Dimi Dero Inc are on their way to Australia, two years after the band’s highly enjoyable 2008 tour.
Being in a rock ’n’ roll band in France isn’t easy. Despite the country’s proud history in the arts, independent rock ’n’ roll remains a relatively marginal pursuit. “ It’s getting harder and harder to play in France,” says Dimi Dero, lead singer and guitarist with Dimi Dero Inc. “There are ’noise’ limitations, and the media is totally under the thumb of the major companies. We have a few connections and help from people liking the same stuff as we do, but it’s limited to a few cities. I think in the last three years, three quarters of the gigs we’ve played were not in our own country. And it’s the same when we try to help bands from abroad, it’s always the same connection and venues. I could hardly name ten good rock venues in Frogsland!” Dero laughs.
Dero grew up listening to David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Idol before a friend of his sister gave him mix-tapes featuring punk bands from France and all over the world. “I soon got addicted to The Stooges, New York Dolls, Heartbreakers, then a French label called Closer started to release Australian bands: New Christs, Died Pretty, The Fun Things, etc”, Dero recalls.
Inspired by the “energy … the smell of freedom” in The Stooges’ first album, Dero started playing drums in a band by the name of Moby Dick in 1989. “We were mainly playing covers of the bands listed above. I started to play guitar and sing a few years later covering some Johnny Thunders songs then started to write my own stuff,” says Dero.
Eventually moving from the south of France to Paris in the early years of this century, he formed Dimi Dero Inc. “I was just putting out my first album,” he remembers. “I had moved from the south of France to Paris at the same time, so I needed a band to play these songs live,” Dero says. “Brenko was leaving a band called the Holy Curse. Vinz was (and still is) also in it and offered to join us. Pascal, an ex-Holy Curse as well, joined us soon after that.”
While Dero has given his name to the band, the band’s music is a group effort. “We’re called Dimi Dero INC, because as we were playing my first album in the beginning it made sense to do that under the same name that was on the record,” he remembers. “But after that it became a real band. Which means everybody is involved in the creative process. We’re not far from a 25% input each on the new album, really.”
Dero’s love of Australian music is well known. “There’s a specificity [in Australian music] that’s hard to describe,” he argues. “We kind of feel the immensity of Australia in the music. There’s space, and freedom, and also a slight melancholy. But basically, we’re attracted to good music. New York used to have a fantastic scene and awesome bands. But Australia provides some of the best bands of the planet – although that doesn’t mean we like everything that smells like vegemite though!” he laughs.
The love of Australian music extends to Dero’s support for Australian musicians traveling through Paris – Dero has titled his spare room the ‘Kangaroom’ for use by visiting musicians. “I pretend I run the Australian Rock Embassy in Paris with that”, he chuckles. “The list is too long, I will forget some, please forgive me. But we had Kim Salmon, The Drones, members of Monty Sparrow, Black Pony Express, Penny Ikinger, Double Agents (now in Gun Street Girls), Pete Ross, The Spoils, MJ Halloran, Rob Younger, Cam Butler…” Dero lists.
For Dimi Dero’s latest album, Cremation Day in the Court of Miracles, Dimi Dero Inc turned to Rob Younger (Radio Birdman, New Christs). “He first saw us live in Paris a few years ago, and our common friend Penny Ikinger was here too,” Dero recalls.
“Penny came to us after the gig saying that Rob told her very positive things about us, and that he’d probably like to work with us someday. So from the beginning we knew he had his own approach, his own ideas. He’s a very demanding producer, made us work hard but he didn’t impose anything. He totally knew where he wanted to lead us from the day one. He pushed us further in our own direction, not somewhere else. Somehow that was very relaxing, he was the ‘boss’ and we knew we could rely on him!”
Dimi Dero Inc are on their way to Australia, two years after the band’s highly enjoyable 2008 tour. “We’ve got more muso friends in Australia than in France so it’s always so much fun to hang out with them; rare and precious,” Dero says. “Last time we were here we spent two days at The Drones house in the country. Oh, and we saw our first kangaroos on the side of the road! We were about to believe they were only living in your backyards and not in the country anymore!” he laughs.
DIMI DERO INC play a run of show in Melbourne this week; Lyrebird Lounge, Ripponlea on Friday Ocotber 15, The Tote on Saturday October 16 (RSVP & The Return To Senders), cherry bar on Sunday October 17 and The Old bar on Tuesday October 19 (Dimi Dero solo). Their album Cremation Day In The Court Of Miracles is out now through Mere Noise/MGM.