Interview: Diesel Boy ‘Gets Old’ on Latest Record

Finding the time to get together to even consider a reunion in a world full of adult responsibilities is one of the downfalls of growing up. Geography, families, and careers can take their toll on one’s desire and ability to rehash the songs of early life, but Diesel Boy have figured out the puzzle. After a 20-year hiatus, they are back with the aptly titled, Gets Old.

These days, Diesel Boy is just one of a slice of what occupies my time,” says “Diesel” Dave Lake, vocalist, guitarist, and main songwriter. “Twenty years ago, the band was basically my whole life.”

The band had talked about getting back together and even had an album scrapped in 2011 because they lived too far away from each other to make it work. They always kept in touch, but Lake and bassist Greg Hensley had more serious discussions about the band during the pandemic. They filled the lineup with fellow Seattle musicians Topher (Christopher Thomas) on drums and Chad Phillips on guitar.

“We spent the next year working on the songs for the record and getting to know each other both musically and personally,” Lake says. “It’s been a total blast.”

Diesel Boy’s songwriting process—Lake noodling on his acoustic guitar until finding chord changes he can write a melody on top of, which leads to the pre-chorus and beyond—has stayed pretty similar, but things were a little different this time around. The songs were written over a longer time span, with some songs dating back several years. Making them sound like a unified body of work was a challenge, but they used technology to their benefit.

“Once I have the basic framework for a song, I can quickly make a good-sounding demo, fire it off to the other dudes who can add their parts, and send it back,” Lake says. “By the time we get into the basement to start working on something, we all know what we’re doing.”

Now a father of two high schoolers and business owner, Lake had struggles coming up with lyrical ideas as he’s grown older. Romance and heartbreak don’t plague him as much anymore, so he has to find inspiration in other places. He has a different perspective now that mixes his middle-aged wisdom with plenty of “dumb stuff” fans have come to expect.

“It’s more challenging to keep yourself interested or not repeat yourself as a writer as you get older,” he says. “You want to feel like you’re pushing forward while still being able to offer fans something they can sink their teeth into.”

The response to the new songs thus far has been great and the band is looking forward to the energy of playing their catalog of songs to a room full of eager people. They’re also excited to travel, talk to people, play festivals and see old friends.

“We aren’t ever going to be a full-time band again, so we hope we can pick and choose the kinds of opportunities we want to pursue,” Lake says of their future plans. “We have jobs and families and lots of other obligations but hope that having Diesel Boy functional again will add a bit of color into our lives. We want to do weekend fly-outs and festivals where we can. The whole process has been a joy, and that’s the biggest lesson. The satisfaction has to come from the work itself. It’s nice to hear that people like what you’re doing, but ultimately, we’re doing this again because we’ve missed it, and it makes us happy.”

Follow the band here. 

Photo courtesy of Jenny James 

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