Dan Greenwald of The Workers
" Geenwald is the next Jack White"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
I first had the privilege of hearing The Workers in early 2010. From start to finish their second release "Theatre of the Distraught" is an amazing EP, & an extremely psychedelic catalogue of music., But what makes it so amazing is the artistic brilliance & musical presence of Dan Greenwald. Make no bones about it - Greenwald is an amazing, somewhat undiscovered talent, in fact I would say he's the next Shannon Hoon, or Jack White. I've often stated that music is not a dress rehearsal. Praise goes out to the artist that can deliver something truly magical beneath their veil of vanity. The Workers with Dan Greenwald does exactly that. Song for song it’s one of the most amazing 18 minutes of music I’ve ever stumbled across. If your looking for a trip hop musical experience with amazing psychedelic flair, & artistic brilliance that's one of a kind, then I highly recommend you jump feet first into “Theatre of the Distraught” by The Workers. What else can I say – it’s simply incredible!
IMD I was highly impressed with your “Theatre of the Distraught” EP. It also received an IMD CD of the Year Nomination. Congratulations, it’s pretty much amazing music.
DG Thanks. I’m glad it turned out well because it wasn’t anything like my 1st release, which was basically punk-influenced with a number of up-tempo tunes. “Theatre of the Distraught” was largely one mid-tempo tune, followed by 3 ballads. It seemed to me like a “disconnect” from that standpoint. After it was finished, I went through several periods of artistic “crisis” as to whether I liked it or not. I do now.
IMD How would you classify your unique musical style?
DG I would characterize it as “music for short attention spans.” More seriously, I was so amazed-when I formally studied guitar-that I could handle a variety of musical styles that I ended up melding them together when I wrote, consciously or unconsciously, typically in sequence. I like variety-that’s what I aim for when I construct songs.
IMD hat inspired the band name The Workers, & Theatre the Distraught CD title?
DG There’s an interesting story behind the band name. In ’91, when the group was formed at Fordham University, the original incarnation got a gig at the now defunct Village Gate, in Manhattan. We had already selected the band name Game Theory, which the booking agent hated. We had one week to come up with a new name. My ex-wife coined the band name “The Workers” because I’m such a hard worker. It stuck. As to the CD title, I was toying around with potential names and Theatre of the Absurd suddenly came to mind. To be unique, I switched it to Theatre of the Distraught. The name seemed catchy to me-it conjured up a slightly melancholy twist which I think represents one of the core elements of my personality. From that sprang the album art concept, which was a total bitch to actualize. I think I went through 6 cover artists before I could find someone who was technically adept enough to handle it. It took a year alone to design and to manufacture the CD once the sound master was completed.
IMD How’s the music scene in Bronxville these days
DG Good question. I have only recorded in Bronxville, not played there. I live on the edge of Bronxville. Up to now, I haven’t tried to perform in my immediate neighborhood. There’s the saying, “No man is a prophet in his own land.” I think there’s some truth to that adage.
"The unpredictability of performing grabs me the most."
IMD Who are some of your top musical influences?
DG My influences in the past have been 80’s bands like Talking Heads and The Cure. The Beatles have been always been a strong influence for me too. More recently, I’ve drawn off of semi-classical and avant-garde jazz influences. I listen to practically everything.
IMD What do you like most about performing live?
DG The unpredictability of performing grabs me the most. With recording, you always get a chance to do things over. Not so with live play. All sorts of spontaneous factors-like energy level, audience type, degree of prior rehearsal, & sound system mix-creep in which can inspire you to new heights, or pull the rug out from under you. Many times, I’ve dazzled the audience. Yet, you never become complacent. There will always be the performance when things don’t go right. Based on recent feedback, I’ve been focusing on my voice more in rehearsal. It will be interesting to see if that emphasis translates over to my next series of performances. I think you always have to keep a sense of challenge or things tend to go stale.
IMD Who gets to be your all time favorite band or artist? Most inspirational song or piece of music you’ve ever heard.
DG I have so many favorites. I’d have to say my favorite artist is Elton John, not that any of his style is directly reflected in my music. Elton is such a great songwriter. The most inspirational album for me above all is “Love” by The Cult.
IMD What was the best concert you’ve ever been to?
DG I think I saw The Grateful Dead at Madison Square Garden around 1991. The concert was so mesmerizing that when the audience filed out of the arena, everyone was literally speechless. That was also the first and last time I saw anyone smoking crack
IMD I especially enjoyed the song “CATS EYES”. Could you tell us more about that particular piece, what inspired that one?
DG I didn’t write that song. Glenn Owens, my former band mate did. He told me that it was an artistic treatment of suicide. I also recall that he was very pleased that no guitars were used in his arrangement.
IMD How about “AGGRESSION”?
DG That song I did write. It was a visceral reaction to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. That was the first time I was ever exposed to “embedded reporting”, which involved transmitting war footage in real time. I was so profoundly dismayed that I never watched CNN again.
IMD Are you touring in support of?
DG Immediately after the Theatre of the Distraught was recorded, Glenn Owens and I split over artistic differences. He didn’t want to play live, and I did. At that point, I began to perform solo for the first time-which was challenging to say the least. Also, I switched from electric to acoustic guitar to make the solo thing more convincing. At first, I didn’t know if I could make it fly. Over time, I got enough positive reaction to keep the solo act going. I’ve been doing that for about 2 years now, building audience-base in the NY area.
IMD What’s next for Dan Greenwald & The Workers?
DG The Workers are on hiatus at present. As far as the Dan Greenwald solo thing, I’ve hammered out a 12-song acoustic set which I’ve rehearsed to death. It has to be chronicled. This summer, I’ll be recording the acoustic set live at The Loft in Bronxville-the same studio where I completed Theatre of the Distraught. I’ve never recorded live before, so I’m particularly excited about that. Also, I’m going to have the recording videoed in black and white, which I’ve never done before either. If all goes well, the music will ultimately be released on the internet. These recording projects always drag behind schedule for me. I guess I’m a perfectionist in that respect.
interview conducted by Cyrus Rhodes. Property of Indie Music Media LLC.
Copyright © 2010
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