Originally published in MOO Magazine, Issue 1, April 1994
“You know who I like right now? I like Dig” – Adam Sandler, Saturday Night Live funnyman and part time musician
“I have, for some time, hated U2 above any other, and that includes Dig.” Jim Greer, A Year in the Life, Spin Magazine (1994)
So who to listen to? It seems as though the kids, the ones who actually go out and buy music, are the ones who have propelled Dig into the stardom of alternative-format radio and MTV. The fist single/video, “Believe”, has been an MTV staple on 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation, thus earning the title “Buzz Clip”. The so-called rock journalists, most of whom receive free concert tickets and promotional discs, are the ones who have been taking … ahem … digs at the Southern California band. Either way, Dig frontman/guitarist, and new daddy, Scott Hackwith, doesn’t mind the attention his band is generating.
“I think it’s great because we are being talked about, you know,” Hackwith says. “If Soundgarden is so bored that they have to sit there and talk about Dig, I think that’s fucking great,” Hackwith comments in reference to a recent article in Alternative Press where Ben Sheppard, Soundgarden’s bassist, made a few less-than-flattering comments about Dig.
“Soundgarden was saying something that we were Nirvana wanna-bes and I was a Kurt Cobain wanna-be. If I’m white and I got blond hair, it’s like, ‘Sorry’,” Hackwith says. “I don’t know what kind of music Chris Cornell exactly wants me to do, or what he wants me to do with my life, but this is what I’m doing and I’m enjoying myself. I just want to make music.”
With buzzing guitars and lush meolides that cling to the ear like static to flannel, Dig has taken its collective influences (Swervedriver, Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd, Dinosaur Jr, Ride) and created a debut album for Radioactive/MCA that encompasses the band’s passion for performing aggressive, yet soothing, rock songs.
While the textured wall-of-sound provided by guitarists Hackwith, Jon Morris and Johnny Cornwell is the blood and guts of the band, the well-crafted rhythm section of bassist Phil Friedmann and drummer Anthony Smedile is the backbone that holds the musical body upright.
The self-titled debut, produced by Dave Jerden (Alice in Chain, Jane’s Addiction), runs the musical gamut, from the power pop anthem “Believe” to the snotty, post-punk fury “Fuck You” to the the ethereal, dreamy “Green Room”. Each song creates its own identity, allowing Dig to appeal to a mass audience.
The varied influences of the individual musicians makes Dig diverse – diverse enough to have played dates with everyone from the industro-metalists Prong to the Big Star-esque Posies. A few European dates in March with the Smashing Pumpkins had to be turned down because Hackwith had to fly home to California to be with his wife who has having the couple’s first child, Copelan Cash Hackwith (born March 4). Five days later, Daddy and his bandmates returned to the road, opening a series of dates with fellow MTV “Buzz Clippers” Blind Melon.
Everyone in the band agrees that performing headlining shows on as many off-nights as time allows can do nothing but make Dig stronger. The 19-year-old Smedile says that the band tries to hit certain cities a number of times so that audiences will be more familiar with them.
“If we can make enough money to pay our rent and come out and do this every night, that would be fine,” says Hackwith about the band’s incessant touring schedule. This spring, the band will jet off to Europe to open for the Rollins Band, something all the band members are looking forward to. A video for the off-beat “Unlucky Friend”, which shares some similiarities to Radiohead’s “Creep”, is planned for the near future and should be on MTV by early summer.
In his spare time (yeah, like he has a whole lot of that right now), Hackwith is involved with video production, co-producing “Believe” with Graeme Joyce (Stone Temple Pilots) and, more recently, producing the Ramones’ Acid Eaters album.
As parting words, the ever-humble Hackwith offers this: “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we’re this completely different band. As far as MTV is concerned, we made a good video and they play it.”