Rock It: Dan Vapid and the Cheats vocalist talks Blitzkrieg Bash

Posted on November 13, 2013

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Rock It: Dan Vapid and the Cheats vocalist talks Blitzkrieg Bash

Dan Vapid and the Cheats (Photo Provided)

Dan Vapid and the Cheats (Photo Provided)

By Rachael Mattice

“The Ramones were a band that made me want to be in a band for real,” said frontman Dan Vapid of Dan Vapid and the Cheats. “Their influence is ingrained in the way I write a song and (they) will always be a band that I will love until the day I die.”

Chicago-based Vapid is one of thousands in a punk army who exert the “simplicity and catchiness of the quality” of The Ramones’ legacy in their music.

On Saturday, the band, along with The Gestalts, Fergus Daly Band, The Enders, Rad Example, Traveling, Broke and Out of Gas, and Future Lovers, will honor the Ramones at the third annual Blitzkrieg Bash. Not only does the event celebrate Joey Ramone’s birthday, but it holds a dual purpose as a benefit for the Community Cancer Network.

Blitzkrieg Bash will be hosted at the Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., with Dan Vapid and the Cheats as headliners.

Vapid said his band plans to cover a few Ramones songs for the show in addition to their own set from their debut album. Dan Vapid and the Cheats is a pop-punk band that fuses the speed and aggression of punk and early-’60s doo-wop.

“Some of my favorite songwriters are from the early ’60s when they were at their peak, like Jeff Barry, Carole King, John Lennon and Paul McCartney,” Vapid said. “I really like their sound, but I also love a great punk rock song.

“For this record it’s pretty similar with slower, moody songs and with a faster, punk attitude,” he said. “It sounds pretty natural too, not like we are trying to sound like different stuff.”

Like any well-written album, there is no across-the-board favorite song among fans. Vapid has heard some compliments on his band’s tracks “Good Enough,” “Girl Group” and “Die Trying.”

Over his very colorful music career with many band roles, Vapid gained the most notoriety with Screeching Weasel, a punk band formed in 1986, as well as his other side projects Generation Waste, Sludgeworth, The Riverdales, The Queers, The Mopes, the Methadones and Noise by Numbers.

“I don’t have a favorite project, record or song although I think some turned out better than others,” Vapid said. “Screeching Weasel’s record ‘My Brain Hurts’ is important to me as well as The Methadones’ ‘Not Economically Viable.’ ”

Screeching Weasel, Vapid’s most famous band, has been said to guide other mainstream band successes including Blink-182, Green Day, The All-American Rejects, Rise Against and Alkaline Trio, most with members performing in or with the band over the course of several years.

But Screeching Weasel had its fill of issues, including an act of violence toward a female fan by vocalist Ben Weasel at the South by Southwest Festival that led to the ultimate demise of the band and the development of Dan Vapid and the Cheats.

“I was constantly really unhappy with the band,” Vapid said. “I wasn’t smiling very much and it got to the point many years later that I realized I didn’t need to be a sucker for art, it was ridiculous.”

“I was happy with the music being made, I had a couple good times and was part of good records, but most of the experiences were pretty negative. It just wasn’t worth it to me anymore.”

Maybe there is more difficulty succeeding in the punk rock market, or maybe it’s just intellectual boredom, but Vapid credits craving something different that doesn’t fit what you are doing in a current band as reason for his involvement in so many side projects.

“In some ways its good and healthy to play with new people. Your band mates have their strengths and weaknesses and with new people you also gain their new strength and that comes with new creativity.”

Vapid made some of those new musical acquaintances locally. Lafayette native Dan Lumley was the drummer in The Mopes, The Riverdales and The Methadones.

“I know him through Mass Giorgini, who recorded a bunch of records of mine in Lafayette through Sonic Iguana Studios back in 2003,” he said.

Dan Vapid and the Cheats will release a record in July with a new song titled “She’s Got a Baby,” about Vapid’s wife and entering fatherhood.

The band is performing at Insubordianation Fest with The Mopes as well as doing a short tour through Ohio in June. To read more about Dan Vapid and the Cheats, visit their Facebook page,

Bandcamp page and website, danvapidandthecheats.com.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

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Posted in: "Rock It" Column