Alternative Nation interviews DEP's iconic frontman Greg Puciato.
Metal titans The Dillinger Escape Plan sent ripples throughout the industry over the summer when it was announced that the metal act’s current tour will be their last. Dillinger won’t be going out with a whimper; their final Dissociation is as strong a DEP record as ever, an ethereal collection of tracks that any self respecting music fan should check out.
Their final tour brought them to Poughkeepsie, New York on Friday, putting on a customarily explosive show at The Chance Theater. While it was not as explosive as their last go around at the venue years ago (complete with fire breathing, as Greg Puciato reminisced), the band packed the venue and delivered a plethora of fan favorites and signature tracks (“Milk Lizard”, “Black Bubblegum”). The band proved they could probably play for another hundred years before being mildly exhausted, but alas, all good things must come to an end.
Before the show, another Alternative Nation reporter and I had the chance to speak with frontman Greg Puciato, reminiscing over his fifteen year tenure with the group. Greg was incredibly friendly and seemed very optimistic over the band’s decision to retire.
I’d also like it to be known that following the interview, which took place in a derelict green room on the upper floors, we were effectively trapped by a stuck door for a few minutes… Greg ended up breaking us out of there. I guess that means, in the end, he lived up to the band name.
[Doug McCausland] Why is now the best time for Dillinger to call it quits?
Because we are getting along better than ever, and we just released our best record. [laughs] It is never going to get any better than this, so you might as well stop it now. Really, it has nothing to do with the music: it has everything to do with the psychology of the individuals involved. We’ve been through a lot, we started out together when we were kids. I was 21, Ben was 24 or 25. We were all in that range. In the last 15 years or so, people have come and gone, but we’ve grown up together for the most part.
It’s very tough to go from being a kid to being an adult together in any relationship. Take two 21 year olds who are dating and they tell you they will be together when they are 35… yeah, you’re dumb, that’s never going to happen. [laughs] So it’s even harder when you’re creating things together and your financial lives revolve around each other’s. You’re still also allowing each other to grow as individuals.
At times in our evolution, it was fucking chaos… fighting, not speaking to one another. We got through it, and now that we’ve reached this point of being good, we realize that [Dissociation] is a resolve of everything that we’ve ever done. It just felt thematically like “this is what’s happening right now.” We didn’t make it happen, we just gave it a name. We realized that this just might be the end, but in a good way. We overcame a bunch of shit together.
I was gonna ask you about how your new record thematically ties into the band’s retirement…
The title was there before I knew this was gonna happen. Maybe I subconsciously knew what was going to happen, but the title has been around for a couple years. There’s a lot of things in my life that were coinciding that made it easy for me to write lyrics about separation or loss, becoming distanced from something. When the [band’s decision to retire] happened, I realized I could lump that into the record as well.
Which part of DEP’s legacy would you say you are most proud of, coming out of your fifteen year tenure with the group?
The most proud thing that I am is, again, nothing to do with the surface. People not in the band speak of it in terms of musical output and shows. This song, this album, this performance… you gotta see them, or whatever. It’s all cool, but on the inside, the band is a group of relationships. These relationships are what create the album or the show. If you didn’t want to be around these people, you wouldn’t keep doing it. Some of us could leave and get another job and not have to deal with one another.
The thing I’m the most proud of is that we stuck by and got ourselves to the point where we could break up peacefully. There were plenty of opportunities to say, “fuck you, I’m done with this,” acrimoniously. Instead, it’s, “hey man, I’m happy about what we’ve accomplished together. Let’s not do it anymore.” Honestly, it sounds crazy to people, but it is a really nice feeling.
What is your favorite venue the band has played at over the years?
The 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C…. like, a lot. I’m from Baltimore, so I may be biased a little bit, but it’s just a crushing venue. It’s the exact size that I like to play the most, around a thousand people. It hasn’t been bought out. There’s very few places that haven’t been bought out by Live Nation or Clear Channel. They’re one of the last truly independent venues. They have a sound system that belongs in an amphitheater. It’s like getting kicked in the chest. I like that place a lot.
Favorite song of Dillinger’s, or favorite song to play live?
“Happiness Is A Smile”. We only released that on a seven inch. That was definitely a breakthrough song for me. Live… well, the new record is fresh…
[Anthony Carioscia] What’s next for you? I interviewed Max Cavalera recently…
Right on, great dude. Nicest guy.
He really is. He mentioned a 2017 comeback for your other project, Killer Be Killed.
Man, that’s a logistical nightmare of sorts. We’ve just compiled… we’ve made a bunch of riffs and stuff. It’s going to happen, it will happen, but I don’t know when. Now this Dillinger thing is in full force, we’re giving it a name and saying this tour is going to be the last one. We really just want to make sure we go everywhere and leave no stone unturned or short change anybody. We’re going to tour for about a year. Mastodon is in the studio RIGHT NOW recording, and Max never stops working… it’s crazy. At some point in time, we’re gonna get together and throw our ideas in a pot together. We need to be in the same room. Right now it’s just really difficult to find that time.
[Doug] Any closing thoughts for the DEP fans who have stuck with the band throughout the years?
Thanks. I know that we’re a difficult band to listen to, and I know that our music isn’t the easiest thing to categorize, every single person in this band is kind of a weirdo. We’re weirdos.