care of us...I gotta tell you that.
Rock N Roll Experience: What happened between you & Matt Zane from Society One?
Edsel: Who? Who is that, that porno dude who's trying to be a rockstar now? Awww, who cares dude. I'm not even gonna get into it because then I would be fueling the fire of a person that doesn't deserve 5 seconds of attention for their music or anything else, so it's like, whatever...it's not even worth mentioning.
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you talked to Tripp Eisen since he's been arrested?
Edsel: He's still in jail as far as I know..it's not really my place, it's like obviously me & him have had alot of words & alot of issues & if there was ever a time where I could really bury the guy it would be right now, but I just don't choose to, it's like kicking a guy when he's down...I guess we all at some point have to take responsibility for our actions & be held accountable for the things that we do & I guess the guy made a really big mistake & he's paying the price for it...I don't wish that on anybody...going to jail & dealing with all of that shit is a really terrible place to be but, I guess you gotta pay the piper.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you still talk to Simon Dope?
Edsel: Yeah...he's still one of my best friends in the world man....we work together actually kind of regularly because he's a video game producer for Activision, so we are working on the new True Crime game together, I did a song for that & he is actually the lead producer on True Crime 2, so he is doing fantastic...him being involved in Dope with me in the early days & me getting a record deal was like my dream come true...him going & becoming a producer at Activision is like his dream come true, so I am supporting him in his job just like he supported me back when I originally started Dope...we are still the best of friends.
Rock N Roll Experience: Is that why he (Simon) quit Dope?
Edsel: Yes, absolutely, 100%..he got the opportunity to go to Activision & produce games & he was never a real contributor musically to Dope, my brother is not really a musician, he just kind of pushed buttons & was my partner & was there in support, so I had to support his decision to be able to go & do something creative in a field that he really does love & that was what he did, so that was the reason that he left the band for sure.
Rock N Roll Experience: How did you meet former Marilyn Manson guitarist Zim Zum & did he actually produce your first demos?
Edsel: No he didn't produce our demos...I met Zimmy years ago, because I am actually super, super close friends with Ginger Fish from Manson, he is like one of my best friends in the world...I grew up in South Florida, so I've known the Manson guys forever & when Ginger joined the band & I was just around those guys alot....Daisy Berkowitz was a really good friend of mine & still is, & with Zim Zum, when he joined the band me & Ginger always hung out & Zim Zum being the new guy, just kind of hung out with us whenever we were together & I just hit it off with him really good & I played him all of the Dope stuff that I was working on & he loved it...he said, "Man, I really love your band & I think you guys are gonna do great!" & we were just talking about him being involved in some degree & possibly producing the band & he agreed to & he wanted to, so as a marketing tool early on we, through the internet & whatnot, we would claim that we were currently being produced by Zim Zum because he had intended on producing the band & that way people would know, hey, anyone who is a Manson fan that likes Zimmy, Zimmy is really backing the Dope band & he wants to produce this Dope band, so check it out...unfortunately, or fortunately, I don't know how you look at it, but time went on, we ended up getting a record deal & Zimmy was super busy & he ended up leaving Manson & it just kind of never worked out time wise for us to get in the studio & work together so we never ended up working together, but we were really good friends & still our buddies & we had intended on making it happen, but it never did, so that was where that rumor kind of got started in the way, way early days before we got a record deal.
Rock N Roll Experience: Tell me about the Cold tour...what exactly happened?
Edsel: It was just a bunch of nonsense dude...we were out on the road with those guys, we were on the same label & we were honestly just looking for a little bit of bro-ship when it came to stage space & we wanted to go out there & do our show & use our production & it really came down to, they were the headliners but we felt like we were carrying alot of weight on the tour selling alot of tickets & we just wanted to be able to do out show & use our stage props & they were very un cooperative about letting us have very much stage space, which is completely within their right as the headliner, but we just felt like they could have been more accommodating to us, especially considering we were on the same label & we were all kind of working for the same cause & they just didn't give a shit, so unfortunately we clashed heads a little bit with them on those things, but I don't have any hard feelings towards them at this point & I don't think they have any heard feelings towards us, it was just one of those situations where it just wasn't a real smooth tour but I wish them all the best & I've got nothing bad to say about them.
Rock N Roll Experience: Where did the Dope look of the dreadlocks with the underneath shaved hairstyle come from?
Edsel: That was just something that I was doing back in the early days when I first started the band & then my brother who looks very similar to me just kind of followed suit, so we were the only guys in Dope at the time, me & my brother & we both looked like that & then we started going around to New York to start putting the band together & that became one of the prerequisites, if you wanna be in Dope you gotta look like Dope because we wanted to carry that old-school Motley Crue vibe where when somebody from Motley Crue walked in the room you go ohh, that's the guy from Motley Crue, it's identifiable, & we wanted Dope to be the same way...a guy from Dope would walk into a strip club & you go, ohh, a guy from Dope is here..it doesn't have to be Edsel, but you know they are in Dope & it really worked you know, through the years the band has become extremely identifiable, even members that have gone on to do other things in other bands that remain looking like Dope guys had to deal with people going, you're in Dope, right? all the time & they'd go, oh know, I'm not in Dope anymore, but if they continue to keep the look that they were given when they came into the band then they have to deal with the fact that people are always gonna equate them with Dope because that is where that look came from.
Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever change the Dope look?
