Dance Gavin Dance

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Dance Gavin Dance
Dance Gavin Dance.jpg
Dance Gavin Dance performing at Warped Tour in 2009
Background information
Origin Sacramento, California, USA
Genres Post-hardcore, experimental rock
Years active 2005–present
Labels Rise
Associated acts Secret Band, Strawberry Girls, Emarosa, A Lot Like Birds, Tides of Man, Consider the Thief, Five Minute Ride, Sianvar, Slaves, Hail the Sun
Website Official Facebook
Members Jon Mess
Matt Mingus
Will Swan
Tim Feerick
Tilian Pearson
Past members Alvaro Alcala
Jason Ellis
Zachary Garren
Kurt Travis
Sean O'Sullivan
Eric Lodge
Jonny Craig
Josh Benton[1]

Dance Gavin Dance is a post-hardcore band formed in Sacramento, California in 2005.

The band is well known for their relatively frequent lineup changes, which, most notably, involves a fluctuating lineup of regular vocalists and screaming vocalists, both on tour and on record. Dance Gavin Dance incorporates many different musical genres into their palette, such as screamo, funk, and soul on top of its post-hardcore sound. Ex-vocalist Jonny Craig also received high marks for contributing to the band's unorthodox soul sound and guitarist Will Swan has been recognized for his intricate, fast-moving guitar licks and riffs.

The band currently consists of vocalists Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess, guitarist Will Swan, bass guitarist Tim Feerick and drummer Matthew Mingus.

To date, the band has released five studio albums and one EP. Their most recent album, entitled Acceptance Speech was released on October 8, 2013.


Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean (2005–2007)[edit]

Dance Gavin Dance was formed shortly after the dissolution of lead guitarist Will Swan, drummer Matt Mingus, bassist Eric Lodges' previous band, Farewell Unknown. After recruiting screamer Jonathan Mess, singer Jonny Craig joined the band after being released from Ghost Runner On Third due to conflicts within the band. The name "Dance Gavin Dance" was explained in an interview with Jon Mess and Eric Lodge.

"We get asked this question a lot. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a story behind our name. We had booked our first show before we even had a band name. Our initial list of names was pretty ridiculous, Squirting Dicks and Catching Nut were on our list. Our singer, Jonny, had wanted to name a previous band, Dance Gavin Dance. But the thing is he doesn’t really know where that name came from. (the other ideas were obvious) So we just agreed to it, thinking we would change the name as soon as possible, but we didn’t, and the name just stuck. We like it now, it definitely grows on you if you get what I'm saying."

In August 2005, Dance Gavin Dance played their first gig onstage. With this line-up, the band released their first self-produced EP, Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean, which was subsequently re-released on November 14, 2006 through Rise Records. The band then began writing and prepped to record their full-length debut Downtown Battle Mountain

Downtown Battle Mountain (2007–2008)[edit]

They entered the studio in January 2007 with producer Kris Crummett and released their debut full-length album, Downtown Battle Mountain on May 15, 2007 on Rise Records. The band embarked on their first nationwide tour with Alesana and A Day To Remember in support of the album.

In August 2007, guitarist Sean O'Sullivan quit the band due to personal conflicts between himself, Jonny Craig and Matt Mingus. O'Sullivan went on to play for bands Consider the Thief and Early States. Sean was quickly replaced by Zachary Garren, who, prior to joining the band, was their merch guy.

In November 2007, singer Jonny Craig quit the band, and was not allowed to rejoin when he asked to, due to extreme tensions and personal conflicts with the other band members, as stated by the band in an interview conducted by[2] Immediately after his departure with Dance Gavin Dance, Jonny Craig filled in as the lead vocalist for A Skylit Drive, though only temporarily. Craig soon afterwards joined bands Emarosa (until 2011), Isles & Glaciers (current), Slaves (current), and began a solo project with Rise Records.

Shortly after Craig's departure, the band held auditions for a new vocalist. Hundreds of potential vocalists tried out and, at one point, Nic Newsham of Gatsby's American Dream was flown in from Washington for an audition. Though Newsham opted not to join the group, they did develop a friendship. This resulted in Nic's guest appearance on the song "Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most" which features on their self-titled 2008 album. Kurt Travis, formerly of Five Minute Ride, O! The Joy, and No Not Constant became the band's new clean vocalist.

