Interview: Dan Vapid And The Cheats

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Dan Vapid has been a monumental part of the punk rock scene for decades; playing in such bands as Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Methadones, and his current group, Dan Vapid And The Cheats – who are gearing up for T1 Fest (more information on this festival is at the end of the interview) in Joliet, IL this November (2019). We had the chance to chat with Vapid about the T1 Fest and what it means to him to play a benefit show like this, their latest album Three and what to expect from it, the new music their currently working on, how the punk rock scene has changed over the years, and much more!

1. You’ll be part of the bill for T1 Fest in Joliet, IL on Saturday November 9th. What are you most looking forward to with being a part of this show?

The Smoking Popes are one of my all-time favorite bands and I hold the Lillingtons in very high regard. Getting to see both bands on the same day is what I’m looking forward to most. Playing our set and reconnecting with old friends would come in at a very close second.

2. T1 Fest is all for the benefit of JDRF Illinois, who’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent, and treat T1D and its complications. What does it personally mean to you to be able to be a part of helping with their cause?

I’m glad to be a part of anything that promotes cures for illness, well being and positive change. The great aspect about raising funds and awareness for this issue is we get to have lots of fun doing it. It’s a win for everyone.

3. This month (October 2019) will see you re-issue your self-titled album. Why did you feel that now was the right time to re-release this?

Our debut LP has been out of print for a few years now. We have planned on repressing this record, but October of 2019 was just the soonest we could get to achieving that goal.

4. What are the perks, so-to-speak, that make the re-issue a must-have collectible piece for your fans who already own the album?

Our first and second record both had limited edition of colored vinyl - red, orange, blue and splatter - which sold out quick. Lots of people were asking myself and the label if colored vinyl would part of the reissue. So, due to popular demand, we pressed new colors for all the record nerds.

5. Your latest album Three came out earlier this year. For someone who hasn’t picked up a copy of it yet, tell us a little bit about the album and why they need to have it.

Three took a period of six years to finally release. It wasn’t due to a lack of inspiration but a deficiency in time from life changing circumstances; mostly having kids, buying and selling a house, moving out of Chicago, to name a few.

The songs accumulated over the span of 4 or 5 years, so it lends itself to different perspectives. With that being said, I also set out to mostly make a positive record. Whether or not that comes through is debatable, but it’s my favorite record of the three.

6. For someone who is still on the fence about purchasing the album, what few songs from it do you feel they should take a listen to, to help show them what they can expect from the album as a whole?

“The Time We Get,” “The Sky Is Electric Blue,” and “Chase Away the Darkness” - They can expect a common thread running through most of the songs without all sounding alike.

7. You recently posted that you were working on some new material for the next record. With this new material, what will your longtime fans hear that is similiar, but also what will be different then what they've heard from you in the past?

I wrote a fictional account of a love triangle told from the perspective of all involved; before, during and after a separation/divorce. I tried to place the best argument for each person and to convey that truth is often murky. Hopefully it comes through, we’ll see.

Musically speaking, it has more of a power pop feel. I’m thinking it will likely have a familiar feel to some of my other songs written in the past.

8. Your career in punk rock music spans decades, playing with such iconic bands as Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, the Methadones, and more. What do you feel is the reason that you’ve been able to have such longevity in an industry that usually sees bands come and go?

I sometimes wonder when my time will run out. I’m always asking myself if I’m too old or have worn out my welcome with playing in a band. But deep down, it’s either anxious self-talk or reverberations of ageist bullshit I’ve been hearing for years. The bottom line is that I love writing songs, so I’m going to continue to follow that passion.

9. During your entire career, you’ve been a part of the Chicago punk rock scene. How have you seen that local scene evolve and change the most throughout your years?

I’ve seen a lot of bands and trends in the punk rock scene come and go.

I’ve seen clubs thrive and rise to legacy status while other venues only survived for a few shows.

I saw Chicago music change with the advent of the internet, like the way we promote for example; Taping a flier in a record store window evolved into a Facebook show event. 

I saw neighborhoods of punk venues change due to gentrification.

I saw the advent of alternative rock, grunge and labels like “pop punk.” 

I’ve seen people age, lose their hair, get wrinkles, gain weight, sport a full head of grey hair and yet still uthentically be themselves.

I’ve had passing’s with others with similar description who view punk rock as a phase of their youth only to become a boring adult. 

I’ve seen people never progress and talk about the “good old days.” Those people are often the worst.

As you see, I could go on about that kind of thing forever.  Haha!

10. We’re all about helping the next generation at, so we always end all our Q&A’s with this question. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is just starting out with their first band today? 

Enthusiasm is key. Surround yourself with enthusiastic band members. It can make a huge difference. 


For more information on the T1 Fest, Click the photo below!


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