INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT DALHOVER OF DANGEROUS TOYS
Date: November 21, 2015
Photos: Papaconstantine Photography (1st, 7th and 10th photos)
NOT MANY ’80S ERA BANDS CAN SAY THAT ALL OF THE BAND MEMBERS STILL GET ALONG TWENTY FIVE PLUS YEARS LATER BUT DANGEROUS TOYS BELONG IN THAT PRETTY EXCLUSIVE CATEGORY. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH DANGEROUS TOYS’ GUITARIST SCOTT DALHOVER TO COVER MANY TOPICS TOYS RELATED INCLUDING HIS THOUGHTS ON THE BAND’S FOUR STUDIO ALBUMS AND IF WE CAN EXPECT SOME NEW MATERIAL FROM DANGEROUS TOYS IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.
Scott Dalhover: Yeah!
Sleaze Roxx: Does that mean that we can expect Dangerous Toys to be doing more touring in the future?
Scott Dalhover: Ooohh. Maybe [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: You know, the interest is now there for us to go out and play so we go and we do that. The interest has always been there but we don’t tour anymore. It’s not like we are taking a full crew and a bus, and we’re out there anyways and you’re going from town to town. We’re doing mainly fly outs. We’ll store our guitars and stuff on the plane and fly out. We’ll have the drums, amps and all that stuff provided and all that. So that’s a lot more expensive endeavor for a lot of the promoters than you know, if we are already wheeling into town. The plane fare can cost quite a good deal of money sometime. But all that said, yeah — the offers keep on coming and as long as they make sense and we can have fun, we’ll come and go out and do it.
Sleaze Roxx: Cool! Now I know that Jason [McMaster] has been recording quite a bit with Broken Teeth. Have there been any thoughts on Dangerous Toys coming up with a new album?
Scott Dalhover: Yeah, I’ve got backlogs of material. It’s just trying to get everybody together. Everybody has so much stuff that they are involved in. So it’s just trying to get everybody on the same page. To get me, Mike [Watson], Mark [Geary], Jason [McMaster] and Paul [Lidel] all in the same place, it takes a bit of effort sometimes. Not really but you know, I’ve got my guitar company going. Everybody has got something going. You know, we all make time for Dangerous Toys regardless but… Mark, Mike and I, as a matter of fact, got together, jammed and threw down some ideas so you never know!
Scott Dalhover: A little [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: I don’t want to say “yeah, yeah” or “no.” It might happen. I can see a five song EP or something happening really easy versus ten or eleven [songs]. That might be what we’d shoot for. You never know though. Once we get rolling, it’s hard to stop us. We’ll knock out an album.
Sleaze Roxx: You’re understandably a bit cryptic on how far that you guys are but how about this? In the last five years, are you closer to having an album out now than you were five years ago?
Scott Dalhover: Oh absolutely!
Sleaze Roxx: That’s good [laughs]! So let’s switch off a little bit. Do you consider Dangerous Toys to be in the hair band category?
Scott Dalhover: I don’t really think that it is up to me to decide. If you were to ask me, I don’t think so. As Dangerous Toys, we were never — in our early days, before we were signed, we were doing that to stay in the club scene because you had to do that. But once we got signed, we dropped all the crazy, you know, sky high hair, eyeliner and all that stuff. I have nothing against it. There are many bands that you would consider hardcore hair bands. I just think that we are a rock/metal band from Texas [laughs]. We were more metal than rock but we weren’t Anthrax if you know what I mean. We weren’t ZZ Top either so…
Sleaze Roxx: I’d like you to take me through each of the Dangerous Toys’ studio albums and just give me your take on each album and what the state of the band was at that point. So let’s start off with the self-titled debut. What did you think of it and where was the band at during that time?
Scott Dalhover: Well, that was my very first record and that was our very first record as a band and you know, we were happy with it. As you go back, you wish that you could have done some things on production and things like that, but as far as the song performances on the album, I like it. It was fun. It’s what we wanted it to be pretty much. The state of the band? Drunken! Pretty much.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Fair enough. In terms of the debut, it ended up being the biggest selling album for Dangerous Toys. Were you surprised that that ended up being the biggest album for the band?