Self-titled album (2008–2009)[edit]

On April 20, 2008,[3] Dance Gavin Dance entered the studio to record Dance Gavin Dance with Kris Crummett helming the role of producer once more. It was released on August 19, 2008.[4]

Before the album was released, but after it had been recorded, two original members Jonathan Mess and Eric Lodge left Dance Gavin Dance. No official statements were made by the band or the departees regarding the departure. Jon Mess had recorded the album knowing that he was going to leave the band. It is generally accepted that Mess, in addition to suffering from Lyme disease, was tired of constant touring, and Lodge simply followed suit, as the two were best friends.

Following their departure, Will Swan took up screaming duties alongside playing guitar, and Jason Ellis (formerly of Five Minute Ride) replaced Eric on bass. The band filmed a music video for the song "Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine" with director Robby Starbuck which was released November 18, 2008. Jon Mess' voice was lip synced by Will Swan in the music video.

Happiness (2009)[edit]

In February 2009, the band went into the studio as a five piece to record the follow-up to their self-titled album yet again with producer Kris Crummett. The resulting album, Happiness, was released on June 9, 2009. Bassist Jason Ellis appears on Happiness, but left the band before its release. He was replaced by Tim Feerick. The album marked a change in the band's sound. It features significantly less coarse vocals than the self-titled album, and is more in the vein of experimental rock than traditional post-hardcore. All Music stated in their review, "Happiness bristles with the kind of overachiever eclecticism that's as impressive as it is divisive".[5] A music video for the track "Tree Village" was released shortly after the album. The band embarked on tours with Emarosa, Closure in Moscow, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and others in support of the album.

Downtown Battle Mountain II (2010–2012)[edit]

On February 10, 2010, guitarist Zachary Garren was kicked out of Dance Gavin Dance due to personal conflicts with Will Swan.[6] Garren went on to form a new band with drummer/producer Ben Rosett called, Strawberry Girls.[7] Dance Gavin Dance played the Soundwave festival as scheduled as a four-piece (a first for the originally six-piece band) with Swan handling all guitar duties and Kurt Travis playing keyboards. Shortly afterwards Garren was replaced by Dan Snook. His first show was on March 12, 2010 in Dance Gavin Dance's hometown at The Boardwalk. Several months later however, Snook and bassist Tim Feerick abruptly left Dance Gavin Dance.

After multiple members leaving and rumors of the band breaking up, Jon Mess and Eric Lodge officially rejoined the band in mid-2010.[8] Josh Benton, former guitarist and band mate of Kurt Travis in No Not Constant, took up guitar duties. In August Alternative Press released an article saying that vocalist Kurt Travis and Dance Gavin Dance had officially parted ways and that Jonny Craig had rejoined the band. It was assumed that Jonny would manage vocal duties for both Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa, until he was kicked out of Emarosa in early 2011.[9] Former guitarist Sean O'Sullivan rejoined the band for several home shows towards the end of 2010, returning the band to their Downtown Battle Mountain line-up. In September Dance Gavin Dance posted on their Twitter that they will be recording their new album Downtown Battle Mountain II later in the year. Shortly afterwards their official Myspace page was updated, stating 'Downtown Battle Mountain Pt. II coming April 2011'. On January 24, 2011, the first single from Downtown Battle Mountain II was released, titled "Heat Seeking Ghost of Sex."[10] Later that same week, Alternative Press released a second track, "The Robot With Human Hair Part 2 1/2."[11] On January 16, 2011, Jonny Craig tweeted, "I'm sorry everyone but I'm going to be taking a very very very long hiatus. All my tours and CD's are canceled. Thank you and goodnight" later clarifying that he "will be playing out the tours with DGD and Emarosa". Former Tides of Man vocalist Tilian Pearson filled in for Craig on Emarosa's Spring 2011 tour with Chiodos, while all Dance Gavin Dance shows went on as planned.

In February 2011, several of Jonny Craig's fans accused him of being involved in an internet scam. According to the alleged victims, Craig would claim to be selling a used MacBook through his Twitter account. After accepting an online payment on average between US$600 and $800 for the product from at least 16 individuals, Craig was reported to have discontinued communication with the buyers, and no MacBooks were ever distributed. He initially denied the accusations and claimed that his Twitter had been hacked and he had no involvement. However, the following week it was announced that Craig had dropped off his current tour in Emarosa with Chiodos to enter detox in order to cure his ongoing battles with drug addiction. Rise Records and the Artery Foundation assumed financial responsibility for the internet scam and intend to reimburse anyone who had been victimized. Tilian Pearson—formerly of Tides of Man—substituted for Craig during his absence from Emarosa. A public apology was issued after his detox treatment was completed on March 8, 2011.

