It’s often said punks and hippies don’t get along. Nevertheless, Blag Dahlia, vocalist and founding member of legendary and, in some circles, notorious San Francisco shock-punk legends Dwarves, would like to extend an olive branch to the hippie girls of Eugene.
“Hippie girls are fine by me,” Dahlia tells EW. “But please shower.”
Founded in the mid-1980s, Dwarves became infamous for extreme live shows mixing hardcore and punk music with intentionally controversial incidents of onstage sex and self-mutilation. Dahlia says that, early on, he and his bandmates were more into ’60s garage rock than punk, but it wasn’t long before he noticed a common DIY ethos and primitive aesthetic in the two styles that appealed to him.
“When I was younger I was kind of a music snob,” Dahlia recalls. “I was really influenced by Frank Zappa. After a while, trying to play instruments, I realized that wasn’t really me, I was never going to be that good.”
After hearing The Velvet Underground, Dahlia was introduced to a different approach. “I couldn’t figure it out,” Dahlia says. “To me it’s all part of the same thing. I think that explains the Dwarves’ genre-hopping.”
In addition to punk and garage rock, Dahlia cites everything from Monty Python to Andy Kaufman as influences on his band’s approach to live performance. He says Dwarves always try to keep an edge of danger and the unexpected.
“I remember being fascinated by the bands Fear and The Germs,” he explains. “You just didn’t know what was gonna happen. That was the most interesting part of it for me, and the part where the performance art jumps in.”
Dwarves play with Eugene’s Not A Part of It, Cuntagious, Brother Husbands and Washington’s Potbelly 8 pm Friday, Dec. 2, at Old Nick’s Pub, 211 Washington St.; $13 adv., $15 door. 21-Plus. — William Kennedy