Scott Dalhover: Nah! I don’t operate from that standpoint. I don’t operate from the standpoint that this has got to be a million seller, blah, blah, blah. We just go and do what we want to do and if people like it, that’s cool. If they don’t like it, then well, it’s an album that you do like. It’s pretty simple. I don’t think that any of us go “Aw man. This has got to go triple platinum.” We’re just not wired that way.
Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough. What about ‘Hellacious Acres?’ What is your take on that album and where the band was at at that point?
Scott Dalhover: Well, that was coming towards the end of that hair metal era that we were caught up in and the grunge thing was coming out. For the first record, the record company left us alone. CBS left us alone. Whatever. Do whatever you’re going to do, right? Well, that one had success so then what happens, all the suits start coming down and wanting to put their two cents in. Guys that were better in marketing and that should have stayed in the office and market you and things like that instead of coming down to the studio and trying to give me or anyone else suggestions on what a good song is.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: So there was some of that but we pretty much ignored it except for we put “Feel Like Makin’ Love” on there and I know a lot of people like that version of it and whatever. I was not a fan. I mean, I am not a fan of that song and never was but the rest of the guys wanted to play it so you know, I did my best effort on it. If you want to ask me to do a cover, I want to do something man that nobody knows. Go do your “Tobacco Road” like David Lee Roth. Or Van Halen did “You Really Got Me.” Or Tigers Of Pan Tang did – what was that — “Love Potion No. 9.” Something like that. I don’t want to go and redo “Stairway To Heaven” or “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” I just think — I still think and I thought at the time that it was not my favorite thing to do. Now on the flip side of that, there are lots of fun songs on there like “Gimme’ No Lip” and things like that, and that made that album, you know, fun for me to do and I think as a band as well.
Sleaze Roxx: And what about the band? Where was it at at that point?
Scott Dalhover: Uuuuhh. Mostly at the Mongolian Grill in Hollywood…
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: …slamming back Ichiban Beers. I am usually a non-drinker so I remember all that! I’ll remember as well. You know, everything was cool. Same deal. Guys just having fun and trying to make the best record that we can make with the tolls that you have available to you.
Sleaze Roxx: That takes us to ‘Pissed’ which was a bit of a departure for the band. What do you think of that album and where was the band at at that point?
Scott Dalhover: By that time, we had parted ways with Sony and teamed up with DOS [Records] back there in Austin [Texas, USA] and it was back to the same old. We just went there, had a good time and wrote some songs. We were still touring [but] not as much. We were still touring kind of heavy. It was just a good time writing songs and hanging out. By that time, Danny Aaron had left and so, it was back to the original album. The original album was just me, Mike, Mark and Jason. So it was back to that original kind of thing writing those tunes and doing that stuff. And we had just added Paul Lidel from Dirty Looks so he came in and that was cool. You know, Paul has been a buddy of ours forever and… there you go [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] So what did you think of the album?
Scott Dalhover: It was good. I would have liked it to be a little bit more harder edged to it but it was a fun album and I liked the songs that were on there. I had a good time writing them and playing with the band. I was just fine with it. Are you waiting for me to go “Man! I hated that album!”
Sleaze Roxx: No. no [laughs].
Scott Dalhover: “Oh man! I hated those guys! God, I was sick of them!” [Laughs] It’s funny. The reason I say that is because somebody asked me one time, “Why don’t you all have a Behind the Music?” And I was like, “Because we all get along and no one is fucking anybody else’s girlfriend.” [We’re] hanging out together, writing songs together. Our big band drama is me and Jason [McMaster] fighting for ten minutes, and by fighting, I mean calmly talking over about why I think that the chord progression in a chorus should be this and he’s saying that the chord progression should be that. That’s our big drama in the band [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] That’s fair. And you know what, I did not expect you to…
Scott Dalhover: I am just kidding you man!
Sleaze Roxx: I know that you guys are still together right. You’re still the original guys.
Scott Dalhover: Oh yeah!
