- - Monday, September 26, 2016

When the New York City band D Generation crawled out of the gutter in the early 1990s, it felt like they were a bit late. The band’s sound, inspired by punk and glam rockers like The Ramones, Johnny Thunders and The New York Dolls, would have been at home in the CBGB scene in which their heroes made their bones. But by the time the band released their debut single, “No Way Out,” on radio and in the film “Airheads,” those bands were dying off and CBGS was limping along, eventually becoming a high-end jeans store.

Two more albums of excellence followed, with little or no fanfare outside of those in the know. Frustration, infighting and a double dose of being screwed over by record companies led to the band calling it a day.

Some 16 years later the band has returned to keep the promise of their misspent youth with a self-produced album called “Nothing Is Anywhere.” Singer Jesse Malin and lead guitarist (and “Nothing Is Anywhere” producer) Danny Sage discussed the new CD, how a wrestling act stole their name and why now may finally be the right time for D Generation.

Question: Why did the band take a break for so long?

Jesse Malin: We had seven years [and] three albums. The ‘90s were ending, and it as time to step out for a couple minutes. We all wanted to do different things. I had a need to make those [solo] records I made. Danny made a solo record. We all did different things, but we always stayed in touch, played on each others records, got together occasionally to jam and hang out. It’s a family thing. We’ve known each other since we were kids.

Q: What brought you back together?

Danny Sage: People kept asking us every year — to play these festivals, Europe and Spain. Play and play. Finally the year was right. We were all available.

Q: Was it easy for the band to fall back into place?

JM: Yeah, with all the garbage and the good stuff. [laughs] Same old chips.

Q: With time off, did the baggage go away?

DS: No!

JM: The baggage will be right on that stage tonight.

Q: Does the tension bring an energy to what you guys do?

DS: I think so. But I also don’t love it. It’s a balance.

Q: You guys started working on the new album in 2012. Why did it take so long to finish?

JM: We would work on it for a little bit, then we would go on tour. Go out and do our separate things. Because there were so many songs. We did like 50 songs in that time. We finally decided it was time to put this out.

Q: Did you always want to self-produce it?

JM: It just seemed like it was happening without us thinking about it.

DS: We never talked about it. He and I have done so much production work that is uncredited. We did it really from the beginning. But we were on a major label. And we were 24 years old then. They’re not going to give a 24-year-kid a half-million dollars and say, “Go make a record.”

We always had a hand in it. We were really lucky in our careers. Look who we worked with producerwise: David Bianco, Ric Ocasek and Tony Visconti. You’d be an idiot to sit in a room with these people and not learn something.

Q: How do keep the five original members together?

DS: It’s not easy. A lot of wood glue.

JM: There is beauty to it and a hellish nightmare to it. Sometimes when it clicks in the right way, there’s the fire.

DS: At sound check I can tell from the first verse and chorus of a song that things sound great. I could feel it. Yeah, I might want to punch somebody in the face after the gig, but it’s worth it to me.

Q: Who is coming out to the show?

JM: For the most part there has been a mix. A lot more young kids, and they know the songs.

DS: Maybe they think we’re the professional wrestlers that took our name. [laughs] They actually used to come out to start their matches with “No Way Out” playing. Then we sent them a cease and desist. They stopped doing the music part. Our attorney at the time said, “I’m sure we could sue them. ” We just said, “[Expletive] it.”

JM: A lot of kids coming to see us know our music from the film “Airheads.” We had two songs in the film. It ran like crazy on cable.

Q: I was in New York recently and it’s changed so much. Do you guys still live there?

JM: We’re like the roaches and rats that are underneath that they can’t get rid of.

DS: I meet kids in the East Village from Texas or something, and they say, “Well, why don’t you move?” Well this is my … hometown. I refuse to leave. It’s my home.

Q: How do you guys fit in today’s musical landscape?

JM: Today means nothing. Everything is everything. There’s not one dedicated movement. When we stepped away, one of the things we saw, besides our internal trouble, was that rock music involved a DJ on stage, baggy pants, bad rapping. And guitars. It didn’t make sense for us.

DS: We’re stubborn, and we like what we like. We never thought about trends. I’m kind of proud of that.


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