Edsel: Not as long as we are Dope...I don't think so man, I think that I could see myself branching out & doing stuff on the side & doing other projects where I might wanna alter what I am doing just to fit it, but I think for Dope I think that it is what it is, I mean I can see myself changing it here or there & if you've noticed, like Virus for instance, he doesn't have the mop top like the rest of us do, he's still got dreads, but it's in a mohawk, but I think it's always gonna be reminiscent of that because that is what Dope is & that's what people expect from Dope & it definitely transcends on stage with the strobes & everything that goes into our show, it's just part of what people have grown to expect & I feel like if we were to change that, that we would not be giving them what they are expecting & that would be to me, like KISS not wearing the make-up....I don't like KISS without the make-up personally
Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of KISS with Tommy Thayer playing Ace's role & Eric Singer playing Peter Criss's role?
Edsel: Ohhh, I can't stand it, but you know, whatever..I kind of gave up on KISS after the reunion tour because I was so excited to see the reunion tour & then I thought it was gonna be like a monumental thing, like you go to see KISS in a reunion tour & that was gonna be it, I didn't realize there was gonna be 32 reunion tours.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you find it hard at times to be the writer, producer & singer on American Apathy?
Edsel: I mean I've produced every record that we've had & I wrote every record that we've had & I've sang every record that we've had, so not really, it's just kind of what I do. I actually feel like I had more help on this record than the last record because me & Virus have partnered up so much on the songwriting aspects, but no, that is what I'm used to, I've always been really hands on & that's how I get the sounds that I want...I think mixing this record was probably where more of the responsibility came from, because every other record I've had somebody mixing the record with me & in the past I've had a couple of records that I didn't even have anything to do with...actually I think it was just the "Life" record, but this record I mixed the whole thing by myself & that was pretty painstaking.
Rock N Roll Experience: So if you ever did an Edsel Dope solo record, how would it vary from a Dope record?
Edsel: I never would because to me, that would be no different than Rob Zombie leaving White Zombie to go do Rob Zombie..it's the same fuckin shit, it's great, I love Zombie, I love White Zombie, I Love Rob Zombie, but it's the same thing, so I could never see myself doing an Edsel Dope solo project...I could see me doing things outside of Dope that don't sounds like Dope, but anything that I would be Edsel Dope & play the groove oriented Dope sound....like why would I do something that wasn't Dope...that is who I am & that is what I do
Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever consider doing what Manson & Zombie are doing & give up music for a while to do movies?
Edsel: No..I think that I'd just produce other acts, like I am producing a band from Fort Meyer's called Makeshift Romeo & it's made up of the singer from Twisted Method & the drummer from a band called Slitherine & the bass player from Motogrator....that band is coming out phenomenal & I am working on another side project with a band called Sucker Punch which is more of a...stuff that people who like Dope won't really like, it's more kind of a pop band in a way..it's more like Lit..it's like older, fun fuckin pop songs....so I try to do stuff outside of Dope that is like not really reminiscent of Dope so that I can really step outside & do things differently. I like directing videos & maybe I'll do that for some other bands, but I'm not a movie guy, I don't see myself making movies. I could see myself doing little bit parts or acting maybe, but I'm not into being a movie director....those guys are alot more horror guys than I am anyways if you notice, like their show & their bands are horror based where Dope really isn't that...we are more street...we have more in common with the gangster street thug mentality than we do with satan of fucking horror..the band has never been about the devil, never been about anything from a horror aspect, it's always been a band that came from the streets of New York selling drugs & doing what we had to do to get by & having a very survivalistic mentality to what we do.
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you ever actually been in jail?
Edsel: I've been in jail, but I've never been in prison. I've been fortunate enough through the years to be, I don't want to say smart, but smart enough to not get caught.
Rock N Roll Experience: Does it upset you when people compare you to Marilyn Manson?
Edsel: Well, it doesn't happen anymore, like it happened early on in the bands career & I think it bothered me at first because I was trying to create my own identity & I think that early on it was less about being compared to Marilyn Manson because of the music & it was more because I was a 6" tall skinny dude with long black hair with my middle fingers in the air..who else are you gonna compare me to at that time? But, I feel like nowadays when people review records or talk about the band & try to find a comparison for us, they usually use Rob Zombie more than they use Manson, which I think is more accurate actually..I think that we have more of a groove oriented style & a more rhythmic pattern to the way the vocals are written & I think it is more down the Zombie line than the Manson line.
Rock N Roll Experience: Why did you cover the Depeche Mode song "People are People"?
Edsel: It was one of those things that, anybody who knows the band, knows that I like to dabble in covers here & there & I wanted to do something on this record that I felt had some significance to what the world is like right now....there is also a new version of our old school cover of "F**k tha police" on this record, we did a new studio version of it that came out really killer, but I just felt like "People Are People" is just a song that has been around forever & I felt it had never been more relevant than it is right now, because just the way the world is , I just thought that it could be maybe something that we could do, it could get out there & maybe attract some people to the band that had never or wouldn't normally know about the band & for the people that do know about the band already, it could just give them our spin on a song that I think has never been more important than it is today.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you dating any porn stars now?
Edsel: No...any of the porno star flings that I have had didn't really last long because I'm not really interested in relationships & I don't live in LA, so I wouldn't be nailing any porno stars on a regular basis....that's where they all live in LA & I will never live in LA, or atleast I say that now, unless it's work related..I hate that town (LA) (FYI Edsyl lives in Chicago!)