I know what the two of you out there who read this column on a regular basis (Hi Rich! Hi Other Guy Who Reads My Column!) are thinking: "Hey, wasn't this supposed to be the sequel to the overlong, overdramatic Teengenerate/Firestarter column?" Why yes, it was. However, it looks like I won't be able to finish that column at the moment. Y'see that column is supposed to be brimming with optimism and end on a resoundingly upbeat note, but due to recent events I'm feeling anything but optimistic about life these days. Simply put, I can't fake my way through what is intended to be a life-affirming column when I'm overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness in real life. If anyone reads these things and actually cares one way or the other (and even if they don't) I will try to finish that column as soon as things start looking up for me. I promise.

Instead, this issue I offer to you a mini-interview with Daniel DiMaggio. Daniel is the man behind Home Blitz, one of the biggest out of left-field seven inch surprises to reach my turntable in recent memory. In fact the Home Blitz single was so enigmatic and initially hard to process that it took me a couple weeks to decide if I really liked it or not. I mean, for those of you who haven't heard it yet, at one point on the b-side he stops singing the song and says "I need to get some gum." How exactly is one to take something like that? Is it a contrived attempt to effect a hopelessly-late-for-the-trend 90's slacker aesthetic ala Pavement and other bands of that ilk, or is it the expression of a genuinely eccentric and innocent lack of interest in convention? After about 20 or so listens I decided it was the latter, and ever since I've been finding myself more and more charmed by various aspects of this record; from the silly non-sequitur lyrics, to the drums that sound like a Playschool kit (not far from the truth actually!), to lead guitar work that brings to mind Jonathan Richman on one song and WEIRD PUNK (TM Eric Lastname) such as Human Eye on the next - this is a record unlike anything I've ever heard. And in this case, that's a good thing. A very good thing.

Steve: Okay, first question. Who/what is Home Blitz? Are the songs on the record all solo recordings as I suspect, or are there other people involved?
Daniel: Yeah, all of the songs on the 7" are just me, and were also written and recorded by me. However, there will be a second Home Blitz 7" in the future performed with a full band line up.

Steve: Will this second single be another self release, or is someone else putting it out? Any chance we'll see ever see Home Blitz live, or would that go against the concept of it being a "Home Blitz?"
Daniel: Yeah, the second single will also be self-released. Beyond that the band will possibly have future releases on labels, I am hoping; there has been some interest expressed by various people. And yeah, I'd like to play live a lot, but the band situation is somewhat unstable at this point. My friend is playing drums, so if we get shows we can play just as a duo, though I'd like to avoid that if at all possible. We need either a drummer or a bass player because my friend can do either.

Steve: I noticed on the back of the sleeve that it said "songs recorded 2003-2005." This leads me to believe either A) you only record one song a year or B) you have a stockpile of unreleased material recorded. If, as I suspect, the latter is the case, around how many songs are you sitting on right now?
Fucking hippies Daniel: Unfortunately A) is almost closer to the truth. There is tons of stuff I have recorded since I was little on cassettes and stuff, but when it comes to recently recorded actual rock songs I am pretty slow. I am trying to do more now. There are two other songs that were recorded around the time that the three on the 7" were, but I decided not to put them out as one of them was a little too faggy/sensitive even for me, and the other one I thought was too stock. It also contains a sort of dig at the band Sunburned Hand of the Man, another reason I think it would be best to keep in the vaults.

Steve: I'm going to have to plead ignorance on Sunburned Hand of the Man. Who is that? From the sound of the name, they probably deserve a dig or two.
Daniel: They are a rock/improv/psych noise kind of group. I like them pretty well, but it just fit into the song.

Steve: I see. How important is it for you not to write songs that are too "stock" as you put it? The songs on the single have some great pop hooks, but it's very atypical stuff. Very hard material for lazy record reviewers like myself to describe for people...
Actually a decent record. Daniel: I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I try to write new songs. It is pretty important to me I'd say. I feel like it would be easy and maybe more fun to play more generic punk/power pop type songs, and I think that might be the direction I am leaning in when I try to make new ones. Though maybe not. At worst I can just make it sound alright by having the lyrics be weird or putting in stupid guitar stuff.

Steve: One thing I've discovered with writing songs myself, is that sometimes you don't really get to choose how the songs come out. Sometimes it's just a case of the music you listen to subliminally influencing you to write a certain way. Would you agree with this? Also, what records are occupying a lot of time on your turntable lately?
Daniel: I guess I hope that's the case. Lately I have been listening to Angry Samoans "Unboxed Set", The Fall "Palace of Swords Reversed", Raspberries "Starting Over", and there is a song I like a lot on the Rick Derringer album 'All American Boy' entitled "Cheap Perfume." It is awesome.

Unbelieveable that Steve turns the conversation towards the Raspeberries, huh?

Steve: Where do you think 'Starting Over' ranks amongst the Raspberries' LPs?
Daniel: I actually only have the second one, 'Starting Over', and a greatest hits, but I think I like 'Starting Over' a lot more than the second one. There seem to be more rocking songs on it. I still need the first and third ones. "I Don't Know What I Want" is an amazing song. I want to cover it in Home Blitz if the band ever performs live.

