As a pimply, teenaged computer geek, living on the coast, I first came across Dow Jones and The Industrials sometime around 2005 when typing 'Killed By Death' or 'Bloodstains' or 'punk' into Soulseek.
It started with "Can't Stand The Midwest" on the Bloodstains Across The Midwest compilation. I had a small group of internet music nerds to swap mp3s and an even smaller group of IRL friends that would meet up and play music and show off the weird bands we'd found on Soulseek or 7"s we bought from eBay. It was one of those things where I'd show a friend my Bloodstains mp3s and he'd show me Psycho Surgeons in return etc.
Originally, consisting of Greg Horn (guitar, vocals), Chris Clark ( bass, vocals), drummer Tim North, and Brad Garton (otherwise known as "Mr. Science") on keyboards, Dow Jones and the Industrials were a punk/new wave band from West Lafeyette, Indiana that existed from 1979 to 1981. During this brief time, they released the classic split LP with Gizmos, Hoosier Hysteria, and a self-titled 7" EP.
Creating art-punk that collided with the confusion and celebration of late 70s technology, it was music that was loud, dumb and hooky. It was ace.
It used to make me feel a bit small when explaining how I got into punk music to older people at local gigs, who used to have to walk through the snow barefoot for 25-kilometres to get their hands on a beat up copy of Banned in Boston. Sometimes I do fantasise about living in a pre-internet time where you had to work hard to hear obscure gems. But that doesn't last long and lets face it, things are so much easier today. Especially when you are given the email address of one of your teen idols and are asked to interview them.
To celebrate the anthology Can't Stand The Midwest 1979-1981 release Sept 16 on Family Vineyardand some upcoming shows in Indiana, I sent Greg Horn some questions.
Hey Soulseek friends – Suck it.
Noisey: Some can't stand the Midwest. Some think the Midwest can be alright. When touring the US, I found the Midwest the best part. Late 70s and early 80s bands like Afrika Korps, Zero Boys, Gizmos, MX-80 Sound, The Panics, Dancing Cigarettes…etc. it seems like Indiana had one of the best music scenes. Who were some of your favourites?
Greg Horn: The Dancing Cigs were probably my fave other band around at the time. And the Dale Lawrence era Gizmos had great songs. The Zero Boys kinda seemed like little kids to us, but we'd hire them to open for us and we played some big shows to 10,000 people with them. Paul Mahern [Zero Boys vocalist] is a sweetheart to this day.
What are some of the highlights of gigs you played?
The funniest I remember was after our bas player Chris ran for the student body president as a publicity stunt and then actually won! We had made up dumb shit campaign slogans like 'Move the Campus to LA' or 'Change the School Colors to Fluorescent Pink'. We played a show at this huge airport hanger place called The Armory with Zero Boys and The Skunts (best name ever!) and Billy from the Gizmos killed us at the end. We had fake blood packs under our shirts and he jumped onstage and murdered us, then we were carried through the crowd bleeding on stretchers.
Haha! Yikes! I'll have to steal that publicity stunt. Did you ever play with The Defekts? I love the one song that I've heard by that band.
Yeah we played with the Defekts a couple times. Izzy and Axl (Bill Bailey) were there in the audience like pimply high school dork bags.
You've got a couple of DJI shows coming up. How long has it been since you all have been on stage together?
Last time we played was the Tim North (original drum mer for DJI) memorial concerts in 2003. We made $20 000 in one weekend to help pay his medical bills.
Do you think you will still perform the Hawaii 5-0 theme or "Whole Lotta Love"? Or go for a newer market and cover the Breaking Bad theme and Green Day?
No. Green Day sucks and we're gonna do different covers. Eno's "Here Come the Warm Jets" and play Gizmos covers very badly to make fun of them.
Are you aware of the current Indiana punk scene? Bands like Coneheads, Liquids, and CCTV et al? What current bands you listen to?
I love the Coneheads I don't think there are any new bands I care about. I listen to Louis Armstrong, Bach, Sparklehorse, My Bloody Valentine.
Outside of Geza X, DJI are one of the only bands that I can think of that have real meaty guitar riffs with weird, paranoia inducing synth overtones. Was it mainly Mr Science bringing the technology or a conscious decision from the group?
We made a concerted effort to have things be exactly the way they are.Nothing comes out of a vacuum- obviously we loved Stooges, Eno, Devo. We just took that and ran with it.
The Red Snerts comp feels like each band making a type of "future music" a style of punk that has more in common with Devo than the Sex Pistols or 60s garage. Was it the new technology available or a growing sickness of a sound that had been done to death? Am I overthinking it? Were you just a bunch of friends making music?
There was absolutely nothing - NOTHING going on here back then. We were the first band here that embraced being weird, being gay, being insane, being outside of society.
The Dow Jones and the Industrials anthology 'Can't Stand The Midwest 1979-1981' will be released Sept 16 on Family Vineyard.
Catch Dow Jones and the Industrials:
Sep 15 - Lafayette at the Spot Tavern
Sep 16 - Indianapolis at the State Street Pub
Sep 17 - Bloomington at the Void
Jake Robertson is a Melbourne musician who plays in Ausmuteants, Drug Sweat, Leather Towel and School Damage.