Q&A: Double Dagger Drummer Denny Bowen Talks New York Memories And Breaking Up Over Rock, Paper, Scissors

DoubleDagger_masks.jpg
courtesy Thrill Jockey

Double Dagger is a Baltimore trio who've been antagonizing audiences with their fourth-wall-dropping post-hardcore squalls for more than nine years. Last month, they announced they were calling it quits--rather than fade away with a whimper, the Wham City vets decided to tour ferociously one last time. Tonight, they'll play their last New York show ever at Death By Audio, so we spoke with drummer Denny Bowen, who also plays with the Dan Deacon Ensemble and Roomrunner, about breaking up, Cake Shop memories, and piss ice.

How'd you decide it was time to break up?

We came to an agreement about it. We thought it was the right thing to do to be fair--in the spirit of the band. Nine years is a long time--especially when you think about what's, in essence, a punk band. It feels kind of silly to half-heartedly go at that. So before we get to that point, we might as well stop doing it, and give it our all constantly.

There was this band Stars of the Dogon that was really awesome. They're like one of my favorite bands ever, probably--they just had so much energy. The bass player of that band was the first drummer in Double Dagger. They ended up breaking up onstage over a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. At that point, they'd only been around for a year or two years. But that band, to me, made such an impact on me--and they broke up so trivially.

They just gave away all their merch after the show and all their CDs. They had two more shows booked, one of them turned into a press conference for them breaking up. They were supposed to be opening for Hot Cross and all the people who were there for Hot Cross were really pissed. If we were able to make an impact on just one or two people in the same way, in the amount of time we existed, that's really worthwhile.

What's your best new York show memory?

I do remember a Village Voice review after we played CMJ that said we were horrible. It said something like, "I don't know what that is, but I hate that shit." [Editor's note: the exact sentence was "I'm not sure I know what the point is, and I don't care. That shit gets on my nerves."]

For the record, that wasn't me.

We thought that was cool. We kept that in our one-sheet that we'd send out. That was at Cake Shop. We opened for Jay Reatard.

We've played a lot of really good New York shows. All the shows that Eden set up at Death By Audio have been really awesome. The Brooklyn Versus Baltimore show [in 2009]--that show was really awesome. Clearly Baltimore won! There were stages set up next to each other. U$AI$AMON$TER played and Future Islands and Dan [Deacon] and us. That was one of the most insane shows ever. It was January. People were just peeing all over. There was all this frozen piss all over this courtyard. You had to slide across this thin layer of piss-ice to get to a Spot-a-Pot. A friend of mine was at that show and he's just peeing into a beer can. I think he threw it after, I really don't know.

Double Dagger play Death By Audio tonight, October 20.


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