Down By Law Bio
Over the last 6 years, Down by Law has come to be known as a band of skilled songwriting and burning intensity, spawning audiences all over the world. Their fifth Epitaph release "Last of the Sharpshooters" is a testament to years of hard work and talent. It will prove all that hear it that real punk rock can remain true to itself, while breaking down musical barriers.
Down By Law are about making music. The fact that people call it punk rock is almost incidental. Dave Smalley, singer/songwriter, explains it is like this: "I write songs from the heart, and the way they come out is a result of the way we play and the way we view the world. We're classified as punk rock because of the attitudes that we have. That's what we happen to sound like."
In an age of bands that have been formed since the newest wave of punk rock mania, Down By Law is the real deal. The history of the band members speaks for itself: Dave Smalley started DYS in 1982 and Dag Nasty in 1986 after which he sang on the first two All records. Sam Williams was in Florida punk bands Balance & Slap of Reality, and Angry John was in the Clay Idols & The Leonards. This undeniable pedigree has earned them maximum respect from the people who know best...their fans.
And their fans will no doubt cheer "Last of the Sharpshooters." Each DBL record has improved since the last, and this is no exception. This is the first time Dave has co-produced one of their records, so the sound quality is exactly what they were looking for. It starts off with "USA Today", which is about the condition of America and the news media's take on it: Turn on your TV now, my son / In North Hollywood I see the guns are blazing / Well you can't believe it / But you'd best believe it / This is your USA Today. That leads right into the ultra-anthemic "No Equalizer", and straight into "Call to Arms." Dave Smalley has always been known for his insightful, heart-felt lyrics. In "Urban Napalm", a song inspired by the Los Angeles riot in '92, he pleads for the end of hatred in LA: White boy, white boy - why you gotta act so proud? / Black boy, black boy - why you gotta talk so loud? / White boy, white boy - so afraid you buy a gun / black boy, black boy - so busy hating everyone / nothing comes free / and this town ain't half of what it used to be / nothing comes free / do you hear the sound of the world burning down?
Expect to see a lot of Down By Law this year, as they will be spending more time on the road than ever before. Angry John said "Our commitment to getting the word out has only become more intense over the years." They've already been to Europe 4 times, including huge festivals such as Dynamo in Holland, and they will be returning there on the Warped Europe tour in '97. Also, they've toured the States about a gazillion times, including the Warped tour in '96, and will be headlining a tour of the United States in the Fall / Winter of this year.
With 5 Epitaph releases under their belts, DBL have established a place in the punk rock history books as one of the longest running, most dedicated bands. The songs, the values, the work ethics, and the sheer power of emotion, combine to assure DBL a place in the hearts of anyone who hears them. "Last of the Sharpshooters" is a powerful, lyrically dark record that music fans can really believe in.