Dopey Lopes knows a little about rock and roll. The Newport-based musician began playing in 1987, as founder and front man of Two Guys and Another Guy, his band that opened for acts like the Neighborhoods, the Meat Puppets, and Verbal Assault. He toured the East Coast in the 90’s and recorded two albums, Welcome to the Mental Stadium in 1998 and later Love Songs About Rock and Roll. His hard driving rock sound has also led to gigs with Mark Cutler, Neutral Nation, Rash of Stabbings, and Barrence Whitfield among others.
This month, the Dopey Lopes Up All Night Band will be playing as part of a residency at Middletown’s Diego’s Barrio Cantina on Saturday June 15th. The band includes Lopes, Stumpy on Drums/Vocals, Sean Clarke on Guitar/Vocals, Sir Rockingham on Lead Guitar, and Peter Breen on Bass/Vocals.
We interviewed Lopes recently and learned a few more details on the upcoming gig.
1) Tell us a little bit about the ongoing residency at Diego’s.
We started up the residency at the end of last year, been having so much fun, we decided to continue it again for this year! It’s just wonderful for us as a band to have a regular, local monthly gig. Our rehearsal studio is right across the street so we love being near the venue! Stumpy lives in the neighborhood and we drop flyers off at the nearby hotels prior to each show to keep everyone informed. Diego’s has been an excellent partner for us because they bring in bands regularly on weekends and have developed a following for their live music. Diego’s also has great Mexican food and drinks, and we’ve noticed that the staff seems to have almost as much fun as we do!
2) How would you describe your sound?
We call it all original alternative rock, but some compare our sound to the Ramones, The New York Dolls, Husker Du and even David Bowie! We do a rippin’ cover of Moonage Daydream and I’ve done Ziggy Stardust over the years as well. It’s a hard-hitting multiple guitar sound that is melodic but not assaulting. I’m also a huge Paul Westerberg fan and closer to home, some compare me personally to David Minehan from the Neighborhoods.
3) Rumor has it you are working on a new album. Details please.
I’m in the studio right now recording my next full-length release called “Up All Night With Dopey” which should be ready by fall! My last record was released in 2011 on the 75orless label. I’ve always focused more on live performance, but I write hundreds of songs each year that never see the light of day.
Everything for this record is new and the songwriting flows out of my experiences performing over the last year. After 30 plus years doing this, I’m hitting my stride as a songwriter and it’s been a pleasure to translate the fun happenings of this last year into song. This is truly a coordinated effort to capture what we do as a live band while introducing a new audience to our music, and new songs to our audience. Some of the new songs have not even been heard live yet. Doing some exciting recordings with the “manjo” which is my vintage Gibson Mandolin-Banjo that we incorporated into the act during the recent Mark Cutler benefit at the Met.
4) What can fans expect at your concert?
We love it when people get up and dance at our shows! Nothing makes us happier as a band than reaching people with our music. We exist to bring you a good time, so seeing happy faces at our shows really drives it home for us!
There’s no cover charge for our Diego’s events, which makes it easier for folks to come in and check us out! Pretty sure that after a few minutes you’ll be up on the dance floor with everyone else! We’re welcoming The BickerSins to Diego’s with us on 6/15 which is really exciting because it is their first East Bay gig. We’ve had great success in putting together different people that are fans of other bands. Splitting the night gives everyone a chance to join the fun!