March 3, 2022

Todd Smith - Dog Fashion Disco, El Creepo, Polkadot Cadaver


This week Brian is joined by Todd Smith. Todd Smith is an American vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist who most notably fronts the band Dog Fashion Disco. He is currently involved with the bands Polkadot Cadaver, Knives Out!, Beyond Paranoid, and his solo project El-Creepo!. Combining many different music styles (1960s psychedelic, jazz, piano recital, heavy metal, circus music and vocals, among others) Dog Fashion Disco is primarily considered an avant-garde metal and alternative metal band. The band's lyrical content is often highly esoteric and satirical, with constant tongue-in-cheek references to the occult, drug use, and mutilation. Their sound has often been compared to the Northern California genre-defying act, Mr. Bungle. The band members themselves have cited their collective influences as being Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, Faith No More), Clutch, Tool, System of a Down and Frank Zappa. Dog Fashion Disco are due to release their eagerly anticipated album "Cult Classic" in March 2022. This is the first Dog Fashion Disco album in 6 years. Tune in to hear all about the new album, re-recording classic songs, their record label Razor to Wrist Records. The history of the band and much much more. Find out Dog Fashion Disco here: https://www.razortowrist.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/RazorToWristRecords https://www.tiktok.com/discover/dog-fashion-disco https://www.instagram.com/dogfashiondiscoofficial/ https://www.facebook.com/DFDBand/ Find CTMU here:  https://linktr.ee/Concertsthatmadeus  If you would like to support the show you can do so by rating/reviewing us on Itunes and Spotify or by signing up at https://www.patreon.com/Concertsthatmadeus and you will gain access to a range of benefits including video versions of the episodes. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/ctmu/message

Transcript

Brian
Hey, welcome to another episode of Concerts That Made Us. I'm your host, Brian, and before we get into this week's episode, I have a quick favorite ask. So over the last three, maybe four weeks, the podcast has been getting hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of downloads from the city of Dallas. And to the best of my knowledge, the podcast has no links to Dallas. I don't think I've ever interviewed a guest from Dallas. So if you're listening in Dallas right now, get in touch. Tell me how you found a podcast, and if you're enjoying it so far, maybe what your favorite episode is. Now, the answer to last week's music trivia question was, of course, ZZ Top. After the breakup of British rock band The Zombies, who scored hits like Time of the Season, a promotion company in America hired some kids from Texas to go on tour as the band, claiming they were still together. Eventually, the actual Zombies served the fake Zombies with cease and assist order. But the fake Zombies stayed together and became ZZ Top and we've got another five star review. Five stars. Love music is life. I can relate to this podcast and topic. So much brain's, voice and accent is so soothing. So glad I found you. Keep up the great job. This review was left by Shelley on itunes. And don't forget, if you leave a five star review, it will be read out on the shore. Now, this week's Music trivia question is which legendary 90s frontman used to clean a dentist's office by day and play with his band at night. He also used to steal nitrous oxide from the dentist office to fund the band. Now, my guest this week is Todd Smith, known for such bands as Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver, Knives Out, and El Creepo, just to name a few. This episode has been a long time coming and I'm so glad that you're finally getting to hear it. So before we get Talk to Todd, we're going to take a listen to Dog Fashion Disco's latest single, The Grand Experiment. So without further Ado, let's get on with the show.

Brian:
Todd you're very welcome to concerts that made us. 

Todd:
Hey, buddy. How's it going? 

Brian:
I'm pretty good. And yourself? 

Todd:
Not too shabby. 

Brian:
Good. Looks very sunny and picturesque behind you there. 

Todd:
Yeah, I'm on my back porch. I dunno how much longer It's going to be sunny, but there's lights out here, so we're all good? Yeah, man. It's actually a little chilly for Florida today, but I don't even want to say the temperature because then people are going to be like snow. 

Brian:
Yeah. I'd say it's roughly around two or three degrees now where I am, so it's pretty chilly. 

Todd:
Yeah, man. 

Brian:
So you guys have a new album coming out on the 22 March. Do you want to tell us a bit about us? 

Todd:
The Dog Fashion Disco new album, Cult Classic will be our I think the last time we released an album was about six or seven years ago. So this will be the first DFD album on our label, which is kind of cool. So yeah, we're looking forward to everybody checking it out and getting some feedback from the fans and whatnot. But so far the first single that we dropped, Grand Experiments, has had a good reaction to it. So it's about 90,000 views on YouTube and I mean, the comments are pretty glowing except for a couple people, but usually the course. Yeah, there's always one or two. Yeah, exactly. Why now? Why was the timing right now after six or seven years? Well, it probably would have been sooner if not for the pandemic, so that kind of put everybody in a limbo state for two and a half or whatever years. So I don't know. We've worked on other projects. We had a side project called Beyond Paranoid come out three or four months ago. We usually cycle through the bands. We have way too many bands, so we cycle through and it was Dfd's turn to get a new album. So here we are. 

Brian:
That's a pretty unique way of doing things, as you said, cycling through bands. How do you keep on top of it all? 

