15 Minutes with DRI's Kurt Brecht


FrankenSounds were incredibly fortunate to catch up with Kurt Brecht of DRI backstage at The Hifi Brisbane to talk of their last trip to Australia, a recent branding incident and to share pearls of wisdom.

“When we first got to Australia in 87, they just dumped us at a hotel right across from the beach in Sydney, they just left us there for like 3 days.” DRI have not been on our sandy shores since but remember it fondly, “Going out there to the beach, everybody was tanned and healthy looking, jogging around and all that, and we were all like pasty white, drinking these big cans of beer…”

Strangers in a strange land, it didn’t stop them trying to make new friends, “There was some big buff muscle bound women, beautiful I guess, but not my type. Our soundman was there looking at her and he was like, 'She’s hot’ or whatever, we said ‘go talk to her’. He went over and said HEY! What’s up?’ Her response: I’m getting the fuck out of here.. it was pretty funny to watch.” Despite the alien welcome DRI were “Just happy to be in Australia.”

And the first gig? “The first gig we played... I don’t know where it was but we didn't event get to play. There was fighting and people throwing bottles and stuff outside and they just shut it down. That was our first experience.” It’s been so long since the 4 of a kind have played here, we don’t even trade like we used to. “You guys have a different kind of money now. Spike saved some money from the last time and so did I but I couldn’t find mine, I’d just moved and I just didn’t feel like looking for it but he brought his, and he showed it to The (Drunk) Promoter and he was like “Is This Still Good?” The response: “We’ve changed it now but I think you can take it to a collector's shop and you can get more money for it or something" so I think he was going to do that. Exchange it, laughing he recalls…“It’s been that long.”

Not such a cool welcome, their second journey has consisted of cuddly Koalas and feeding friendly natives, “There were 2 different Koalas so I got the smaller one, who was a teenager, it's been fun, we got to feed the kangaroos.” 

Australia is just a part of the bigger picture, DRI have been playing shows consistently over the last couple of months, most notably, Mexico, “We did a little tour in Mexico, crowds are real wild over there, Thrash is a little newer to them, the scene is just getting bigger. We started playing there a long time ago so we've got a really good scene going there. We play the main cities but each time we go there we play places we’ve need been before.”


“People have been saying ‘Without a new album you can't go on tour', the shows are just going to get worse and worse but the shows just keep getting better and better, more people, bigger venues and crazier shows.”


Advice You Want to Hear

Solid pearls of wisdom are few and far between in the music industry. If you want to succeed as a musician, there are a couple of things Uncle Kurt would like to share with you, “The first thing, we used to have a lot of roadies and managers Tour Manager, Regular Manager, Guitar Tech, Bass Tech, t-shirt people, all this different stuff, and it was fun doing that but you end up supporting all these other people and then you don’t end up making enough money to survive.” 

Getting back to DIY Brecht explains, “We’ve learned little by little just to take over those people’s jobs, we’re doing everything ourselves now. No management, doing our own booking. I sell the shirts, the guitar player tunes his own guitars. Everybody just does their own stuff.” 

Brand recognition is also top of list, “Build brand recognition. Like we did with our logo and have it on everything so people start relating to it.”

The conversation quickly turns to a very recent incident of brand theft. DRI found their logo on a not to be named Australian company sign, complete with the band colours and text placement, “That was funny! I called that guy up today.” The questions came thick and fast from Brecht to the perpetrator, “I asked him if he knew if that was our logo? I said we’re a band from the United States and we’re here in Australia right now and he said, ‘No. I didn’t know at all.’ 

“I asked 'where did you get the logo from?' The guy had never heard of the band and ripped off an old friends tattoo but promised Brecht “He’d work on it.”


Touring and The New Album

As for recognition, DRI have managed to keep their profile perfectly balanced, “We’re lucky we never got so big that we couldn’t walk the streets but we’re big enough that we can still travel all over the world and everything so we are right in that perfect spot, y’know.” Despite this, they have been ill advised on touring without a new record to show, counter to this Brecht reveals his astonishment, “People have been saying ‘Without a new album’ you can't go on tour, the shows are just going to get worse and worse but the shows just keep getting better and better, more people, bigger venues and crazier shows.”

The all elusive next album was hankering to be our next subject, “We’ve got no plans to record, we just haven't had the time, we’ve been playing a lot of shows, we don't want to stop and slow down and start recording but we do have some new songs we’ll play tonight. We have some offers to record it from a few companies so whenever we decide to, we’re set.”

‘As seen on TV’ and ‘Against Me’ are two new numbers Brecht loves to unleash, if you haven’t heard these 2 before expect, “More earlier DRI style, more hardcore and a bunch of lead guitar parts and some of my best lyrics.” The rest of the set however is for the fans, “We chose the set list based on what we love and crowd favourites…The ones we did MTV videos for and stuff like that.”

Continuing to leak the set-list, Brecht reveals a change or two, “Manifest Destiny’, ‘All for Nothing’ and ‘Syringes in the Sandbox’ we added this in the last year. Every now and again we change our set and we add some songs and take some old ones away. Those are some we haven’t been playing in a while so we brought them back a year ago, we still really like playing those.”

Check out the live review. 

Kenada Quinlan