Sleaze Roxx: …and that’s pretty cool! So that takes us to the last album, ‘The R*tist 4*merly Known As Dangerous Toys.’ What did you think of that album?
Scott Dalhover: Well, that was a real big departure. We just decided to do something in left field. It wasn’t like a conscious decision of “Hey, let’s just see how wacked out we can get!” It was just, “Hey, we’ve got all this other stuff that is harder edged, that is different.” Jason had written this other stuff that had a different style. So did I. You know, there was no swing stuff in there like “Sport’n A Woody” or “Take Me Drunk.” It was straight ahead. I would not say that it was grunge or nu-metal but it was our version of making something heavier and different and darker just for the hell of it!
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: Just why not?
Sleaze Roxx: The band sort of broke up pretty soon afterwards. What…
Scott Dalhover: Well, that is what people think! We never broke up. We’ve never broken up. We never said, “You know what, we’re done with this!” What happened is that the appeal for the type of music we were doing — and you can see it with the other bands, Def Leppard for example — that type of music was way on the back burner. There weren’t as many opportunities, as many shows, as much interest as there has been in the last three to four years. Things are in cycles. Everyone was into you know, Korn, Weezer and all those types of bands. That was sort of the focus in the music industry and for venues and promoters in general was. So we never say, “Hey, we are breaking up.” That just never happened. We just you know weren’t playing with Toys. Jason was doing something. I was doing something but we never broke up you know really.
Scott Dalhover: Uuuuuhhh. Man, there is a lot of them! Meeting Lemmy [Kilmister of Motörhead] for the first time and then touring with those guys and Judas Priest and Alice Cooper. That was insane! Getting to meet my heroes like Ronnie James Dio and things like that, those are opportunities that I would have never really had in that kind of setting. Maybe I would have met Ronnie, said “hey” to him and shook his hand but I got to meet Ronnie, go to the studio with him, watch him work with a new band while I was making my first album — that’s just crazy! That’s just, you know, insane [laughs]! There are a lot of those and they still happen. I got to hang out — we were playing the Monsters of Rock Cruise. We played in 2013, 2014 and we are playing again next year, and the last time that we played it, I got to hang out and talk to with another one of my heroes, Akira Takasaki [Loudness guitarist], for half an hour. But you know, things like that wouldn’t happen if Dangerous Toys had not happened — more than likely.
Sleaze Roxx: And what about the low point in your career in Dangerous Toys?
Scott Dalhover: Oooohhh. I don’t know. I don’t measure my life by low points so I don’t know. Hmmm [long pause]. Stevie Ray Vaughan dying in 1990 [laughs].
Scott Dalhover: That was a low point [laughs]! I was in Dangerous Toys and that was a low point. That was probably the lowest point. I can’t think of anything dealing with the band. I can’t think of any negative stuff you know. You get signed; it’s a high point. You get let go. It’s just like being a football player or basketball player or baseball player. You have your options and you do your things. I consider that we got signed to one of the biggest labels in the world and made good records and made money for them, which is how you keep doing that and make a career out of it. So I can’t think of any low points [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough. Branching out a little bit — I know that you have had your guitar company for a long time now. Do you find that has been a good way for you to stay in the music business?
Scott Dalhover: Sure! Yeah! I mean I’ve got friends out there playing the guitars and folks love them. I got Jacob Bunton out there and he’s playing in Lynam. He’s got a Ghost Machine [guitar]. Paul Lidel of Dangerous Toys [laughs] — I made him a guitar and that is all he plays now! I gave it to him and said, “Hey man — if you like it, play it!” Now, that’s all he plays. That is his main guitar and he loves it. It’s cool. Plus you know, I just have friends that come and buy them or whatever and they love it. And it’s cool and it keeps you in with the younger generation too, you know. There are guys coming up now in their teens and 20s and you get to see what they are doing and get to enjoy watching them play the guitars as well. And just the regular folks — just folks that just want a good guitar and are not necessarily playing live. They have it at home and they love it. Hey! That is cool to see too!
