You cannot whack a bit of biker rock, I’ve always said. I think I got into DRN courtesy of a dodgy compilation – I had a voracious appetite for 2nd hand metal compilations, 95% eminently forgettable, but just once in a while unearthing a gem. The track would have been the space-rocky Shnibob I imagine. Anyway, to the West End Club in Aldershot, then home of the British Army, and large number of nasty little chav herberts. I’d been there before, for ‘The Buzz Club’, indie/rave nights but this was the first time for a band. There were a lot of bikes outside, and quite a hairy bikery crowd inside with an average age of quite a bit older than me.
No fanfare or flashy stage entrance for DRN. Just a dumpy little bearded dwarf and two younger acolytes wandering from the bar at the back, round the side of the hall and up onto the stage, as if it were their local pub on rock night. They play mostly blues rock, like a dirtier version of The Hamsters, but with a bit of comedy too. Dumpy Dunnell doesn’t take himself too seriously, rolling with the ‘you fat bastard’ chants and pulling up his cut-off t-shirt to reveal his ample pot belly. He did at one point, however, stop the gig, demand the spotlight be shone on this poor bloke who’d crossed the line and called him ‘baldy’, and proceed to scare the crap out of him, but it was in good nature. I think. They didn’t play Shnibob but they played a couple of others I knew, notably the Hawkwind tribute, the name of which eludes me. Most of it was about bikes, and I don’t ride one, so I was a little on the outside. But he is a pretty good entertainer, I guess you could call him the British ZZ Top but a lot shorter. His parting gesture was to play the Last Post on a pair of bike handlebars, blowing through them like a bugle.
Oh, and I came out on top in the scrabble for the drummer’s sticks at the end (only one though). He uses Vic Firths.