As ever I’ve been talking to the people I’m lucky enough to be in touch with. At the moment a lot of my attention is focused on one Mr. Adam Harding and his Dumb Numbers project…So I asked if he’d mind me asking a few questions and sharing the answers. In addition, Adam was responsible for creating a number of videos for Lou Barlow/Dale Crover in 2009 so, I confess without asking, I’ve woven them into the piece just to provide some audio/visual amusement as you read…Plus, credit where it’s due! This is great stuff, why wouldn’t I want to share it?
(Adam – earlier email) It was hearing the song ‘Soul and Fire’ on a community radio station in ’93 that really made me want to put my songs onto tape. Then a decade later it was actually Lou Barlow that told me passion is more important than technical ability and to trust my instincts. Lou became one of my closest friends and my proudest musical moment was when he asked me to sing and play on this song:
(Adam) I grew up on all the obvious stuff I guess.. the Beatles, Neil Young, Aersosmith, Cheap Trick, Kiss and AC/DC then in my early teens I was into the Stooges, Wipers, Black Sabbath, Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Dead Kennedys and by my mid-teens I was into Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Melvins, Sebadoh, the Jesus Lizard, Fugazi. I’d pretty much check out anything that was on SST, Homestead, Amphetamine Reptile, Touch & Go, Dischord, Sub Pop, Kill Rock Stars, and Australian labels like Au-go-go, Waterfront, Fellaheen and Dog Meat Records. We’re pretty lucky to have some awesome independent radio stations like RRR and PBS in Melbourne and ZZZ in Brisbane.
(Adam – earlier email) In the interest of sharing, here’s a couple of videos I made back in 2009 for some of Lou’s songs with Dale Crover…
(Adam) I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a town called Geelong, which is an hour drive south of Melbourne. Geelong was a no bullshit working class town, with the Shell oil refinery and Ford motor factory being the major employers. It was home to some amazing local bands like Bored! and Magic Dirt who were a huge influence on me, although it didn’t come out until much later when I finally put a makeshift band together. At the time I was making embarrassingly derivative acoustic 4-track recordings and sending them to Lou and his girlfriend in Boston.
(Adam) It wasn’t until my 20s that I got together with Lou and some friends from Magic Dirt and finally recorded full-band electric versions of my songs. The excitement of this is what led directly to the formation of Dumb Numbers. Dumb Numbers is kind of a revolving door roster with members including Lou and Murph from Dinosaur, Dale Crover, Bobb Bruno from Best Coast, Chad from Emperor X, Steve Patrick from Useless Children and Bonnie Mercer from Dead River. So there’s no real definitive line-up, although for recent live shows it’s been Murph on drums, Steve on bass, Bonnie on guitar, and I play guitar and sing.
(Adam) I’m very lucky to be able to write songs with particular musicians in mind and then get to have them play on the songs. I don’t like to tell people what to play. My band mates are some of my favourite musicians in the world and I prefer to let them bring their own thing to the songs and make them better. Surround yourself with people more talented than you, that’s my motto!
(Adam) So the first Dumb Numbers release is a song on the Cause & Effect 3×7″ release on Joyful Noise Recordings along with tracks by Lou Barlow, Thurston Moore and David Yow. I’m still pinching myself about having a track on this release alongside 3 of my biggest musical heroes. Then we just finished mastering the full-length Dumb Numbers album will be out in a few months and we’re also planning a US tour for later in the year…
And here it is; the first Dumb Numbers release: