New local band invades at South Park Tavern
By W.C. Ruffnel
The Trash arrived at my apartment around 9:30 p.m. This is more or less when they said they would pick me up; I had asked lead-singer (and fellow DCP writer) Ben Dale if meeting at a bar and having a few drinks would be indicative of “the Trash experience” and conducive for an interview. An exuberant “hell yeah” was my affirmation and we arranged to meet.
When we convened, I was greeted by three of five members. The gang and I agreed to conduct our “interview” at a distinctly un-hip local bar possibly known for possibly having once filmed a porno on the patio [i].
The band consists of two brothers, Maxwell and Sam Ervin, (bass and drums, respectively) and their cousin Ben. It’s like some sort of fucked-up Kings of Leon, although there is no overt inclination that they are trying to propagate an image-centric branding based on family ties. Also perhaps because longtime friends Craig Myers and Matthew Dunham (no relation — though Myers, Dunham and Dale are all ’89 Pisces) round out the lineup on guitars. Both guitarists play upside down — Craig being a lefty who learned to play by stringing his right-hander upside down, and Matthew who learned to play upside down. Ben and Craig sing, and the others were apt to make noises as well — when I saw them practice, Sam shouted joyful obscenities at the end of each song.
The Ervins elected to continue obligations elsewhere, so Matthew, Craig, Ben and myself purchased a small pitcher of a recent migrant beer — and due to its small nature, I was correct in assuming we would need more. We chatted, and although Craig prefers to be difficult (despite the fact that he is not), we had a great time. I, of course, asked about the recent string of songs they have made available online.
“These are just the first seven,” said Myers. “We have, like, 26 songs, and we wrote a new one today.”
Dale added, “We try not to write any stereotypical song, but these are all the Trash.”
The Trash’s songs are short, anthemic in nature, contain no shortage of harmonious hooks and have copious amounts of guitar heroics. When I asked the three of them what some of their main influences are [ii], they happily obliged.
“Well, obviously the Beatles,” said Dunham.
Myers added Cheap Trick, Ben Dale agreed with both and added Guided by Voices and the Strokes. When listening to the tracks, the cited influences do shine, along with a general sense that sits with you like an old friend or a worn-in pair of sneakers. The band is far from sounding like a throwback — they pack what seems like a very lively greatest hits collection into a scant half an hour or so.
“It’s all based on some sort of youthful exuberance,” said Myers. “Ben’s lyrics are like a very raunchy honesty and the music represents that as well.”
When I asked them about the influence of Dayton bands, the band said that both the legacy bands of Dayton’s past and present do have an impact for them, but it’s the city itself, along with its people that is the real influence.
“Our music expresses frustrations of a small city, but in a fun and rock ‘n’ roll way,” said Myers.
Dale told me the writing process is very organic, and I couldn’t help but notice that the word organic was thrown around a lot. The album does indeed sound real, and I asked them if they’re a real band. They all nodded.
“We are real,” said Dale.
“We are alive!” Dunham added.
The band is fun, the record is real. Myers told me that he absolutely abhors music “that is so overproduced that it sounds good to any ignorant ear,” listing off the recent bands that couldn’t hold a candle to Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold,” which is now blaring on the jukebox. They told me the Trash became ‘The Trash’ in July, and were cemented when Max joined the band in October. With another brother in the fold, they were all “on the same wavelength,” and ambitiously hit the studio in Cleveland later that month.
The result sounds great, and the gang is pleased. I know this because when we got into Dale’s car, I urged him to play the tunes so I could see their reactions. They head banged and sang to the songs, and I told them I was going to include that in this article [iii]. They didn’t care.
“This music is kind of about not giving a shit,” said Dale.
“Here it is,” said Dunham. “This is it. This is us. If you don’t like it, I’m sure you’ll find something else to listen to anyways. But I wouldn’t be doing this if we all didn’t believe in it.”
Myers added, “To me, it sounds like my own home – where I live. Kind of like a state of being.”
And that’s real, and that’s the Trash, and it’s pretty awesome. I sang along too [iv].
[i] Some guy told me this.
[ii] I know this a trite and classically boring question, but this was the first time I have interviewed anyone in person, and it’s one of the only notes I can read from my scribbled shorthand.
[iii] You would ask this too if you were an asshole like me.
[iv] Like a motherfucker.
The Trash will appear every Wednesday night at the Buddha Den’s NTRO/XPO Series at South Park Tavern throughout the month of January. For more information, visit the Trash on Facebook or visit www.southparktavern.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer W.C. Ruffnel at WCRuffnel@DaytonCityPaper.com.