Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Auckland Four... The Complete D4 Story and Show # 200

The early 2000's garage rock revival spawned the likes of The Hives, The Vines, and The Strokes but The D4 were quickly dismissed as another garage rock band. The truth is the band contained elements of garage rock, but also 70's punk, soul, and classic rock; they also come from Auckland, New Zealand. Forming at a party in 1998, guitarists and lead vocalists Jimmy Christmas and Dion Palmer formed the group with other members Rich Mixture (drums), and English Jake on bass; Dion was previously in a band called Nothing At All. Drummer Rich Mixture would leave shortly after the bands first album to pursue a taxidermy career (then joining the band The Rock N' Roll machine) and English Jake left. The band would get Vaughan Williams on bass and Daniel Pooley on drums; They would just be known as Vaughan and Beaver.

In a Rolling Stone magazine interview Dion admitted the band got their name from a brothel that advertised in Auckland. "D1 was a massage, D2 was a hand job, D3 was fellatio and D4 was going all the way." In the same interview the band described their sound as this "some people call us garage rock, but we sound more like meat, glass and tires in a blender." The band started out playing around New Zealand building up a fan base and reputation for their live shows. Their shows were high quality and intensely fueled rock and roll. In 1999, The band released The D4 EP. Containing four tracks, the EP would also contain one of the bands best tracks "Come On!". The EP was a quick hard rocking, energetic EP leaving you wanting to hear more. "Girl", "Come On!", "Outta Blues" and "What U Want" were the tracks and it was released on the New Zealand label Flying Nun. In 2000, the band went on their first overseas tour to Australia and Japan; The tours were self funded.

The band then began work on their debut album 6Twenty. The album would be named after an old fashioned type of JansZen guitar amplifier. Recorded in New Zealand at Frisbee Studios, the album was engineered by Andrew Buckton, Co-Produced by Bob Frisbee, and The D4. It was released in October of 2001 in New Zealand. The rest of the world would see the album in 2002/2003 in the US (on Hollywood Records), in the UK on Infectious Records, and on Sony Music in Japan. 6Twenty starts off with the song "Rock and Roll Motherfucker" and it blares all the way to the end with the volume up all the way. Other great tracks include the punk influenced "Get Loose", the drum manic "Party", the flowing "Exit to the City", the crunchy "Ladies Man", and the descending "Little Baby".

The album also featured three cover songs, "Pirate Love" originally by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, "Mysterex" originally by New Zealand punkers The Scavengers, and "Invader Ace" originally by Guitar Wolf; The band did them justice. Containing 12 tracks the album was a declaration of rock with the spirit of punk, sounding like an explosion; The US release contained 14 tracks, while the Japanese 2003 release contained 17 tracks.

The band spent about two years touring to support 6Twenty. They even played on late night talk shows David Letterman, Last Call with Carson Daily, and the Jimmy Kimmel Show. They also played a variety of festivals such as Reading, Leeds, Pukklepop, Big Day Out, and the South By Southwest Festival. The band would begin working on songs for their second full length album in 2004. Initially Jimmy Christmas and Dion Palmer went to Thailand and to different locations in New Zealand to work on songs. They came up with about 40 songs, but most of them weren't used. They weren't happy with the material. The band was dealing with producers and record companies as well so they had their work cut out for themselves. They decided in February of 2004 to go to England to work on their next album and get away from all the distractions at home. The band moved in together, sharing a flat and worked on songs.

A large majority of Out of My Head was recorded at two studios in London. They also used two studios in Auckland and Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne, Australia. The band also had a variety of producers The Dirty Geezers, Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails), and The D4 themselves produced one track on the album, "Stops Me Cold". The different locations and producers came at the recommendation of their manager Alan McGee (responsible for finding Oasis, and The Hives). The band was asked to play at Little Steven's Underground Garage Festival in August of 2004.