Todd:
It's pretty easy when I say cycle through in all honesty, like Elcripo, which started out as a side project for me, but I invited a couple of the guys in to write and perform on the albums. We haven't released an album with Elcripo for probably seven years or something like that. I want to say Polkadot Kadaver has probably been three or four years since we've released an album, so it was definitely time for DFD. I know that we are planning on putting out another Polka Docket average album in 2023. We do have other projects that are never say never, but I don't know if we'll ever do like another Knives Out album or something like that. I don't know. The older I get, the more I like, kind of shy away from the super heavy stuff. Right. Kind of tired of screaming and thing that I always loved about Dog Fetch disco and even Elcripo and Polkadock whatever is that pretty much anything goes in those bands. They each have their own aesthetic, but we can do anything from Johnny Cash country type songs to heavy metal quirky stuff in all three of those projects. So those are probably the ones that we're going to be cycling through over the next several years. I would imagine. 

Brian:
Yeah. And would I be right in saying, you're going down the Taylor Swift kind of route of recording some of your old tracks to get the rights back?

Todd:
You mean Taylor Swift went to Dog Fashion disco route? Is that what you mean? 

Brian:
Yes, that's exactly what I meant. 

Todd:
Yeah. We did some rerecords to get the rights back for a couple of the early Dog fashion disco albums and the first polka dot albums. It was basically a way that obviously the songs and those albums are like our children. So we wanted to get custody of the kids. We worked hard to bring the little whipper snappers up, so we want them to be officially ours. I don't know if Re Records will continue. Vinyl is big now, so that was a lot of the reason why we wanted to do rerecords. We kind of wanted to have our stuff available on vinyl and just have kind of control over it for whatever reason. I know that maybe the fans and some members of the bands are a little burnt out on the Re records, but it was only done just like I said, get custody of the kids and be able to put out vinyls and do stuff like that. Yeah, I get why she did it, and that's pretty much why we did it. 

Brian:
I could actually see a lot more artists doing it in the future. I think there's going to be an influx of people doing it, I think. 

Todd:
Yeah. We offered our previous labels. We offered them money to just own the Masters. And for Dog Fashion Disco in particular, Anarchist with good taste and committed to a bright future. The label Spitfire that those were on is now defunct, and we kind of put out the feelers for, like, who do we talk to to buy the Masters and really got nowhere. So there was no other choice, really, to do anything but Rerecord. I know that nostalgia is a big thing with our fans, but I think that the newer Rerecord sound light years better, in my humble opinion. They sound modern, they sound punchy, they sound well produced, especially Anarchist. But I'm sure most of our fans would disagree because I grew up listening to one version that sounds a certain way, even if it's, like, not Sonically, the most amazing thing. Like, it's kind of like you grow to love it. 

Brian:
Yeah. 

Todd:
It has a special place in your heart, I suppose. 

Brian:
Exactly. Yeah. And was that part of the reason you start your own record label then? 

Todd:
Yeah. We just figured, to be quite honest, we can probably do the same for ourselves as most smaller labels could do for us, maybe a little less. But it was kind of like, why split money and go through the battles with a record label if we could just do it on our own? Yeah, we're pretty much a DIY, totally operation. So, I mean, for the most part. I book the shows. Jason takes care of a lot of the business odds and ends. We recorded at a place in Baltimore that we've recorded there since 2005, put out our own albums, and basically do whatever we want. You know, I mean, I can tell you nightmare stories after nightmare stories of dealing with the label and their ridiculous demands. It's not worth it. Now we had a major hunting us down, and they were going to pour a bunch of money into promotion. That would be that would be a different story, but that ain't going to happen. 

Brian:
Yeah, I could imagine that. It's a bit of a nightmare to be battling with the suit, so to speak, when you have a creative vision and you have some guy in a suit telling you, no, it should be like this or no, do this. 

Todd:
Yeah. We never had really anybody telling us stylistically what kind of music to write, but it was always like just a battle of how it's going to be marketed or being able to release several singles before the album comes out. I remember it being a nightmare dealing with them, but I think I shut it out of my memory because I just don't want to hold on to that BS. But there's a big power struggle because there's people like you say the suits, they love to hear themselves talk, and it's my way or the highway. We're kind of like too old to deal with that crap. We're not like 100% full time musicians and bands. We all have our side hustles. And now that covid, I think, is hopefully chilling out. We're going to do probably 30 shows over the course of this year, so kind of easing back into it. But, yeah, we do enough where we don't get tired of it and we do enough where it scratches the itch of being a creative musician. So it's the best of both worlds. 

Brian:
Yeah. You found a happy medium, so to speak. 

Todd:
Totally. Yeah. 

Brian:
So we might get into your own history for a bit. 

Todd:
Okay. 

Brian:
If you can. Can you remember your very first musical memory? 

Todd:
Very first musical memory was probably discovering my mom's vinyl collection where she had some gems in there. It was probably a Kiss album. And I have a picture of her of my mom, and I dressed as Kiss for Halloween. I was probably five, so she was a good sport and she had pretty good musical taste. So I would run through the vinyls and then I remember distinctly there was a Michael Jackson phase, and then I would have I came up with my own dance routine to thrill albums. So, yeah. Started young and then in my early teens, got a guitar, started listening. My first concert was Motley Crue with White Snake in 1988. I want to say, oh, man. And that was the first time I ever smelled weed. I was like, what is that smell? What is that burning skunky smell? And the kid I was with the son of this lady that my father was dating at the time and he took me and he's like, oh that's weed. And I'm like Weed? What's weed? That whole thing. Anyway. But that was my first concert experience ever and I was a huge Crew fan for them and then I kind of graduated onto the Metallica and the Slayers and the Megadeth and a little bit heavier. So yeah, I was getting a guitar at twelve and just kind of trying to learn songs from ear or tablet or books or whatever. 

