Behind the Beat: Not Dead Yet

A blog post kicked things back into gear.

One solitary scribe’s vitriolic lament lambasting “old punk rockers” set Westfield singer Dennis Most in action.

“This blogger was on a tear about how older punkers shouldn’t play. It was young people’s music,” Most recalls. “What garbage! I grew up with rock and roll and all its forms. It’s always been my music.”

Most, who has been making proto-garage-punk-rock—whatever you want to call it based on that decade’s nomenclature—since 1969, put forth his answer in the form of an album, I’m Not Dead Yet (2006).

“Why should I change now? That’s what I was saying,” says the fiery singer. “Basically screw you and get out of my way.”

And Most is still at it. He’s just put out I’m Not Dead Yet!/Indiana Roadkillarama–two titles previously released on vinyl in Italy–on CD for the first time on 75orLess Records. He and his crew are currently hustling Instigate Me!, a seven-song batch of recently recorded rockers.

“It opens up with one of my fastest-ever songs and closes with a dark, hard-riffing expression of love,” Most explains. “In between is a day at the mall, a sad song that rocks about a late friend, my version of Cheap Trick’s “He’s A Whore,” and some more. It’s very hard-driving garage punk. That’s me. Garage proto-punk tweaked with hard rock, early metal, psychedelic with hooks.”

Advanced copies have received airplay in the United States and Europe. Most is hoping for a full label release in the near future, but his main priority these days is getting back to the stage ASAP.

Through all the changes in the band over the years, his passion and approach have never wavered, though he admits it took him a while to get where he wanted to be as a musician and performer.

“Back in the beginning I was subject to the whim of lead guitarists,” he says. “They knew how to figure out the songs, so they usually picked the songs. For a singer this sucks. So I had to get in control of things early on, which is essentially what I did.

“I’ve always had a vision of where I wanted to be at any one time with my music. I had to find the musicians that wanted go there. When you are the songwriter and you have a certain sound and then what has developed into a certain style over the years… it’s important that my music sounds like me. I’ve been lucky to work with many talented musicians over the years who understood what they were dealing with and helped me create my vision.

“Has my approach changed over the years? Not really. I think I’m less demanding while still expecting the best of everybody in the band, including myself.”

Most is currently looking for more Instigators (the name of his backing band) on bass and guitar to augment the work of longtime drummer Jeff Roncalli and keyboardist Daxe Rexford. Former bassist Keith Grave now works “behind the scenes” promoting the music.

No matter what comes his way, Most will keep on keeping on, in perpetuity, it seems.

“Music is my life force,” he says. “It’s been what’s always been there for me. I hope to die while making it. OK, maybe in my living room, but you get the idea.”

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Author: Matthew Dube

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