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Irrationality, chance and intuition

Wren Wertin Arts and Entertainment Editor
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‘When dada came out with pop single “Dizz Knee Land” in 1992, they had no idea they’d jump to the front of the line. The single slid into the #5 slot on Billboard’s pop list.

Several albums, a couple solo careers and one helluva sabbatical later, the group is back together again and touring like mad. The bus stops in Vail today for a show at 8150. Doors open at 8 p.m. and Wild Blooms open.

“We’re having a really good time playing live,” said Michael Gurley (vocals, guitar). “A lot of people are surprised. We’re less of a pop trio than power trio. And the different two-part harmony thing – I feel like we’re making really good music out this time. What changed in the interim? I would say we’re just experimenting more. Relationships change. We’ve been together for 14 years now. You know when to give each other space.”



The group decided to split up after experiencing first hand what’s unfortunately become record company hell: labels are swallowed and recorded songs are lost in the shuffle. Dada took a break from the corporate weirdness.

“We’re a little older and wiser now,” said Gurley. “We just want to make music and tour. It’s really a blessing to just make music and tour.”



These days they’re touring in a big bus, as opposed to a van. But most of the old venues they used to play have met them with open doors and full crowds. According to the Orange County Register, dada illustrates “how much rock music still matters.” Playing with their trademark open-ended style, dada’s records are sometimes used by Pro Audio companies to demonstrate the fidelity of their high-end products.

Gurley is joined by his original bandmates, Joie Claio (vocals, bass) and Phil Leavitt (drums, vocals). They’ve got a frenetic touring schedule, playing 31 shows in 38 days.

They’re touring in support of their latest release, “How To Be Found.” Recorded years ago with MCA, they didn’t think it would ever be released. Gurley is unconcerned with the time lag between recording and release.



“There’s so many songs you record that you don’t even get out,” he explained. “So when we did release it, it was great. And live – we do take it to the next step live. We’ll turn a three-man song into a 14-minute jam. We’re all about the music and keeping it fresh. We get pretty outside. The musicianship level is pretty high.”

The group takes its name from the Dada movement which came out of western Europe. Proponents of Dadaism sought the discovery of authentic reality through the abolition of traditional cultural and aesthetic forms by a technique of comic derision. To this end, irrationality, chance and intuition were the guiding principles.

“Joie and I were walking through the L.A. museum and there was a Dada exhibit there,” said Gurley. “We didn’t know too much about it at the time – we just thought we could make whatever we wanted out of the name. It can be left up to interpretation and we can make any music around it.”

Right now, they’re making music around the clock.


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