In 2005, Out of My Head was released. The album came off sounding a little different than 6Twenty. All of the songs on the album were recorded in live takes to give the band and the album more of a live feel. The band expanded their song writing and lyrical abilities on Out of My Head. The album opens with the fast and twisting "Sake Bomb" before being thrown into the next song "Feel It Like It", which is a song featuring a lot of bass work and short stabbing guitar parts. Other great tracks include the D4 anthem "What I Want", the punk induced "Trust Nobody", the Maraca shaking "Omerta", the slow stalker anthem "Stops Me Cold", and the fast and creepy "Peepshow". The album came out as a limited edition which included three bonus tracks. These songs were a Japanese sung version of "Sake Bomb", "Rock N' Rule", and the dirty Stooges flavoured "Diamond, Ruby, Stone".

Like the first album, the band included cover songs on Out of My Head. The band covered Australia's Lime Spiders on "Out of Control", and the Fun Things with "Savage". After touring for a little bit, The D4 announced that they were going on an indefinite hiatus in June of 2006. They played their last show on June 9th of 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand. The band released this statement about the split :

"They are leaving the book open, but have no foreseeable plans for The D4 in the future and would all like to try other things, musically and otherwise. The band would like everybody who has worked with them and their fans to know that they have had the time of their lives being in this group and done so many amazing things, but at this point in time need to explore other avenues. Thank you all for being part of such an incredible trip."

Even though the band did not break it that big in terms of mainstream status, The D4 has toured with the likes of Oasis, Foo Fighters, and The Hives. Currently Jimmy Christmas has formed a new group called Luger Boa, Vaughan plays bass with The Shocking Pinks, Beaver moved to the UK and currently drums for the Valedictions, and Dion currently plays with his new band The True Lovers. What ever you want to call the band, The D4 were a great, honest, in your face rock band. They were straight to the point, played for the love of music, and rocked out like any band should with high energy and passion. I urge you all to check them out and the various musical projects that they are currently involved with.

D4 Play List:

1. Come On! (6Twenty 2001)
2. Sake Bomb (Out of My Head 2005)
3. Girl (The D4 EP 1999)
4. Party (6Twenty 2001)
5. Ladies Man (6Twenty 2001)
6. Invader Ace (6Twenty 2001)
7. What U Want (The D4 EP 1999)
8. Out of My Head (Out of My Head 2005)
9. Trust Nobody (Out of My Head 2005)
10. Out of Control (Out of My Head 2005)
11. Pirate Love (6Twenty 2001)
12. Running On Empty (6Twenty 2001)
13. Little Baby (6Twenty 2001)
14. Stops Me Cold (Out of My Head 2005)
15. Feel It Like It (Out of My Head 2005)
16. What I Want (Out of My Head 2005)
17. Omerta (Out of My Head 2005)
18. Exit To The City (6Twenty 2001)
19. Rock and Roll Motherfucker (6Twenty 2001)
20. Mysterex (6Twenty 2001)
21. Get Loose (6Twenty 2001)
22. North Shore Bitch (6Twenty B-side 2003)
23. Joe Orton's Wedding (6Twenty B-side 2003)
24. Peepshow (Out of My Head 2005)
25. Savage (Out of My Head 2005)
26. Diamond, Ruby, Stone (What I Want B-side 2005)
27. Evil Heart (Final Song released by The D4 2006)

I have tried to assemble the most complete history of the band since most of the info on them is scarce. Their home webpage is no longer active. I have also included some relevant links with good information on the band.

The D4 link round up:

Amplifier D4 Timeline
Rolling Stone Magazine Article
Sake Bombers : NZ Magazine Article
Launch Interview
My Previous Post on The D4 (not as complete as this post)

D4 Videos:

Get Loose
Exit To The City
Sake Bomb
What I Want
Feel It Like It
Out of Control
Invader Ace (Live Yahoo Exclusive)
Yahoo Exclusive Interview

Other D4 related links:

The D4 Myspace
Luger Boa Myspace
The True Lovers Myspace
The Shocking Pinks Myspace
Valedictions Myspace
D4 Party Fan Site (No Longer Updated)


poundito said...

thanks for this wonderful work - more complete than anything else around

Dave said...

Thanks, It took a while to find all the info. Luger Boa - Jimmy's new band is really good too

Anonymous said...

I want not acquiesce in on it. I think nice post. Specially the designation attracted me to be familiar with the unscathed story.