Brian:
Yeah. Jeez, I'm always amazed or totally jealous when someone tells me their first concert was one of these legendary bands like Motley Crue. That's a major introduction to concerts. 

Todd:
Yeah man, it was wild. It was a place in Largo, Maryland called the Capital Center. It was where the Washington Capitals used it's, a hockey rank hockey arena. And that was the first time that I'd ever experienced something on that grand of a scale as far as like a live show. And my jaw was on the floor the whole time. It was amazing. I had been listening to the crew since. I would say that was the Girls Girls Girls tour and I'd been listening to them since I was probably, I don't know, maybe 83, 84. So by the time the concert came around I was just like over the moon. I was freaking out. It was amazing that's when they were really on all cylinders too. 

Brian:
So I have to ask, did you see their movie or the current TV show Pam and Tommy? 

Todd:
I haven't seen the Pam and Tommy thing and I saw the movie The Dirt and I just thought it was just dumb. I don't know what they could have done to make it. I would rather just see like a Crew documentary which I've seen 100 of them but I don't know, it just seemed fake. It didn't resonate with me, man. And I loved the book The Dirt. I actually reread that like two months ago and it definitely doesn't age well in this. Me too. And I look back on these guys that all the drugs and all the debauchery and all the destroying hotel rooms and everything that they did and I look back on it now and I'm like, that shit is really stupid. But when you're a young kid you're like they're the coolest people on the planet but you look back on it, it just doesn't age well. I will always love the crew but yeah, I was not a fan of that Dirt movie. Love the book. 

Brian:
Yeah, I think it's kind of they're a prime example of when someone who shouldn't get a lot of money, does. they just went wild and just did whatever the hell they wanted. 

Todd:
Yeah, totally. I mean those dudes have been for all intents and purposes rich rock stars for almost as long as I've been alive. And it's absolutely astonishing that they're still around. Even Mick Mars with his Ailment where he's hunched over. And I've seen some stuff on YouTube from their farewell tour in 2015. And Mick is just a badass. He's such a great guitar player and he's so underrated. And, I mean, the only guy who is really struggling, in my opinion, is Vince these days. But hopefully he gets his act together for their Stadium tour. 

Brian:
Yeah, exactly. I seen a video that came out lately of him singing. he can't hold a note or can't get the breeding right or anything. 

Todd:
Yeah, he's singing, like, every three words of a line in a verse. It's a weird thing. He's been doing that for decades, but now it's even worse because he's out of shape and kind of laboring and breathing and playing the state here with a giant pot belly. It's not the crew that I remember. 

Brian:
No, not at all. Jeez. So your next step then you said you got a guitar. Did you to try to learn or were you surrounded by friends in school who were in same kind of scene that wanted to be in a band. 

Todd:
Totally. There was, like a core group of, like, the magician, the musician kids that we kind of all. There were some guitar players that were like virtuosos when I was in 9th grade, and I would just watch these guys and be like, Jeez, how the hell do you do that? And I was more of a rhythm guy, you know, excuse me, I would skip school, get this tablet or books in the mail, and just sit there and learn, like, all of Kilaul, all the Rifts. And I met Dfd's drummer John at the bus stop at the top of my street. And we started talking about music. And he said he played drums. And I said, I play guitar. And so I had a tiny little bedroom, and he brought this gigantic red drum set and set up in my bedroom so there was enough room for my half stack guitar amp his drums in my bed. So basically, if you wanted to move around the room, you would have to climb over the bed to get out the door. But before my parents got home from work, we would just sit in there and rock out and play covers and just jam and stuff like that. And then we met our guitar player, the original guitar player, Greg and DFD in high school as well. And we just kind of put a band together. 

Brian:
Yeah. What was the next step then? Was it? Did you wait until after school? 

Todd:
After high school was finished, we all graduated and then still kept at it. We were playing local shows. We finalized the line up with Steve Mirrors playing base. I don't even remember where we met him. But anyway, so it was about two years after high school in 95 when we kind of had, I don't think we had the name Dog Fashion Disco yet. I don't think that was until maybe 96, but it was the core original members. And yeah, we would just play and write songs and we borrowed, I think, $2,000 from drummer John's parents to make Erotic Massage the first album and that came out 97. And then we got hooked up with our old manager Derek, and he signed us to his super rinky dink label and then got us a deal with Spiffhire Records. And then that was when we kind of moved into the Anarchist phase and Committed. 

Brian:
Yeah. I was just going to ask that must have been the point in your career then when you release it feel like you're making that things were starting to change. Was it? 

Todd:
Yeah. I mean, Spitfire originally when we did a showcase up in New York City for the President of Spitfire Records, and he was a super cool guy and we had everything go wrong that show, but we kept a cool head. And he goes, the thing that I like about you guys, I think your music is good, but that you were professional when shit was going haywire on stage, you know, and we were like, yeah, I mean, you know, we were just trying to keep our shit together. So we didn't look. So he ended up signing us and it initially was going. I mean, I remember we have like a $10,000 wardrobe budget and we had tour support and we had a fair amount of promotion. They flew us over to England and we played, I think we did a dozen shows, so that was really cool. And the President ended up leaving after the Anarchist album and the new suit that they got in there could give two shits about us. So that's kind of just it out. 

