A Ripple Conversation With Diesel Doleman, Singer of Aussie V8 riff rockers DUNEEATER

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.


What have been your musical epiphany moments?


I can’t remember one single epiphany, but my mum's side of the family are all very musical. Everyone plays something, whether it be guitar, accordion or spoons, everyone dances and has a good time. Growing up watching what music could do to people was entrenched in me from the get-go. Moving forward several years to 96-97, I travelled to Canada to kick off my first overseas winter season at a ski resort called Big White and I was stoked on doing the ski (snowboard) bum thing. Eventually I met another ski bum, a bloke called Cid (appropriately named I might add) who was living out off his rad motor home fitted out with a huge fish tank, shag carpet, chandelier, and a massive CD collection. After riding all day we were smashing a few cans back at his abode when he says to me, “You ever heard of a band called CLUTCH?”


Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?


We tend to write our best music as a whole, there is no one person kicking back in their room writing the album from start to finish. It’s an ‘all hands on deck’ approach and everyone gets their hands dirty. It almost always starts off with a riff, usually from Robs or Pauly noodling at home, but everyone is welcome to bring riffs in. From there, we get together to jam it out and see where it takes us. In some cases a song will write itself, other times the riff will completely morph into something totally different and some songs we will work on for months on end fine-tuning it.  We all live in different parts of our state (Victoria), some on the coast, some up in the alpine region and others in the suburbs. We try to get together at least every second Friday after work keen as mustard to launch into riffs and beers. It’s absolutely about the music but there is no denying it’s also a good catch up with the lads. Writing our up and coming release for the Ripples Turned To Stone split series was a tad different due to Covid restrictions. We had been in almost back-to-back lockdowns so we had to tweak our process by writing most of it at home, sending riffs to each other and translating ideas and direction via phone or video calls. Then between lock downs we would meet up and jam those ideas out. I unfortunately wasn’t present for many of those in-between jams as I was stuck on a ship working for months and then in quarantine. To be honest, for me, it wasn't the ideal way to create music - you just can’t replicate physically being in the same room and jamming out ideas. But in saying that, I’ll take that over not creating anything at all and I think it’s made us better musicians for it. We’re pumped to show everyone the new tunes.


Who has influenced you the most?


The five of us all have different influences but we all hover in the same orbit, our common ground would be riff driven guitar tunes. Speaking for myself, it might be a bit cliche but Kyuss is up there as my longest lasting influence. They have been with me through so many musical taste phases and I'd have to admit the closest I’ve ever come to a vocal lesson would be singing to Kyuss flat out in the car in my earlier years (still do), ha! I have a story relating to Kyuss actually… we opened for Unida once at this small festival in Melbourne. We played quite early, so several beers had been destroyed between us playing and watching Unida. I was really looking forward to meeting John Garcia after the show, back in the green room I was sitting on a couch when John sat down next to me talking to someone else. I thought to myself, I'll just wait until they have finished their conversation and I'll introduce myself. Unfortunately, the 20 beers I'd drank caught up with me...I woke up who knows how long after, the couch was empty and I was asked to leave. Haha.


Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Most of the time I get inspired by my own or other's experiences then more often or not I fictionalise the concept to tailor it to the song. ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ they say out here on the ships. I always try and keep my lyrics lighthearted, nothing too serious. I find when I’m doing things that get the blood flowing such as snowboarding, mountain biking or listening to tunes, these activities tend to clear my head space and that’s when it flows and I get my best ideas. If I’m suffering from writer's block, I'll jump on a board or bike and by the time I get back I'll have some sort of direction. During the last lockdown I hit a big dirty brick wall with my creativity. I was getting a bit stressed out with deadlines and trying to figure out where my vocals should sit in our new tunes. Then I stumbled across a podcast with Jerry Seinfeld of all things and he touched on his writing process. He said something along the lines of… writing is one of the most difficult things to do, you can’t sit in front of a piece of paper all day so set goals like ‘today I’m going to write for an hour’ and then just stop. He goes on to say, even if at the end of that hour your five ideas are garbage, you've at least figured out five ways that didn’t work. That really put a positive spin on the whole process and it’s been working ever since.


We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?


As mentioned we are geographically spread out across Victoria, but we all originally come from small towns/suburbs and the attitude of doing your own music stems from that. Having grown up in these areas lead to skating, surfing, snowboarding, cars etc so subconsciously I think we write tunes that lend themselves to that kinda lifestyle. Having Melbourne as our home base has its advantages too, it's hands-down Australia’s live music capital and the camaraderie between all the bands is truly amazing.  


Where'd the band name come from?


