The Dillinger Escape Plan is without a doubt one of the most brutal and uncompromising bands in metal today. Since 1997, Dillinger has honed their math/jazz inflected sound into a tactical assault. Their latest release, 2013’s One of Us Is the Killer, helped cement their reputation as an innovative, challenging and unquestionably intelligent act. Taking time out of Dillinger’s aggressive tour schedule, founding member and lead guitarist Ben Weinman shed light on the state of the band, their latest creative ventures, his involvement in a new super group and the craziest onstage moment ever experienced in the band’s storied history.
Anger undoubtedly remains a prevalent theme in Dillinger’s music. On the latest album, the first two tracks “Prancer” and “When I Lost My Bet” feel like a one-two punch to the sternum. Beneath the rage, Weinman hears growth in vocalist Greg Puciato’s abilities and confidence.
“I just think it’s been apparent over the years that while he’s always great, his confidence level just grows and grows as far as who he is as an individual outside of the band. That I think is the most apparent change on this record,” notes Weinman.
One of Us Is the Killer also bares the distinction of being the second record that Dillinger has released through their independent label Party Smasher Inc. While the band has always had creative control when it comes to their music, the added business freedom has been to Dillinger’s advantage.
“In this day and age with the music business environment the way it is just having the freedom to evolve and adapt to changes is the best possible scenario to be in,” Weinman muses. “I don’t think there’s a new formula that works in this industry. It’s just the idea that we’re in an evolving business now that’s constantly changing. So that’s probably been the biggest benefit of doing things independently.”
Besides helming a number of remixes and collaborating with the likes of Kimbra and Wyclef Jean, Weinman has also been busy working with a new band. Along with Weinman, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra includes Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction) and Jon Theodore (The Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age), an exciting line-up of talent to be sure. With seven songs already demoed and with many other tracks in development, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra’s debut promises to be an event – busy schedules permitting of course.
Along with their upcoming North American tour, Dillinger is set to hit up the European festival circuit this summer. Weinman teased an exclusive new song on 7” that will be available through their VIP packages at the merch table. For a band who gained infamy for violent, nigh uncontrollable shows in their early career, it seems fitting to conclude with Weinman’s tale of the craziest onstage moment experienced by himself and Dillinger at large.
Weinman recalls, “We were playing a festival in Finland with Slipknot and right before we got onstage a local band played and I remember myself and Clown from Slipknot standing on the side of the stage watching this band and out come these two dirty hippies and they proceed to have full sex onstage right on top of the monitors while this band was playing the soundtrack for it… I remember looking at Clown… and both of us being like ‘There is no way we’re gonna top that. There is nothing we can do to top that.’”
In terms of debauchery, fornicating hippies would be hard to beat. In terms of technical precision and artistic vision, Dillinger remains unparalleled.
The Dillinger Escape Plan headlines The Rickshaw Theatre April 18.
By James Olson