Brian:
Yeah. It's crazy how it can go like that, though, just because one person changes. 

Todd:
Yeah. If you don't have the head honcho, if you don't have your back, then you're pretty much shit out of luck. Unfortunately, he left. I think if we would have had another significant push on Committed, it really would have gone to another level that we've really never gone to before. I mean, we've always been pretty much a dive bar underground band. A lot of people will say, I don't understand how you guys aren't bigger. And I'm like, yeah, I don't get it either. But if you need to have a certain amount of luck and you need to have a team behind you to really propel you into a bigger status. Like, if System of a down would have had our label and our manager and our booking agent, they never would have been System of just you need behind you. We never had the killer team, but it is what it is. We definitely have fans that are dedicated and we have a hell of a lot of fun making albums and playing shows. So all of our peers that were in bands growing up, they don't even play music anymore. So it's like, for whatever reason, stupidity or stubbornness, we've stood the test of time. And it's a very rewarding part of my life. So I'm thankful for everything we have. 

Brian:
Yeah. I have to ask what out of crowds and fans like poor in England compared to the States, 

Todd:
People are a lot friendlier over there. There's a bar in London called the Barfly, and we played there probably seven or eight years ago, something like that. Anyway, maybe nine years ago. And we sold it out three nights in a row. And there were literally people from the Middle East, Russia, all over Europe. It was insane. It was like the united nations of concert goers they were like I'm from Iraq, and I'm like, how have you heard of our band in Iraq and people from Russia, all over Europe and whatnot Australia not to say that the fans in America are rude or anything, but people over there are just, I don't know, they're just so super friendly and very gracious and they're very pleasant to be around. I would say that Americans maybe a little more rough around the edges, which is fine. I'm a bit rough around the edges. It's all good. But yeah, we did a tour with Psycho Stick over there that was good, too. We played some really good shows and yeah, it's always fun going over the pond. 

Brian:
Yes, I'm a bit surprised about that now because over this side, at least we'd have the opinion that everyone in America is super over friendly almost. And in England and here we can be a little Ruder. So it's funny that it's reversed for you guys. 

Todd:
Yes. I don't know if it's just maybe if we were a British band, we would feel the same way about our homeland. For the most part. Everyone we play for and come in contact with that are fans are just wonderful people. But I don't know, it just struck me that people over in England and all throughout the UK were just super friendly and kind of shy and a little more reserved. Where you'd have to ask you introduce, hey, good to meet you, Bob. And then Bob would just kind of stare and I'm like, So what's going on, Bob? We're over here. People are like just motor mouths and I guess a little more comfortable, but who knows? 

Brian
Yeah. So how do you approach being a musician and being in a band nowadays compared to when you first started? 

Todd:
Well, we definitely know how to turn a profit now, which back then we were clueless about. Not to say that we're living high on the hog or anything, but we've been able to turn a profit where we can each make some money along with the side hustle and then keep our record label chugging along. So it's definitely not cheap to make an album or put on a pre order or duplicate finals or any of that stuff. So we've just learned what to do and what not to do. A big thing is back in the day, we didn't have a really good handle on merchandise like T shirts and stuff like that. We probably had two T shirts, but if you see us play now, like our merch guy, Tony, God bless his heart, he literally has to set up like two or three tables. And then behind him are probably 24 shirts. Everything on the merch table is five. Let's see, it's about 25 years of stuff that albums. And we have everything from flasks to belt buckles to shirts to sweatshirts to CDs, vinyls. I mean, everything under the sun, hot sauces. So our merch game is pretty strong. And also we've learned how to really get in and out of the studio with what I think is a solid product, a solid album in just enough time when back in the day we would record an album for three months, four months in the budgets back then. I remember Spitfire ponying up to the guy who recorded our album Anarchist of Good Taste. I think Spitfire ponyed up almost $30,000 for that album. That's 2000 money. So who knows what is that? Maybe 50 grand. Now, we've been working at Right Way Studios since 2005, and we have the luxury of a couple of the guys. Jason and Tim can record stuff at home on their computer. I get my Ducks in a row, so I'm in there and out of there singing a full album's worth of vocals in three days. So it's just really streamlined, organized, and we get in there and we get out of there. Usually the longest process is mixing the album because there are five people that are painstakingly critiquing every little thing. So all those notes get sent back to the engineer Steve, and he's got to try to please everybody. It's normal stuff. When you're young and starting out, all you care about is like drinking beer and getting laid and playing music. Now it's a bit of a business, and it has been that way for ten years. Once we started the label and kind of took all power into our hands, we just learn from our mistakes and you make the right moves, you know? 

Brian:
Yeah, that's the side where I suppose people don't get exposed to much, not the fans anyway. It's all the sex, drugs, rock and roll lifestyle, but no one really thinks about the business and the hard work and the boring stuff behind the scenes. 

