Members of Dynamite Walls write and record radio-ready pop-rock from their Encinitas home base. But if Tom Pritchard had not broken up with his girlfriend five years ago, there might not be a band today.
Post-breakup, Pritchard took a year off from performing and turned his sorrows into songs that he began writing in a North Park studio with a friend named Doug Evans. When they had enough new material, Pritchard reasoned that it was time to form a band. He and Evans assembled members for the first Dynamite Walls, and things immediately began to look up.
“We got a development deal with Epic as the result of a demo we made,” says Pritchard. “My brother had passed away two days before we were supposed to record. It was pretty gnarly. We just went in anyway and made the demo and sent it off.”
Pritchard says Epic shopped the band around to various producers and that showcase gigs followed.
“We went out and played SXSW [South by Southwest, the annual music-industry gathering in Austin], got taken out to dinner, thought we were gonna get a record deal, and found out later that our label contacts at Epic had all gotten fired.” D-Walls went from deal to no deal.
Today, the band is Pritchard and his younger brother Eric on drums, with Alex Blundell, Alan Bates, and Paul Kimmell. They recently caught the ear of Paul Fox (XTC, 10,000 Maniacs), who is now managing them. Once again, the band is recording and label-shopping.
WHAT IS DYNAMITE WALLS WORKING ON?
Tom: Recently we had the opportunity to rerecord a song of ours called “Kiss and Ride” at Westlake studios in L.A., where Thriller was recorded. As soon as I walked in, I felt the vibe. There were some Michael posters — signed — in the lounge. It really brought the best out of us to know we were in such an historic studio.
NERVES BEFORE A GIG?
Alex: We’ve all been performing most of our lives, so the nerves have mostly faded. We get excited to play. Also, one or two adult beverages before the show seem to mask any lingering butterflies before we hit the stage.
Eric: I am more nervous about my equipment than actually playing. I have the most crap to lug around, and it is all very expensive. I constantly have to worry about it getting stolen or damaged.
BEST WAY TO COMBAT BOREDOM WHILE ON TOUR?
Eric: Nothing like an impulse-buy to keep you occupied for hours. Beer, fireworks, and fingerless gloves are just a few of the many ridiculous ways we have wasted our money.
BETTER TO SELL DOWNLOADS OR CDs AT A GIG?
Tom: Selling music online is effortless, and I’m pretty sure we have made about the same amount of money with it.
Eric: If we all hustle, we can make some good money off of CDs at a show. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to jump offstage and become Billy Mays. We have to deal with our gear and being burnt out after our set.
BEST MUSIC TO HAVE SEX TO?
Paul: Seventies-porno style. I like the classics.
Eric: I’ve only had sex to an Interpol album, but it was great!
D-WALLS’ BEST SONG?
Alan: My favorite song of ours to play live would definitely be “Mystery.” It’s just sexy and makes people wanna move, myself included.
Tom: I think it would be our newest song, “Cold World.” It has a lot of story and a chorus that pays off.
IS THERE A SIMILAR THREAD THAT RUNS THROUGH YOUR SONGS?
Tom: This is a hard question. I write in different moods, different settings, and try to make each song different. Some would probably say I write about girls a lot. I try to put my own spin on it to make it unique to our perception of the world.
BEST ERA IN ROCK HISTORY?
Alan: Myfavorite era in rock history would have to be the late ‘60s. I think all the drugs everyone was doing at the time made for some amazing music, even if unfortunately they all didn’t live to see how influential it would be.
Eric: Sixties, hands down. Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin.
EVER BREAK IT OFF WITH A GIRL BECAUSE OF HER TASTE IN MUSIC?
Alan: I’ve never broken off dating a girl because of her musical taste, but it’s definitely prevented otherwise attractive girls from having a shot in the first place.
TOM PRITCHARD’S TOP 10 FAVORITE BANDS/ARTISTS?
Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Peter Gabriel, the Strokes, Pinback, Coldplay, the Mermen, Jimi Hendrix.