For the 10th anniversary of Wex Drive-In, we're rolling out a trio of incredible concert films and having some of the best bands in town perform live on the Wexner Center Plaza before the screenings. The lineup starts Thursday, June 15, with the Maysles Brothers' essential Rolling Stones doc Gimme Shelter and a set by the band DANA.
Between earning a coveted spot in Columbus Alive’s Bands to Watch: 2017, releasing a brand new self-titled LP via the Columbus-based label Heel Turn Records, and just completing an extensive North American tour, DANA is definitely one of the city's hottest up and coming bands. And their potent combo of many antecedents of rock, soul, and R&B felt like a perfect fit for a movie about Mick, Keith, and the boys. Community Outreach Manager Kellie Morgan spoke with DANA frontwoman Madeline Jackson about the project.
KM: Tell us about your sound. How would you describe DANA?
MJ: DANA at its core is a rock 'n' roll band, but like all rock 'n' roll it's rooted in something else. I was raised on a heavy diet of pre-disco soul and R&B, so that will forever inform anything I do. Especially vocally, that's the high water mark right there. DANA's sound is informed by the backgrounds of all its original and current players, interspersing elements of noise, free jazz and improvisation, goth, pop, and doom. So it kind of lands somewhere between the proto-punk of the seventies and the post rock of beyond, but at the risk of sounding pretentious, let's just call it for what is—a rock 'n' roll band.
When your band is out on the road, you are effectively representing Columbus as a city to niche audiences for one night. When you talk with other people in the other scenes, what bands do you bond over most? What other bands—Columbus or national—are you compared to and influenced by the most?
We draw from the same Rust Belt well as our fellow Ohioans—heroes like Brainiac, Rocket from The Tombs, and Pere Ubu—and the comparison is frequent and flattering, out of state and at home. And like any good Ohioan we of course love DEVO and anyone who loves them too.
What’s your favorite Stones song/album/moment/idea/era?
I've been a Rolling Stones fan since early childhood, and lucky for me there's been plenty of material for me to fixate on in different eras of my own life. I know Chris [Lute, DANA's guitarist] absolutely adores Brian Jones-era Stones, especially Satanic Majesties and that's something we bonded over right away. It'd be hard for me personally to pin it down. I've got every early record, with most alternate covers, releases, etc., and I couldn't tell you what my favorite is. I can say without a doubt, the Stones are my favorite band of all time if only for how long I've loved them. I remember sitting in the backseat of my uncle's car as a little kid and "Sympathy for the Devil" coming on the radio and him telling me the Catholic church had banned it, that it was the song playing at Altamont when the trouble broke out (which is not entirely accurate, as tension was building throughout the day), so that particular song has always been of great fascination for me, miming Mick's movements as a second grader.
Each of the bands appearing at Altamont performed under growing tension, and struggled to keep the peace during their sets. Probably the thing that people remember most about Gimme Shelter is when things go south between the Hell’s Angels and the hippies during the Rolling Stones’ set. Some refer to this disastrous moment as the death of the hippie movement. In our own uncertain times, how would you keep the peace on stage during a concert, if you were faced with a situation like the one in Gimme Shelter?
We've got an Altamont poster hanging in our kitchen right now, a grim reminder I've owned since my first apartment. So while I've entertained this scenario before, I can't tell you for sure. I've broken up plenty of bar fights in my time, defused some would-be volatile situations, but who knows how I or any of us would react in that moment? I think what was kind of the death knell for the peace, love, and happiness of the late sixties (outside of the Manson murders etc.) was the grave misunderstanding that the Hell Angels were anything like their hippie counterparts, long hair and freewheeling aside.
Any summer plans to share?
We're still finalizing some things, but we have plans to play with Chicago friends No Men and Not For You at Ace of Cups on July 5, we’re playing 934 Fest on July 22, we'll be joining the lineup for the final Independents' Day fest in September and Chicago's Scummer Slam fest in late August.
(Photo: Chris Croft)