Todd:
Yeah, man. And it's been a labor of love, but we've sacrificed so much time to even achieve to this level, especially once DFD went on hiatus in 2007, Jason and I started bulkadoc Cadaver, and we went pretty full steam ahead. I mean, we had some tours where we were gone for upwards of two months at a clip. And I remember one time we were I think we were touring with this folk metal band, Corpa Clani. I don't know if you've ever heard of them. No. And we started the tour, went from East Coast to West Coast Canada in January. So the day before we were supposed to start that tour, I don't remember where we crossed over the border, I guess maybe New York State or something. And we always sleep in the van because if you spend a little over $100 every night getting a hotel room by the end of the tour and you spent a ton of money on hotels when it could have gone, here's your cut. Here's your cut. At the end of the tour, we ended up sleeping in January in upstate New York and woke up in the morning. It was so cold that we had to scrape off the inside of the windows to see out. So it's just stuff like that. I mean, talk about paying your dues. I don't think there's any other band who's paid their dues. Like, us. Dudes have Jeez, I can tell you road stories where it was like feast or famine. I mean, just like, you have $5 to spend a day. 

Brian:
Oh, man. 

Todd:
You go for two and a half weeks without showering, sleeping in the van, one guy's in the front seat, like, with it back a little bit reclined and. Yeah, it's an adventure. Yeah. 

Brian:
Jesus, you must have got some shock to wake up and ice inside the van. Are you sure? Like that didn't put you off not getting a hotel in the future? 

Todd:
Yeah. I mean, we just deal with it. I don't even remember if we got any rooms on that tour, but we thankfully know enough people around the States and also Canada where we can kind of, like, hit the couch or the spare bedroom at their house and take a shower. So nowadays and actually, nowadays, every three or four days, we'll get a motel room if we don't have a fan's house to stay at or something. Yeah. Now we're living large lifestyle of luxury. Oh, buddy, you have no idea. 

Brian:
So what would you say over the years has been your best concert experience? 

Todd:
Wow. Well, we did a mini tour with System of a down, and that was the most people I've ever played in front of. I remember the first night, I think it was a place called the Boathouse. And I believe, if I'm not mistaken, it was in Virginia, and there were thousands of people in front of us. It was a sea of heads. And we were all, like, kind of shitting our pants to go on stage and in front of a System of a Downs crowd and do our thing. And it was going great until our guitar player, Greg at the time, we were playing so loud that I don't know if he didn't push in the cable going to his speaker cabinet all the way. But anyway, it giggled and vibrated and came out and his guitar went out. And we were doing great. People were into it. It was a good response, so that killed all the momentum while he was dicking around, figure out why it's not making sound anymore. But we ended up doing four or five more shows, and it was great, man. If we could have done, like, a legitimate proper tour with system of a down where we did maybe 30 or 40 dates, that would have been a huge game changer for us. But it was cool. That was a great experience. The first tour, that legit tour that we ever did was with a band called Nothing Face. And that was the first time we really got out in front of larger crowds. Those were great shows. Yeah. I mean, we did a tour with Mindless Self Indulgence. Those were huge shows that we had a lot of fun. Insanity personified. We definitely had some great touring times. I don't know if one sticks out more so than the other, but the tours that I just mentioned, those were highlights, definitely. Yeah. We played the after party at Garbekue and Jello biofra from the Dead Kennedys was at our show. Oh, man. And I said, hey, man, we play a holiday in Cambodia, like, pretty much every night. And I said, Is there any way you want to sing it with us tonight? And he was like, no, no, I think I'm just going to watch the show. And like, literally 20 minutes before we went on stage, I go, Any second thoughts? Is there any way you want? And he goes, yeah, I'll do it. Yeah, I'll do it. So there's a video on YouTube. It's polkadocod average. Would you all be offered doing holidays? That was a highlight. That was pretty damn cool. 

Brian:
Jesus. When things like that start to happen to us, it's a real pinch me moment. 

Todd:
Totally. Yeah. While it's happening, you're like, this is fucking cool, man. Yeah.

Brian:
Nowadays, do you prefer the large audiences or do you prefer to stick to smaller crowds? 

Todd:
Well, I mean, we're an underground band, so we play in the grand scheme of the music business, smaller crowds. I prefer to have like a two or 300 cap bar or dive bar club, whatever you want to call it. I would rather have that packed or half packed. Then a lot of bands will be like, oh, man, we're playing the enormous Dome, and they draw like 75 people and it's like 80% empty. But they're like, this place is so cool, man. We got like a deli tray and the sound is amazing. I would rather play the small punk rock club and have it packed right out, even if the PA will only handle one microphone and the kick drum being Micked, I just like that small, intimate energy within a small, little 200 cap club. Then anything bigger than that. I mean, obviously if we're doing a support tour with a bigger band and it's back then bigger clubs are great, but, yeah, I just like that we got kind of like a punk rock ethos to us. We're just small, dingy, packed little plates, a lot of energy, spit flying beer, like stale beer. And that's just kind of where we feel comfortable. 

Brian:
That's a sentence I didn't think I'd ever hear. 

Todd:
Yeah, it's the truth, man. Yeah, but I see what you mean, though. You know what? It's easier to connect with people or people in the smaller crowds and, you know, that exchange of energy, and it's all about audience engagement as well. 

Brian:
It's hard to see the faces of people in a sea of faces, you know? 

Todd:
Yeah. And I think our music and just what we do works better in a small environment where it's more of an intimate exchange of energy going in a circle, me putting the mic out and letting people sing parts and just that small kind of. I don't know if you've ever seen, like, punk shows on YouTube from CBGB, that kind of vibe. It's just energy, people moving, people, feeling the music. And then I played bigger shows. Like, we played with Disturbed of all bands for a couple, and we played a place called the 930 Club in Washington, DC, and it was sold out. There were 2000 people in front of us, and it was fun and everything, but it's just like, it's a good opportunity maybe to gain some new fans, but I would much rather play with whatever band in a tiny little club. And just that's where we feel comfortable. That's where I feel comfortable. That's kind of the vibe that we dig. 