OH, it took us F*&king aaaaages. We just couldn’t agree on anything and we tossed around so many names...we had what I'd refer to as ‘1 movie, 5 mates syndrome.’ Remember before Netflix when you’d have to go down to the local video shop to rent movies and you’re with a few mates but you can only rent one movie... it’s a nightmare… no one can agree on anything. That was us. Anyway, in the end we were all in the ‘fu4k it… just name it whatever, I don’t give a shit’ frame of mind when Josh said something like ‘I brought a new engine for the Dune Eater.’ He was referring to his tiny two door Suzuki 4x4 also known as 'the bubble', that he’d souped up for bush and sand dune bashing. So from there we just ran with Duneeater! Although sometimes I'm not sure if we made a good decision, particularly when people mistake it for Dung eater, haha! But if you can’t have a laugh at yourself then what’s the point.


You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Easy…. The original Mad Max.


You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?


The thought of having to write a 1000-word essay immediately makes me want to get a doctor's certificate so I don’t have to come into to work… but if I must… Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’ is a masterpiece. The music, lyrics and emotion… everything blends perfectly, demands attention and relates to everyone.


Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

We were playing a show up at Mt Hotham ski resort for a Hotham Boardriders event. This event required we bring our own PA equipment and while we were setting up I realised I'd left the power cord to the mixing desk at home (all the way down the mountain, back in the valley). I jumped in the car and hooned off the mountain in a blizzard via one of Victoria's most dangerous roads. I grabbed the cord and shot straight back up only to find half-way that a pretty solid tree had been blown across the entire road and 3 car loads of tourists standing around staring at it. With no time to spare and pre-gig adrenaline I jumped out of the car leaving the engine running with door wide open...I somehow picked one end of the tree up just enough to pivot it and shuffle walk it around to the edge of the road before pushing it down the side of the mountain. Then without a word to any of them I jumped straight back in my car and sped off while a group of the tourists took photos and video of my effort, haha...I got back to the venue to find someone else had found a cord.


Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?


We still get nervous, well maybe not Josh (drums), he's been at it a long time.. But the rest of us for sure, and I religiously have to take a crap before each show. Once that first riff drops its game on though all those nerves turn to stoke. If the crowd are digging it, there is really nothing like it. Even with all the sports I do and each of those providing ridiculously fulfilling moments, creating a positive connection between yourself, band mates and an audience is something you can’t fake, buy or understand until you’ve spent hours writing and rehearsing then walking out onto the stage and doing it. In regards to what the fans get, I guess you could say we’re not the jump around or dress up type of band. There’s nothing wrong with that and at times we’ve done both but we mostly prefer to let the music do the talking, get up and do our best to blow the roof off and deliver the riffage people came for. When it’s over we get off stage and go drink cans with some people that were willing to travel out into the night and spend their hard earned coin.


What makes a great song?


Big riffs and groove… you gotta be able to move to it one way or another.


Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?


Duneeater’s first song if my memory serves me right was One Eyed Samurai, Pauly and myself wrote that over a couple beer fueled weekends while we were waiting to complete the full line up of the band. I remember one writing session we’d decided not to go snowboarding that day as it was just bucketing down rain, instead we lit the fire, cranked the amps and cracked some beers… not sure why I remember that...I guess it was just one of those ideal writing days when there’s nothing else to do other than sink beers, play tunes, take it easy and enjoy the moment.


What piece of your music are particularly proud of?


I have invested interest in Trip to Tranny Land, the last track on our self-titled LP. I realise it’s not the strongest track, but with a lot of guidance from Pauly, TTTL was the first song I managed to write from start to finish. I love to noodle on a guitar, but my attention span never allows me to focus on writing a song from start to finish, so I was quite chuffed when for once I actually finished a song. LaBrown would be up there too. There’s a mellow section that builds up to the end, its one of those pieces that just makes you feel like we really nailed it. I know Robs (guitar) is particularly proud of that too.


Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?


I reckon CLUTCH still have it - the riff and groove mixed with Neil Fallon’s lyrical genius makes for great listening. Neil's vocal delivery is on point and so dam powerful, I really dig it.


I know Pauly (guitar) has been digging the latest Lowrider album and he's a massive Tool fan.


Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

I'd say digital has it place - travel, piss ups etc - but when I’m at home there’s something magical about dropping the needle down on vinyl especially in the mornings. It’s a great way to kick the day off. Cogs (bass) is a massive CD fan. If it weren't for him our debut release No Gas No Good would have never been put to disc, but as it turns out we have sold just as many CDs as we have vinyl.


Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice


Beer… coz it’ll eventually lead to whisky anyway.


We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?


As the band calls Melbourne home, Grevillest records and Heartland record store. 


What's next for the band?


We really want to start gigging more and write some new material for album number two. International touring is a goal with Europe and USA on our hit list. We are also in the early stages of booking a Aussie tour for our up and coming release with Ripple Music.


Thanks for everyone's support, if you're new to Duneeater we welcome you. Thanks to John Gist and Todd Severin for our next riff adventures.  If there are any other independent bands from overseas reading this with ambitions to play Melbourne, look us up. We’d be happy to help out in any way we can with advice or just let us know you’re coming and we can have some beers at your show.