Steve: Personally, I like 'Side 3' the most, but 'Fresh' and 'Starting Over' are also classics. I saw them play in rural Wisconsin this summer and it was surprisingly great. I think Home Blitz covering "I Don't Know What I Want" would probably sound great. I would suspect you to go for "Hands on You" or something like that based on the songs I've heard. Moving on, there's one thing I've been dying to ask you ever since I first heard the single: what's up with the part in "Hey!" when you stop the song and say "I gotta get some gum?"
Daniel: (Laughs) I forget exactly why I did that. I think partially because I didn't like where the second verse was going, so I decided to just stop and start up again with a guitar solo. So getting some gum was an excuse to stop the song.

Steve: I mean, seriously, the first time I heard this I was really taken aback. I wasn't sure what to make of it at all. Now I think it's sort of charming. So, basically you're just like: "fuck this verse, I'm getting some gum," and then you just pick the song up from there?
Daniel: Yeah I would say so. Though during the actual recording of the song, Necco Wafers were used in place of gum. See if you really understand recording techniques, you know that having gum in your mouth would make singing tough.

Steve: This is the kind of scoop you're only going to read in TB folks. I've actually never tried to sing with gum in my mouth, but I imagine it wouldn't work that well. Speaking of recording vocals, do you find it easy to do since you are recording alone? I had to get a bit drunk in order to not be really embarrassed doing it in front of people.
Daniel: I record stuff in like, the house by our pool that also serves as my dad's office, so I am scared of my parents coming in and hearing, but otherwise, yeah, it is easier because there's nobody else there.

Steve: How old are you if you don't mind my asking?
Daniel: 20 years old.

Steve: Well, you're certainly off to a great start with Home Blitz. How did you record the "solo" on "Apocalyptic Grades?"
Daniel: Thanks. Um, I think the "the solo" was recorded the same way as the other parts. If I remember correctly it sounds kind of weird because I was also playing an unplugged electric guitar while I sang. I think that is why it sounds that way.

Steve: How did you get the drums to sound so great on "AC S.S.?" Also, what is the AC S.S.? I would imagine it has something to do with the link between air conditioning and the Nazis...
Daniel: (Laughs) No, actually it stands for "Arts Council Summer Stage," which is, or was at least, an event during the summer in Princeton, NJ where bands play outside in front of the Princeton Arts Council at night. I think it takes place several times over the course of the summer. I guess I abbreviated it like that to make it less obvious, and I suppose also to approach "Nazi chic." The "drums" were actually just the lid of like an old grain barrel or something that came from my great grandmother that I found in the basement, and part of a kid's drum set that had fallen apart. Oh, and an African drum for the bass drum too, because I recorded it in my room before I had real drums. I believe that is the oldest song on the 7".

Oh, c'mon, you know it's a good record...

Steve: So, did you hope to play this song at the Arts Council Summer Stage? Speaking of Nazi-chic, any plans to record a Skrewdriver cover? The Plastic Pets do "Antisocial" but I'm sure there's something you could do.
Daniel: Yeah, actually I would like to play there. I am not sure if it will go down though for a variety of reasons. I think the places I would most like the band to play are at like local Princeton events. As far as Skrewdriver, I used to have 'All Skrewed Up' on my computer and it was pretty good. Once I was talking to Tony Rettman and he compared some of the Nazi-era singles to Andrew WK, so I think I will check them out eventually.

Steve: You should cover "Where's it Gonna End." That story about the drums is PERFECT. Seriously. What is your take on the first Reatards single?
Daniel: Yeah actually I work with that dudes' brother, Don Rettman, at the Princeton Record Exchange. My friend was playing the Home Blitz single when it first came out and he thought it was the Reatards. Then he told me that the first Reatards 7" was recorded with pots and pans as drums.

Another fine example of bedroom recording...

Steve: Who is Tony Rettman? The only thing that really sounds like Home Blitz about that Reatards single is the low-budget, recorded in a bedroom feeling it has.
Daniel: (Laughs) Sorry. Tony Rettman is this dude I know who writes for this magazine Blastitude on the internet and other stuff. His name is mentioned on the intro page of Terminal Boredom so I thought it was OK to mention him without introduction.

Steve: Ah, I'm probably not the best guy for knowing that kind of thing. The only new-music related things I read are TB and Agony Shorthand. Is there anything going on worthwhile musically speaking in Princeton NJ these days? What does a happening young man like you do for fun out there?
Daniel: There isn't really anything to do at all. There have recently been some good basement shows in New Brunswick, NJ, though they are all noise music and related weird music. Nothing in Princeton really.

Steve: The single was pressed in a really small print run of 200 copies. Do you have any more left, and if so, around how many?
Daniel: As of now I have about 40 copies left, though by the time this is "published" I would imagine that they will all be sold out, unfortunately. I really didn't expect them to sell this quickly. A lot of them have been sent to distros, so it will probably be possible to still get them from other places.

Back cover of Home Blitz. What does it signify?

Steve: Why is electric guitar the gift that keeps on giving?
Daniel: (Laughs). I dunno really. I guess one never really gets bored of playing it. I would say, like, if you are watching TV and it's boring, if you play guitar at the same time then it is fun. At least that's what I find.

Steve: Me too.


Editor's Note: I'd just like to add this: Has anyone else noticed that "Apocalyptic Grades 2005 A.D." is a reference to Hellhammer's "Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D."?

Contact Daniel/Homeblitz at: Homeblitz-at-gmail.com

Young Steve Borchardt
1115 Paul Parkway #102
Minneapolis, MN 55434

To read past installments of Young Steve go here.