Ex-San Diegan siren Dee Dee (aka Kristin Gundred and wife of Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez) brings her all-girl quartet, Dum Dum Girls, back to the Casbah tonight. The band is here, in part, to promote their new EP, He Gets Me High. Like the Dum Dums Sub Pop debut, I Will Be, the EP was written and produced by Gundred alone, although she did bring back the legendary Richard Gotteher (who worked on I Will Be), and Raveonettes frontman Sune Rose Wagner, to co-produce.
But as the dynamic singer and guitarist (and ex-drummer – You’ve got to get behind the kit again sometime Kristin!) enlisted the rest of her bandmates to play on the group’s upcoming new LP, it marks the end, for now, of the one-woman show.
I recently spoke with Gundred about leaving San Diego, sharing the load, and taking on The Smiths.
Scott McDonald: Last time we spoke, you were in the process of moving to San Francisco. What happened?
Kristin Gundred: It’s one of those things where you make a decision and you’re really into it, and then it’s kind of amusing because you end up completely flip-flopping on it. I’m looking at it from the East Bay right now. I like playing there. I just don’t know that I want to live there anymore. Brandon and I are in this weird limbo right now. We’re not sure what we’re going to do. But we’ve kind of decided that we’re just going to save some money. If I was going to be home more often, I’d make it a priority to have a place to come home to. But right now, we’re so busy that it’s not that big of a deal to have our own space.
SM: Once again, you handled all the duties on this new EP.
KG: I do really enjoy it. But the EP was a really quick experience. The three songs came about in one weekend. And then we recorded it over three or four days. The whole thing was really fast. There just wasn’t really room for a whole lot of other people to be involved. And the songs are pretty much in tact from the demos. The production values were higher and, of course, it was cool to see how my songs sounded “in studio,” but it didn’t lend itself to a lot of help. I mean, there is a part of me that enjoys doing everything.
KG: But the band just did another record, and while it was a big step to involve everybody, it was really, really fun. Having the girls play and sing on the record feels a lot more like who we are. We’re a band. That’s the direction I’m moving towards, although, I still feel like I’ll do all of the writing. I don’t know. But the EP is a great middle step between doing everything myself, involving producers, and becoming a proper band.
SM: Wow. Another full-length? That was fast.
KG: Yeah. We literally just finished. But more than anything, we just needed to do it now, because we didn’t know what our schedule would look like at a more appropriate time - like in the fall or something. We just holed up in L.A. and got it done.
SM: He Gets Me High has three originals and a cover. That last song is the Smiths, right?
KG: Funny story. I had a concept for the EP and I wanted it to be very thematic. I was going to cover a Vagrants song called “Oh Those Eyes,” which I did end up recording. It’s just one of those garage classics, Nuggets gem, kind of songs, but I wasn’t really into how it turned out. It didn’t sound right. When I do a cover I want it to either be very different from the original, or have something unique that showcases why I chose to do it. I just didn’t feel like that came across and I was kind of freaking out. Richard and Sune left the studio to go get some dinner and I stayed to try and figure out what on earth I could do because my original plan wasn’t working out. I was texting people asking what song I should cover and got a lot of hilarious suggestions. But I’m a HUGE Smiths/Morrissey fan. And on tour, it’s what I listen to almost exclusively. It’s great while riding in a car or sitting on a plane. It’s very inspiring. The Smiths are somewhat of an untouchable band, so it came up as kind of a joke. I mean, I wouldn’t ever recommend covering it to anyone. But we did it on a whim and I wasn’t even sure then about using it. But I ended up really liking it after a while and thought it fit in thematically as well. It works and I think it’s a good end to the EP.
SM: Nice. Thanks again for taking the time.
KG: Awesome. Thank you.