In March 2011 the band began their US tour with Iwrestledabearonce, In Fear And Faith, and Just Like Vinyl, followed by a small European tour, culminating in 2 shows in London playing the original Downtown Battle Mountain in full on the first night and Downtown Battle Mountain II in full on the second night. The band also played at the 2011 Vans Warped Tour. In an April, 2011 interview with Mind Equals Blown, Drummer Matt Mingus stated the band plans to release another album with the current, reunited lineup.[12]

On October 19, 2011, Dance Gavin Dance announced that they were going on hiatus. This announcement came shortly after the cancellation of their tour with I Set My Friends On Fire and A Lot Like Birds. Guitarist Will Swan later attributed the cancellation and subsequent hiatus of the band to unspecified issues with Jonny Craig. Despite the announcement of a hiatus, on December 23, 2011, the band announced that they would embark on a short tour with A Lot Like Birds and Lead Hands (then Decoder) in February 2012 with Kurt Travis (of A Lot Like Birds) and Matt Geise (of Lower Definition) doing vocals for the band. Due in part to the member change, this tour's setlist would be unusually cumulative, with Geise and Travis performing material from every album and past lineup. During this time Will Swan, Matt Mingus, Jon Mess and Eric Lodge recorded a four song EP under the name of Secret Band as a free download.

Second Departure of Jonny Craig and Arrival of Tilian Pearson (2012)[edit]

On August 20, 2012, Jonny Craig announced his departure from the band.[13]

On August 21, 2012, Dance Gavin Dance announced Craig's departure via Facebook saying "When Jonny rejoined DGD, we were about to call it quits. Tired of touring and being away from home for 8 months of the year, we wanted to shake things up. We thought it'd be fun to do a dbm sequel with Jonny and go out on that. We recorded dbm2 and felt it would be a disservice to our fans not to let them hear the new record live. We did a tour and felt rejuvenated but Jonny wasn't in a good place. After trying to convince him into getting help over warped tour, we canceled a headliner in November/December 2011 and told him we wouldn't tour until he sought out real help for his addiction. We got our good friend Matt Geise to fill in for a short run we did earlier this year while Jonny was in rehab. He was released and wanted to be out on the road immediately. We weren't sure how things would go so we only booked a small portion of the all stars tour to see if Jonny could still function as our lead singer. After a week and a half things were not going well. Everything came to a head when Jonny was publicly scolded by the owner of sumerian records for multiple offenses. It was then that we realized that our time with Jonny had reached its end. We wish Jonny the best In his future endeavors but he will no longer be a part of DGD. We however will continue playing and writing music because it's what we love doing."[14]

Tilian Pearson, formerly of Tides of Man, was asked to be the new vocalist during the making of his solo album and was announced during the "Rock Yourself To Sleep" tour. Tilian, as well as the current lineup including Josh Benton and Tim Feerick, have been confirmed as official members by Jon Mess. They will begin working on their new album after finishing the tour.[15]

Acceptance Speech and Other Projects (Sianvar & Secret Band) (2012-2014)[edit]

On January 22, 2013, drummer Matthew Mingus posted via Twitter that the band has demoed 12 songs so far for the new album.[16]

Jon Mess stated via Twitter that the band intends to go into the studio in mid March to record their fifth studio album with Rise Records, and that the album should be released in late summer. Josh Benton confirmed over Twitter a new song entitled "Jesus H. Macy", which the band has subsequently performed live. Another song, "The Robot with Human Hair Pt. 4", has also been played live on their spring UK tour. Matt Mingus has said the album will also contain "The Death of the Robot", a sixth and final song in the Robot With Human Hair series.

On July 18, 2013, the band announced pre-orders for their upcoming record, Acceptance Speech, available October 8, 2013 via Rise Records. The album was produced by Matt Malpass. The next day, Rise Records released the single "The Robot With Human Hair Pt. 4" through their YouTube Channel.

On September, Rise Records released the singles "Acceptance Speech" and "Jesus H. Macy" through their YouTube Channel. The entirety of the album leaked a week prior to its release.

On September 24, it was announced that guitarist Will Swan has started another band, Sianvar with A Lot Like Birds drummer Joseph Arrington and bassist Michael Littlefield, Hail the Sun vocalist Donovan Melero and Stolas guitarist Sergio Medina. The band are currently writing a 5 song self-titled EP in Sacramento with producer and guitarist of DGD Josh Benton.[17]

On October 31, Rise Records released the music video for "Strawberry Swisher Pt. III" through their YouTube Channel.

