“And when the night comes to the city I say…I’m sleeping my day away.” – D.A.D.
There we were sitting in Bob Schipper’s basement after school on some Thursday in late 1989. Suddenly Bob’s attention was caught by a music video. We always had our eyes open for unique guitars. Neither of us had ever seen a two string bass before. The neck was insanely thin. The song was called “Sleeping My Day Away”, and the band was D.A.D. — Disneyland After Dark. They already had two albums out in their native Denmark, but this was their first North American single.
It wasn’t just the bass. Even the song was unique. Anchored by a simple three-note lick played on a fat hollowbody guitar, the song had an edge we were unfamiliar with. The singer, Jesper Binzer, had a cool rasp. He wore a tie in the video and the bassist (Stig Pedersen) wore a medic’s helmet! Bob loved ’em. So did the music magazines. It’s a shame that didn’t translate into North American success.
When the bassist’s medic helmet erupted with fireworks during the guitar solo, I didn’t know what to think about D.A.D. Were they serious? Were they a joke? I should have just listened to the music, but it wasn’t easy to find their album.
D.A.D.’s No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims is made up of 12 sparky rock tunes. They range from 2:04 at the shortest to 4:36 at the longest. If guessed that punk rock must be an influence, you would be correct. No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims has that energy and sneer, crossed with the melodic sensibilities of classic hard rock. Also a knack for a memorable lyric; not the easiest task when English is your second language.
“Jihad! I’m gettin’ mad! And there’s no fuel left for the pilgrims,” sings Jesper, somehow stretching the word “mad” into two syllables. “Jihad” is an adrenaline-fueled blast, revealing the band’s punk rock roots. But they slow it down to a strong beat on “Point of View”, a melodic bright spot with more of that catchy hollowbody echoing hooks. “Rim of Hell” slows it down further, turning up the menace. “They throw the best damn parties at the rim of hell,” goes the hook, and you’ll be ready to jump in by the end.
“ZCMI” brings AC/DC to the table, adding to the stew of influences. Iggy is definitely in D.A.D.’s record collection too. “Girl Nation” is another catchy highlight, with Jesper imagining an interstellar “female civilization”. Elsewhere, the chorus “I win with a Siamese twin!” tells us where Jesper’s mind is. It’s certainly a unique lyrical theme in music. “Wild Talk” edges into Kiss territory; but it’s Kiss when Bob Kulick was secretly playing guitar! Closing on “Ill Will”, thrash metal is the final genre to be conquered!
No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims contains no duds, and has nothing to skip. Though “Sleeping My Day Away” is clearly the best song, it is among a very strong batch. D.A.D. have that punk rock sense of humour that runs through the album. A reckless, who-gives-a-shit attitude that hints this band will do anything so long as it’s fun to do. It’s a great little album that didn’t particularly fit in with any of their peers coming out of Hollywood.