Scott Dalhover: I started probably around 2000 or so and I just got a bike because I had gotten fat [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: I started to ride the bike and I started going with much tougher groups to ride with and that led to racing and that led to you know, all sorts of opportunities to race out there. It’s just a lot of fun! Since the guitar company has come up just last year, I haven’t really raced and I really miss it. But now that I’ve got the company afloat better and it’s pretty much, you know, a well oiled machine running, I may get back to it in 2016 so you’ll see me out there racing again and that will be a lot of fun [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: So I know that you are a pretty positive guy just from speaking to you a little bit but do you ever think, “Wow. If Dangerous Toys had started a couple of years earlier, maybe the band would have stayed around longer?” Not stay around longer but would have had more albums and stuff like that?
Scott Dalhover: Yeah. I know what you mean. Yeah. That would have likely had happened but you know, it is what it is. It could also be, “Hey man! We came out two years later [laughs]!”
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] For sure!
Scott Dalhover: So yeah, I mean we could of but who knows? Maybe we would not have been ready by than? Maybe not as seasoned as we were as songwriters or whatever else? I think that it is good to get out there. We were only together for six months before we got signed. So we were not together very long as it was. So yeah. Maybe it would have happened? Maybe we would have made a first album and no one would have ever heard it? So, I just go with the way things go.
Scott Dalhover: Ooohhh. I don’t know [laughs]. I’m a great interview aren’t I [laughs]?
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: I do not know! There are some that are fun to play. Like “Take Me Drunk” is fun to play. “Scared” is fun to play. “That Dog” I like to play. We still play “That Dog” live mainly because I like the riff and like to play it. I really don’t have… I really don’t know [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Last question for you — a little bit of a toughie. What are you three all-time favorite albums and why?
Scott Dalhover: Hmmm. ‘Van Halen I’ is still one of my all-time favorite albums because it is just one of the baddest albums ever put out. That record spawned a million guys like me who stated tapping on the fretboard like Eddie [Van Halen] and put one pick up in the rear of their guitar like Eddie. You know, taking a strat shaped guitar. You know Eddie Van Halen — that cat — I mean c’mon man, he changed the guitar business and the music business and guitar players in general. All of these companies like Kramer and Charvel and Jackson and Ibanez — any company that was making a strat shaped guitar, a pick up and a [inaudible], they should pay Eddie royalties! And every guy tapping on a fretboard owes that towards Eddie pretty much. So that album — plus all the songs were killer. They are just a great band. When I heard that album, I was like “Holy crap!” I was late coming into that. I don’t think that I discovered them until ’81 or so. I think that album came out in ’78. That changed a lot for me so that was a great one! Hmmm…
Sleaze Roxx: Two more!
Scott Dalhover: Another album — well, let’s see. Man, there are so many. I would say that ‘Diary Of A Madman’ was another one because the minute I heard — the minute I heard Randy [Rhoads] playing, I had no idea. I was like, “What the hell is this?” Same thing — I went out and got that record and I am like, “Holy crap!” I can still remember sitting there with my guitar figuring out how to play all those songs, play all those licks. So that was a big one. As you can see, these are all kind of guitar albums. And then I would also say, it’s a tie for third with Alcatrazz’s ‘No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and Yngwie’s [Malmsteen] ‘Rising Force.’ Obviously, Yngwie is on both of them. Both of them had a huge effect on how I thought about playing things, scales, chords, or whatever else. That guy created another revolution.
Sleaze Roxx: Actually, I have one more question for you. You’ve mentioned that you have a lot of songs in the hopper type of thing. Is there any chance that you think we could get an EP from Dangerous Toys in 2016?
Scott Dalhover: Maybe.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Scott Dalhover: Maybe. Maybe. I can’t say yes or no. Maybe. If you ask Jason, he might give you a solid answer but I don’t know. I know what I have and I know what I have ready. I know how easy it is for me to polish it up and hand it to the band, and probably in a matter of two to three days, between Mark, Mike and myself, we would have enough of them done so that we could have Jason come in and throw some lyrics and vocals and tweak them further. I mean it would be hard. But if we could set aside a week or two to come down and work on a few songs for a couple of hours per day, we could have something done for 2016. Whether that will happen, we will have to see.