DFL To Reissue Grateful… For The First Time In 25 Years

DFL To Reissue Grateful... For The First Time In 25 Years

DFL aka Dead Fucking Last, the iconic ‘90s hardcore band that featured first wave punker Monty Messex and skater “CrazyTom” Davis, will reissue their landmark third album Grateful… on August 19th via SBAM Records and Say-10 Records. The new version is presented in a deluxe format, pressed in thick 180 gram vinyl, housed in a heavy duty jacket, and with maximum care taken to preserve the art and layout of the original record. The record can be pre-ordered HERE

Originally released on Epitaph Records in 1997, Grateful… represented a quantum leap for DFL… and also ended up being the band’s destruction. On the LP, DFL tear forward with their iconic early 80s-hardcore-as-filtered-into-the-90s attack. But, while the base of the record is all riffage, screaming, and moshing, the album also found the band pushing their sound to its limit. “We were breaking all the molds, knocking down doors!” says Davis. “Life was one big fucking Eggo waffle!” 

As Davis says, the band was expanding their vision of hardcore: “Four + Twenty” features pro-skater Paulo Diaz contributing a tabla and nose-flute freak-out.   “Powerless” is a slow-motion crusher calling back to bands like Black Flag and Flipper. “Live For Today” features cowbell from a Balinese fortune teller/Cannabis farmer. ”We are the dead!” features those words screamed over and over and over.

Yet, while Grateful… found DFL merging classic hardcore with far-out ideas, the band was also tearing apart at the seams. Just before the band released the triumphant and daring record… they broke up, without ever touring on the release. Messex explains, “To be honest, I don’t know for sure what caused the band to collapse. I’m guessing poor communication and lack of respect had a lot to do with it. When you don’t have those things, it’s pretty much a shit show!”

Despite the band destroying themselves just before they released their most ambitious record, Grateful… has stood the test of time, remaining a cult favorite among fans for being one of the few records to be experimental while retaining a classic hardcore punk base.

Davis says, “I think Grateful… did transfer over a lot of truth, honesty and freedom from my Point-of-view.  At the time, my life was good! I had it all a killer band, hot rods, great friends, and we were having the time of our lives during the recording. But, little did I know that I was foreshadowing the future with my lyrics a long a difficult path I was destined to follow over the next couple of decades.”

Messex adds, “To be honest, Grateful… was a pretty chaotic and turbulent time in my personal life. Ironically, I did not have a lot of gratitude at the time. I think we put out a really good hardcore record, but then we broke up, so I think the songs never got their due. Now, we’re getting that chance.”

Grateful… is out via SBAM and Say-10 records on August 19th.. Band members are available for interview.
2022 European Tour Dates:
30 July – Stuttgart, Germany – Juno West (w/ Get Dead)
31 July – Linz, Austria – Sbam Fest (w/ Get Dead, Love Equals Death)
01 August – Munchen Germany – Unterdeck (w/ Love Equals Death)
02 August – Berlin, Germany – Franken (w/ Scheisse Minelli)
03 August – Frankfurt, Germany –Tiko (w/ Love Equals Death, Urethane)
04 August – Hamburg, Germany – Astrastube
05 August – Solingingen, Germany – Waldmeister (w/ Love Equals Dearth)
06 August – Duffel, Belgium – Brakrock (w/ Get dead, Love Equals Death)
07 August – Arnhem, Netherlands – Willemeen (w/ Love Equals Death)

DFL began in 1993 when Monty Messex decided to start a punk band with Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys and renown skateboarder Crazy Tom Davis. The trio hit it off because they both came of age during the first wave of hardcore: In 1981, Messex formed hardcore punk band the Atoms, which included Izzy Stradlin (pre-Guns n Roses); Horovitz started in the early NYC hardcore scene with the Young and the Useless before joining the Beastie Boys during their initial run as a hardcore band; Crazy Tom was a seasoned skateboarder hailing from the Marina Del Rey skatepark.

Messex says, “In 1993, I was obsessively listening to Bad Religion’s How Could Hell Be Any Worse. I had this beat up cassette that I’d listen to it over and over and over and over again on my Walkman.  That record brought me back to the early 80s hardcore scene I grew up on- that included Circle Jerks, the Germs, The Adolescents. I wanted to make a record that called back to the initial rush I got from the early hardcore scene.”

Without much planning, Messex linked up with Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, who, at the time, were recording the seminal Check Your Head Album. Messex threw the idea of starting a hardcore punk band past Horovitz and DFL was born. Messex says, “I literally remember the moment when we started DFL. Adam dropped by my place in Echo Park and kinda half joking I asked him if he wanted to start a hardcore band. To my surprise he was like, ‘uh… yeah!’ I had a few songs and we went over to G-Son. I played them for Adam and the band was born right there and then.”

Shortly thereafter, Messex and Horovitz drafted “Crazy” Tom Davis into the group. Hailing the so-cal skate scene, Davis was added as much for his explosive singing style and unpredictability.  Along with drummer Tony Converse, the band recorded the volatile My Crazy Life album in the time it takes to listen to it: 20 minutes. Unlike the more polished records of the day, My Crazy Life was 15 tracks of raw and ragged hardcore punk that, while fueled by the same energy as first wave of California hardcore, was pushed into the present, addressing issues like mental health, ‘90s Hollywood, and the fact that pizza is tasty. The album was produced by Beastie Boys in-house producer Mario Caldato, who captured the band’s raw, ragged live energy on the recordings.

In 1995, the band released their second album, Proud to Be, on Epitaph records. Although Horovitz had left the band at that point due to commitments with the Beastie Boys, he produced the record, which resulted in a second helping of DFL’s classic style hardcore. At the time, punk rock was going in a poppier, more mainstream direction. DFL swam against the current with a lo-fi, high speed ripper of record, resulting in the album becoming a cult favorite in punk rock circles.

In 1997, the band released their third and final album, Grateful… While the album was rooted in the classic DFL hardcore attack, it found the band experimenting with their format- some songs have Balinese music dropped between tracks, one song is a Sabbath-style slow motion stomper, and the entire CD was presented as a 26-minute, one track release. Despite that the release eas the band’s most ambitious release, they broke up just before its release, never touring on the LP.

Messex and Davis reunited the band in 2013 and released the first new material in 24 years, YRUDFL, in 2021, to critical acclaim. The band has now reunited with producer Mario Caldato and are working on new material. 

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