On November 11, Sianvar released their first single, "Sick Machine" and confirmed that their forthcoming EP will be released through Blue Swan Records on January 5, 2014.[18]

On November 19, Secret Band announced that Dance Gavin Dance's Acceptance Speech was the end of the contract with Rise Records. They also announced that there will be a Secret Band album. Tilian Pearson revealed that he is going to work on a follow-up to his solo album Material Me as well as a new album with Dance Gavin Dance.

On November 21, Secret Band announced that they had "spruced up" their lineup with the addition of Martin Bianchini who played some guest guitar parts in the DGD song "The Jiggler" and bassist Jordan McCoy who has toured with Dance Gavin Dance in the past. Eric Lodge left the group to concentrate on his new job at EA Bioware.[19]

On December 12, Sianvar released their EP's second single, "Chest Pressure" and announced that the band will be touring with A Lot Like Birds, Stolas and The Venetia Fair next month as part of A Lot Like Birds headling tour in January.[20][21]

On January 1, 2014, Sianvar streamed their self-titled EP which is to be released on the fifth.[22]

On January 10, 2014, Dance Gavin Dance resigned to Rise Records for their next 2 releases.[23]

On February 17, 2014, the band announced that they would be embarking on The Acceptance Speech Tour in Spring with supporting acts Capture the Crown, Palisades (band) and Bleach Blonde.[24]

6th Studio Album (2014–Present)[edit]

On August 7, the band announced that they had begun writing for a seventh studio record to be released via Rise Records, with plans to enter the studio with producer Kris Crummett toward the end of 2014.[25][26]

On September 19, an Acceptance Speech b-side entitled "Pussy Vultures" was leaked on various websites.

On October 11, it was confirmed that tracking for their sixth album was finished. Touring guitarist Aric Garica of Hail the Sun, Secret Band guitarist Martin Bianchini and former band member Zachary Garren all contributed to the recording sessions in place of departed member Josh Benton.[27]

Band members[edit]

Current members
Former members
Former touring members


Dance Gavin Dance discography
Studio albums 5
Live albums 1
EPs 1
Singles 18
Music videos 5
Studio albums
Live albums
Other songs
  • "Attack of the Dashing Young and Bold" (2006, Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean b-side)
  • "Burning Down the Nicotine Armoire" (2006, Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean demo)
  • "The Importance of Cocaine" (2006, Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean demo)
  • "The Rain in Vietnam" (2006, Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean demo later renamed "The Robot vs. Heroin Battle of Vietnam")
  • "Pussy Vultures" (2014, Acceptance Speech b-side)

Music videos[edit]

  • "Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine" (2008)
  • "Tree Village" (2009)
  • "Heat Seeking Ghost of Sex" (2012)
  • "Strawberry Swisher Pt. 3" (2013)
  • "Death of the Robot with Human Hair" (2014)

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Dance Gavin Dance - SubMerge Magazine". 27 April 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Video Interview Live From HARDTIMES.CA -". 11 March 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "RISE releases". Rise Records. Retrieved 19 August 2008. 
  5. ^ Monger, James. "allmusic ((( Happiness > Overview )))". allmusic. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Yarborough, Aaron (10 February 2010). "Exclusive: Dance Gavin Dance Kick Out Guitarist - News Posts -". Decoy Music. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Heil, Alex (19 December 2012). "Strawberry Girls". Beats Realm. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  8. ^ y el Disco de Vinil. "Gansito y el Disco de Vinil. -Jon Mess and Eric Lodge back on Dance Gavin Dance". 22 May 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  9. ^ Karan, Tim (18 August 2010). "Alt Press - Exclusive: Dance Gavin Dance part ways with vocalist, original vocalist Jonny Craig back". Alternative Press. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Exclusive Stream: Dance Gavin Dance "The Robot With Human Hair Pt. 2 1/2" - Alternative Press". 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  12. ^ Interview: Dance Gavin Dance | Mind Equals Blown
  13. ^ "BREAKING: Jonny Craig Kicked Out Of Dance Gavin Dance (Again)". Under the Gun Review. 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  14. ^ "Dance Gavin Dance". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  15. ^ "Dance Gavin Dance 2". YouTube. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  16. ^ "Twitter / matthew_mingus: Got 12 new dgd tracks demoed". Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
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