Brian:
Yeah. I have to ask you've probably been asked before, but there's probably nobody to actually sound like you guys. It's so different. And I suppose you could describe it as weird aswell, it's very unique. How did you come up with it? Was it something that just happened naturally, or was it a conscious decision? 

Todd:
Well, back in the day, there were, like three bands that we were way into, or maybe four. It was Faith No More. It was Mr. Bungle, it was Clutch, and it was the Mighty, Mighty Boss Tones. And if you put those four bands together, it kind of makes sense that DFD sounds the way it does. I think we still get a lot of Bungle comparisons because there aren't too many bands who are kind of like Avantgarde weird stuff with horns, and people love to go, well, this sounds like this. Well, they must be ripping them off. And it's like. I mean, we've been doing this for 25 years and probably back in 20 years ago. Yeah. What musician doesn't rip off their idols? True. That's just kind of par for the course. But when we were incorporating horns, that was Mighty, Mighty Boston. We had a Scott element. We had a heavier, angry element that was old, clutch. Seeping, in then. We had a lot of dynamics and twists and turns. That was Faith No More and Bungle. That was kind of like those were the staples of our musical direction that we kind of ended up going in. 

Brian:
Yeah, I can see it now when it's like an amalgamation of those guys. But still, you may have taken your influences, but it is still very unique. 

Todd:
Well, I appreciate you saying that. I feel it is as well, especially in the past ten years. I think we've carved out a nice little musical niche that is pretty much our own. I mean, I feel proud of what we've accomplished and what we've grown into as musicians. I would put our tunes and our albums up to any one of our contemporaries that are on a huge global status. I mean, like I said, we never had the team, but we definitely got the tunes. 

Brian:
Yeah, exactly, exactly. So we spoke about your best concert experiences. What is there a worst concert or worst concert experience you've had? 

Todd:
Let's see, we did a tour with. Well, I mean, some of the worst concert experiences we've had were the ones where there was no one there. I remember the first time we played Austin, Texas. This is probably 2002, maybe 2003. And literally it was the sound guy, the bartender, and one dude in front of us. Oh, man, the place probably fit 800 people. And the guy's like, hey, man, there's one guy here to see you. I don't know how long you guys were planning on playing, but we could just pay you and all go home early. We were like, what about our dude? What about our guy who's here? So we ended up playing, like, I don't know, eight or nine songs for that guy. And then we were like, all right, this is ridiculous, but those are always a bummer. That doesn't happen anymore. Even in our weakest markets, we can put a decent amount of people in a club. But we did a tour with Twisted the Juggling Band and started in Mesa, Arizona, and ended in Mesa, Arizona. They were throwing anything they could find at us beer bottles. I remember seeing people in the front row lighting quarters with a lighter. They get, like, hot and then throwing them at us. That was a pretty rough experience, unfortunately. We drove from Maryland, excuse me, all the way to Arizona, played that show, and then that was it, and drilled all the way home. Let's see. I remember we were on that Corporal Connie tour with Polka Dot and this guy, folk metal, which is really not my cup of tea, but we were covering Billy Gene from Michael Jackson at that point, and it sent this guy overboard. He wanted to kill us. He liked us all to our merch booth and was like, in our face and shit. We're like, dude, we just played Michael Jackson. Calm down. It's all good. But yeah, I mean, for the most part, man, we have good shows. There have been some clunkers in the past, but usually crowds, if they're not into you, will just kind of stand there with a deadpan face and they won't throw projectiles at you. But that has definitely happened a few times. 

Brian:
Yeah. I suppose you get the one or two that are like that. 

Todd:
Yeah. I think most bands have received that kind of treatment. I remember going to see it was called The Snow Corridor, and it was Mr. Bungle, a band called Pooya and System of Itound and System of down. People didn't want to hear note one for Mr. Bungle heckled them the entire time, but they were giving it back as good as they were getting it. So it was amusing. But, yeah, it happens to the best of us. 

Brian:
Exactly. So what would you say is the craziest experience you've had overall since your career started? 

Todd:
Well, before we got signed, there was a cable show, I think it was on, like, the USA Network or something. It was a show called Farm Club. Do you remember that? The name sounds familiar. All right. Yeah, it was hosted by Matt Pinfield and this guy, I think her name is Ali Landry. She was like the hot chicken, the Doritos commercials, like 20 years ago. And there was a segment on the show where they would find undiscovered ban that's not signed from around the country. And I guess your fans would vote on it. Well, anyway, long story short, we got voted to be on this TV show. Yeah, I think it was in 2000, so I'm in my early 20s. I don't even know at that point if we'd ever actually I had been to California once at that point, but it was my second time to California. They flew us first class to California, picked us up to go do the show in a limo. And we went and got hair and makeup done, and we played our song Leper Friend on the show in Hollywood. And the other bands on the bill were Bone Thugs in Harmony and Stone Temple Pilots. Jesus. And I remember being backstage and having Scott Weilan is walking by me and I said to him, hey, man, I don't mean to bother you. I'm such a huge fan. I love your voice. I love your lyrics. You're such a major influence on me. And I said the line that you say, I forget the names escaping me of the song right now, but still remains as the song. He says, if you should die before me, ask if you can bring a friend. And I told him that that's one of the most amazing lyrics I've ever heard. And I just love STP, blah, blah, blah. And he opened up like a book just about how that was about his first wife and he was very humble and sweet, and that was a moment I really cherish to this day. He passed away on my birthday, like seven years ago, but we ended up talking with the rest of the guys in Stone Tuple Pilots, and it was just an amazing experience. We had never kind of had anything like that happen to us where we really rubbed elbows and played a show with some legit artists and got the Royal treatment while we were at it. So that was a very cool experience. 

