Ben Cameron

Bendigo’s The Golden Vine holds a special place in the heart of Dallas Crane lead singer Dave Larkin.
The renowned, local music haunt not only played host to one of their first ever live shows back in the late 90s, it was also the joint they got the boot from.
So around a decade after accepting a blunt on stage, Dallas Crane is back this Saturday night to make up for lost time.
“Somebody passed us a joint on stage,” Dave tells bendigo magazine.
“There were 20 people in the room and one of them happened to be a cop. They told us not to come back for a while.
“I think that was the last one we played (at The Golden Vine).”
True fans will know The Crane had built a rep as one of Australia’s most dependable live acts by the time their self titled third album was ARIA nominated in 2004.
With a support gig for The Who at the Melbourne Grand Prix, and afforded the luxury of picking their time slot at Meredith Music Festival one year, they were heady days which far surpassed the band’s baseline expectations.
“We took the band further than we ever thought it would go,” Dave says.
“We didn’t really have any (plans), we were just avoiding getting a job.
“We didn’t have weekly band meetings how we were going to conquer the world.”
They may have conquered the country for a time, but after years of relentless touring and making “some textbook errors”, Larkin says the band eventually found itself on the brink of self implosion by 2009.
“For a number of reasons we burnt both ends of the candle out,” he says.
“We just made some textbook errors.
“Most of this came from making bad decisions when overworked and exhausted.,, we were always touring, touring six to nine months of the year.
 “We just weren’t agreeing on stuff… rather than destroy each other we thought we’d just step away for a while.
“We had a really captive audience then.”
Things haven’t changed too much as that captive audience still exists: Dallas Crane’s long awaited new album, Scoundrels, was crowded funded by the fans, and Larkin was “amazed at the take up” despite his initial reluctance.
“Partly because I just didn’t know if anybody would (get involved),” he says.
“But clearly not, we raised all the target in nine days, from two facebook posts.
“We don’t have the luxury of label money anymore, which is a good thing as you end up paying it back anyway through your sales.
“And if you don’t pay it back you just get dropped.”
How much of a slog is it to make a living out of music these days?
“It’s almost impossible in Australia,” he says.
“Even prominent artists here struggle. Radio for artists in Australia is like the freeway shutting down between states. There’s no way to A to B without it.”
The band may caught the ear of Triple J through signature tunes like Sit On My Knee and No Through Road but times have changed, Larkin believes.
“We wouldn’t even bother today ( trying to get JJJ airplay),” he says.
“They won’t touch Dallas Crane, even if they think it’s amazing, it’s not their demographic, it’s not how they think.
“There’s only one artery to the masses, we need a couple of Triple Js.
“It’s hard to break out of your own state… it’s all fun trying, it is the industry of hope after all.”
What was the secret to Dallas Crane’s initial success?
“We always wanted to make sure whatever we wrote we could play live,” he says.
“We didn’t want our album to sound too far off what you were going to get live.
“We didn’t get too carried away with layers in our recordings.
“There was no gap between band and audience, we were just four guys out of the audience trying to make everyone excited.
“It’s all about your songs, you can waste all your money on fancy artwork, fancy production, photo shoots, but it’s always about your songs when it comes to longevity.”
Do you have an all time favourite?
“I like them all. You love them all differently at the time, then you end up dropping all your babies off at the orphanage and hope they find a good home,” he laughs.
“Dirty Hearts only just made the album, because we thought it was a bit stupid and dumb. And it ended up being the one that resonated the most.
“I’m useless picking the good ones out of the bad ones.”
 
Dallas Crane play The Golden Vine on October 30.