|Dance Hall Crashers|
|Labels||Moon Ska, MCA, Pink and Black|
|Associated acts||Operation Ivy, Rancid, Screw 32|
Erik Larsen aka Erik Kolacek
J. Grant Mcintire
Dance Hall Crashers (often abbreviated to "DHC") is a ska punk band from Berkeley, California, that formed in 1989. The band was originally made up from two of the members of seminal ska-punk band Operation Ivy. Since both Matt Freeman and Tim "Lint" Armstrong were interested in playing in a purely ska outfit, they recruited original drummer and ska enthusiast Erik Larsen aka Erik Kolacek. The band's original logo and designs were created by Jacob "Kuba" Schwarz, the older brother of future singer Karina Deniké Schwarz. The name itself was brought to the band by Erik Larsen from a song by an older Jamaican ska band. The band started as the result of a conversation (at Tim and Matt's house on Kains Ave. in Berkeley a few blocks from Gilman Street) over the need for a more roots style ska/ rock-steady band between Matt, Tim, Joey Schaaf, and Andrew Champion. The first line-up was based on these four with the addition of Erik Larson after Andrew called him up and got him to take time away from the Liquidators (His then current project, also a roots style ska band) to sit in on the new project. Grant Mcintire (Friend and sometime roadie for Operation Ivy) was also brought in on guitar and to help with songwriting duties.
The band experimented with various songs and styles until they played the very first purely ska show ever booked at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley. Although the band played ska, the feeling and the vibe was definitely influenced by punk rock.
Immediately following their debut, Matt and Tim decided to pursue other interests, mainly a new project called Downfall.
DHC then spent a period of time experimenting with various lineups, finally settling with Karina Deniké Schwarz and Elyse Rogers on vocals, Jason Hammon and Jaime McCormick on guitar, Joel Wing on bass and Erik Larsen on drums.
Following a series of gigs and the usual ups and downs of a young band, DHC finally caught a break playing at an all-ska Earth Day festival at Berkeley's Greek Theatre in 1990. Also on the bill was legendary band Bad Manners from the UK.
In 1990, the then-current lineup of DHC recorded an album for Moon Records, and the band disbanded soon after. Bowing to pressure from fans to play a reunion gig in 1992, the response to their performance was so positive that they immediately reformed on a permanent basis. In 1993, Moon Records released a CD compilation entitled 1989-1992, capturing the 1990 release, early 1989 recordings and a collection of new songs. Soon after, the band settled on a lineup of Rogers and Denike on vocals, Hammon on guitar, his brother Gavin on drums, guitarist Scott Goodell and bassist Mikey Weiss.
In 1994 a short west coast tour was booked with SCREW 32(Screw 32 had two ex-members of the Dance Hall Crashers A. Champion and Mcintire) to bury the hatchet (so to speak) over disputes of lyrical as well as song writing credits.
The very first group signed to MCA’s new 510 division, they issued their debut LP Lockjaw in 1995. A single from Lockjaw titled "Enough" was featured in the soundtrack to the film Angus and the music video received moderate airplay on MTV's 120 Minutes. Lockjaw was the first DHC release without horns, and had a harder, guitar-driven sound than the band's prior recordings.
A re-issue of their first CD compilation 1989-1992 was released as The Old Record in late 1996 on Fat Wreck Chords' Honest Don's label, much to the delight of the band's newer fans. DHC's second MCA record, Honey I’m Homely! arrived in 1997. HIH was a more polished and pop-produced version of DHC that nicely showed off the band's knack for a pop hook with nodding to its ska roots. The tracks "Lost Again" and "Mr. Blue" enjoyed rotation on local and college radio stations across the U.S., and music videos were made for both tracks. "All Mine," also from Honey I’m Homely! was featured on the Dawson's Creek soundtrack.
The band toured extensively during the mid to late 90's, both as a headliner and opening for acts such as Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Bad Religion. In addition, the band played festivals such as the Warped Tour and Lilith Fair. Due to the heavy touring schedule, Scott Goodell bowed out from his guitar duties in 1996; the band asked Phil Ensor from Limp and later, Billy Bouchard to stand in for live shows.
The band released Blue Plate Special EP, in 1998 as their last release with MCA. The EP contained a short collection of songs recorded for other compilations/soundtracks, unreleased and remixed material, and a CD-ROM of photos and the band's four music videos.
Returning to an independent label, the 1999 studio effort Purr, in which the band returned to its louder, plugged-in sound while keeping its trademark wit, and 2000’s The Live Record: Witless Banter and 25 Mildly Antagonistic Songs About Love were both released on Fat Wreck Chords' Pink and Black label. The Live Record serves as a greatest hits compilation, and well captures the energy of DHC concerts.
In November 2004 they played and recorded a show at the Hollywood House of Blues; the concert was released by Kung Fu Records in September 2005 as part of the popular The Show Must Go Off! DVD series. Aside from playing a few local shows in the early 2000s, the band had since been on hiatus. DHC celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2009.
Music by DHC has also appeared on a wide variety of ska, ska-punk, and pop-punk compilations, as well as movie soundtracks.