Brian:
Yeah. Actually, I wasn't expecting it to go like that. Normally when you hear a story starting off like that, like you met some superstar singer backstage, you expect that they're going to be a bit of a Dick, but Jesus, he couldn't have been sweeter and more down to Earth.

Participant #1:
Yeah. It's just he's a tragic character. But there have been moments like that in our experience being a musician that even though we're not the biggest band on the planet or selling out arenas or selling a million albums, like, we've got to experience some cool shit. I'm very sorry. I don't take any of it for granted. 

Brian:
Yeah. And we might as well move on to the future. What does the future? I know the album is coming out in March. What does the rest of the year hold you? 

Todd:
Let's see. Dfd keyboard player Tim is having trouble getting away from responsibilities and obligations back home, where he lives just south of Chicago. So we're going to do a DfT weekend where we basically set a destination and our fans from far and wide, kind of like travel, and we make a weekend of it. We're doing one of those in Chesapeake, Virginia, May 27 and 28th. Then the next month we're going to do a polka dot tour that starts in Brooklyn and goes for about two and a half weeks to Denver. So that'll be the first time we've been on tour in three years. That'll be fun. Then in August, we're doing another DFD weekend south of Chicago in Bradley, Illinois, in the middle of nowhere at this really fun place called the Loony Bin. That our friend. So we're going to do a weekend there. We have the new DFD coming out March 12, which are really psyched about. Then in September, I'm trying to book a tour from, say, Denver and west. So go through Texas, Arizona, then up the West Coast, just pretty much trying to cover all of the States with the two tours that we're doing with Polka Dot. So, yeah, that's the plan right now, just kind of easing back into touring. And because Tim's got stuff to do, we figure let's take Polka Dot out. Yeah. So we'll probably do, I don't know, 25, 30 shows over the year with Polka Dot all around the States. And then next year, buckle down and write a new polkadocodaba album and then do some more shows and yeah. Same old, same old thing, man. 

Brian:
Brilliant, brilliant. Any plans for overseas in the distant future? 

Todd:
Nothing that we've really discussed. I mean, I would love to go overseas and do, like, even a smaller, like, two week, maybe start in the UK and venture into Europe, kind of tour all throughout the UK. I've been to France, but I haven't ventured out into other parts of Europe, which I absolutely love to do. I don't see why that couldn't happen. It's just a matter of making it happen. I book the shows for the band in the States. We would probably have to find a legit booking agent to book us over there. And I would love to go over there with maybe a band who's from Europe or a band from the States that has a decent following in Europe and just tag along. Even if it was a break even venture, I get a free vacation to go play rock and roll in Europe. I'm all about it. I would love it, man. It's something that we have to do. It's just a matter of when. There's a lot of Ducks that need to be lined up for that. 

Brian:
Yeah. You have to make sure everyone is on the same page and able to go and everything works out. 

Todd:
Yeah, man. Definitely. Yeah. 

Brian:
So we'll move on to the last couple of questions. Nobody gets off the podcast, I'm afraid, without answering these. 

Todd:
Okay. 

Brian:
So if you could see any performer from history in concert for one night only, who would it be? 

Todd:
Wow, there's so many. That's tough. It's tough to narrow it down. I would love to see the original Beatles, like, yeah, do their thing. I mean, Hendrix, original Zeppelin. I mean, there's so many, you know, Queen. I mean, that's just to name a few right there. 

Brian:
Yeah. I think it probably would have been easier if I had asked you for one festival only. You could pick all them bands to play at the festival. 

Todd:
So, yeah, I went to the 25th anniversary of Woodstock. It was 94 the year after I graduated high school. And that was a hell of a lineup, man. It was before the Limp Biscuit Debacle years, where there was bonfires and rape going on. There were so many. It was Blind Melon, Henry Rollins, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day, Metallica. I think the Chili Peppers were there. It was just, oh, man, the biggest bands in the world were there that weekend. Yeah. But I would have loved to have gone to the original Woodstock. Yeah, that would have been a trip, although it probably would have been a nightmare because I don't know if you've ever seen documentaries on the original Woodstock, but it was absolutely chaos. But I definitely can identify with the hippie mindset a lot. I like to think that I'm kind of a hippie that was born in the wrong generation, but that would be cool. 

Brian:
Yeah, So if you could be locked in a room with any performer from history for 24 hours, who would it be? 

Todd:
Wow, that's a question right there. Are we talking dead or alive or what? 

Brian:
It can be dead or alive. 

