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The D4 Biography

Last updated: 09/04/2007 12:00:00 PM

“I went to one of your shows with a friend of Spain and we were both smashed by your songs” – Cesar

Says it all really, as The D4 launched the debut album salvo across the bows of our local music scene. Things will never be the same again, right?

The band of rock’n’roll demons known as The D4 began life in the North Shore suburbs of Auckland. Guitarists Dion and Jimmy had been hanging out together since the premature demise of Dion’s first band Nothing At All! (whose only album is still available through Festival Mushroom Records). The two began putting together a fierce collection of songs and assembled a live four-piece combo during late 1998 and started playing at the legendary Frisbee Leisure Lounge parties along Symonds St. Inner city pubs and venues followed soon after, as the local punters kept an eye on the fast-growing band.

The band’s four-song debut EP, recorded at the Frisbee Lounge Studios, was released by Flying Nun Records in 1999 and served the band well as an introduction to the NZ music scene. The songs ‘Girl’ and ‘Come On!’ were supercharged statements of intent and became firm favourites with the nationwide student radio network, TV sports programs and naturally lent themselves to a strikingly immoral scene of the recent NZ film “Stickmen”. ‘Girl’ had also crossed the Tasman Sea and gained excellent plays on the Triple J radio network.

During 1999 and 2000, The D4’s live shows were gaining a great reputation for fun and vitality, as the band stretched out their repertoire to include a few choice covers as a nod of recognition to their musical mentors. This eventually led to appearances on the same playbills alongside like-minded gritty guitar bands who came blowing into town: Guitar Wolf, Dead Moon, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Fu Manchu & The Hellacopters. These high-octane gigs were always notable for their explosive potential and it’s consequences – guitars and amplifiers were always in danger of being reduced to matchsticks in the search for the lost chords of rock’n’roll.

Without even pausing for breath, the bands launched into an eight-night tour of Japan with Guitar Wolf and were just as impressive in Australia, playing a number of shows in Melbourne and Sydney, including a steamy club date with Shihad. It seems those shows are still being talked about and D4 t-shirts are now in great demand from the Bondi beach girls…

Film footage of the Japanese trip was edited together for the ‘Ladies Man’ video and the second D4 CDEP was released in early 2001, containing a live track recorded in Tokyo at Shinjuku Jam. The band has also released ‘Ladies Man’ on 7” single, featuring Dion and Jimmy in slinky drag costumes for the sleeve artwork.

The D4 recorded album demos at the Lab Studio during December 2000 and they embarked on a small local tour over that summer, in a lead up to their excellent performance at the Big Day Out in Auckland, where they ruled the main stage. The newer songs like ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Rock’n’Roll Motherfucker’ and ‘Rebekah’ astounded the whole crowd, while the familiar live material soaked up the teenage attention spans and stomped on their little tails – many of the young audience appeared to be D4 virgins.
During this time the band had also ripped through renditions of their tunes on-air at local radio houses The Rock and Channel Z, gaining more attention from the angry young kidults.

Full-blown album recordings began shortly after in York St Studios with the help of Andrew Buckton, who also utilised his own Studio 203 to complete the work. Mastering was finished off locally at Kog Transmissions. The debut album is called ‘6TWENTY’ and was released in New Zealand September 2001.

The D4 play SXSW music festival in Austin TX, in March, followed by a whistle-stop tour of the UK. The band have recently signed to Infectious UK to release '6TWENTY' in UK/Europe. A 7" of 'RocknRoll Motherfucker' is to be released on SDZ France in March.

"high octane riff-monster rock and roll of the best possible kind" – Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times