Todd:
Okay. I would probably say Paul McCartney. There's something so fascinating about. Not only because he's a legend, because he's the singer bass player, one of what I consider the greatest bands of all time. There is something so meditative about listening to him being interviewed, and I would love to just sit down, maybe in the 24 hours period, some tacos and some red wine, and just pick his brain and ask him stuff about his life. I mean, pretty fascinating character. There's no one bigger in the world, and there's no one more legendary in the world than that guy. I think that'd be a trip to kind of, like, just hang and. Yeah, he's one of those people you always think about. Wow. A lot of our idols and people that we reviewed growing up, they're getting old and they're not going to last forever. And that will be one guy that I'll be devastated when he passes away because I just love him. He's so humble, he's funny as hell in interviews. He's so down to Earth. He's got a great attitude, and he's a brilliant musician. So, I mean, what more could he ask for? 

Brian:
Yeah, I'm actually delighted you picked him, because I hear John Lennon a lot. But for me, Paul would be my favorite Beatle. And just like you said, he's so down to Earth, he actually seems like the nicest man in show business. 

Todd:
Totally. 

Brian:
The way he acts, you wouldn't think he was a member of the Beatles or he has this big, long history. It hasn't changed who he is. One bit. 

Todd:
I couldn't agree more. Absolutely. And that's what I love about him. It's like a guy who could be a stuck up prick is one of the nicest people that you could ever encounter. Granted, I don't know him. It may all be an act, but I really don't think it is, because I see him in interviews, and I'm a big Howard Stern fan, and I have caught on YouTube Howard interviewing Paul McCartney, and he's funny man in his own Heartney way. He is hilarious. I just love his dry sense of humor and just his whole vibe. I'm glued to the TV. If he's interviewed, I find him fascinating, and I find him to be a really good human being. So I enjoy anything. Paul McCartney. 

Brian:
Yeah, me too. Me too. And the final one, if there was a song to appear on the soundtrack to your life, what would it be? 

Todd:
Oh, Jeez. Goodness gracious. Considering we have about 230 songs, let me narrow it down to one. I have a strong emotional connection to the song. Lock the World Outside. Okay. It's an El Creepo song that's on the Aloha album. And not to get too personal or anything, but it's from the heart. It speaks to maybe bouts of depression where you just kind of want to be alone and you find being around people to be draining your battery instead of recharging it. So I really love that song and I think it's a good representation maybe of what we are capable of lyrically stylistically. Musically. So yeah, I'll pick that one. Why the hell not?

Brian:
Hey guys, I really Hope you Enjoyed this show. If you did write and review us on itunes really helps the show grow. You can find us on social media at concerts that Mayerispodcast and be sure to check out our website at www.concertsatmaedis.com and if you'd like to support the show, you can do so by signing up@patreon.com concertsmedus. We've got Treat Hairs available. If that's something you're interested in, you'll get access to a private discard, exclusive oncot video versions of the podcast, early access to add free versions of the episodes, and Much, Much more. So until next time, keep Rockin.


Hey, hey, what Are You Guys Still doing here? The show is over. It's over. You can go home. Go on. We'll see you next Time. We'll Be here.


Bye.

Todd Smith Profile Photo

Todd Smith

Musician

Todd Smith is an American vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist who most notably fronts the band Dog Fashion Disco. He is currently involved with the bands Polkadot Cadaver, Knives Out!, Beyond Paranoid, and his solo project El-Creepo!.

Smith was the lead singer and songwriter for the multi-genre metal band Dog Fashion Disco from 1996 until 2007, and continued in this role when the band reformed in 2011 until the present day. Smith contributed vocal and guitar work to the 2005 album The Exotic Sounds of the Alter Boys by the Ohio-based band The Alter Boys. On February 18, 2007, Smith started a musical project called Polkadot Cadaver, announced shortly after the break-up of Dog Fashion Disco. Another project, Knives Out! was started in 2008, and each band contains Jasan Stepp (of Dog Fashion Disco). Three albums have been released with Polkadot Cadaver and two albums have been released with Knives Out!

Solo career
Smith has also released three solo album under the moniker El-Creepo! The first album was released in 2009 and was aptly titled El-Creepo!. The project is stylistically quite different from his work in other bands, favoring acoustic guitars and light harmonies. Smith began writing and recording a new El-Creepo! album with Polkadot Cadaver drummer Scott Radway in March 2012. The second solo album, Aloha was released November 13, 2012. The third and most recent album titled Bellissimo! was released January 1, 2016.

Razor to Wrist Records
In early 2011, Smith and fellow band-mate Jasan Stepp started up the record label Razor to Wrist Records with the intention of releasing their material on their own label, with the main bands being "signed" initially Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver, Knives Out!, and El-Creepo!. Though Polkadot Cadaver's album Sex Offender was released after the label was founded, the album was still released on Rotten Records (as the first Polkadot Cadaver album was).

The first album to be released by the label was Knives Out!'s Black Mass Hysteria on February 14, 2012. In the summer of 2012, the Dog Fashion Disco video DFDVD was re-released on Razor to Wrist, and on November 13, 2012, the second El-Creepo album Aloha was the second album to be released on the label. The third album released on the label was Polkadot Cadaver's third album Last Call in Jonestown, released on May 14, 2013. All future material involving either Smith or Stepp is set to be released on Razor to Wrist.

"Left in the Lurch" is Knives Out!'s second debut album, having been released on August 19, 2016.

All of the label's releases up to this point have been available in physical form only through the label's website; digital copies of the material is available on Amazon, iTunes, etc.

The label's name is derived from the song "Forever and a Day" from the Polkadot Cadaver album Sex Offender.