Joup Fiday Album – Dada Puzzle

Dada Puzzle (I.R.S. Records/EMI Records)

Dada Puzzle (I.R.S. Records/EMI Records)

Nostalgia. This word means so much to so many people for so many different reasons. A simple photography, movie line or guitar lick can open up a world of memories of place and time once experienced for better or worse. Generally I like to remember the better but sometimes revel in the worse…maybe as we all do. In the last few weeks I’ve really tweaked my sound as a guitarist by adding a stellar early 70s twin reverb as my primary amp. My Strat and Tele have never sounded better. And then I came across a little number from 1992 entitled “Dim” on Pandora this week and everything became a little bit clearer. This week’s Friday Album is Dada Puzzle.

Again back to the early 90s? Come on Grez…surely you’ve evolved from there. I guess in some ways I have or just found a deeper appreciation for the music to which I listen for the past, um, 30 years. I did some homework on the band Dada and this is what I found:

Michael Gurely (guitarist/vox), Joie Calio (bass/vox) and Phil Levitt (drums) formed dada in 1990 in Los Angeles. The trio put some tunes together, gigged and then recorded Puzzle in late ’91 into 1992 and released it later that year. It killed. “Dizz Knee Land” was mine (and I imagine most people’s) introduction to the group. They went on to have another choice and successful
single title “Dim.” This is my personal favorite from Puzzle.

Here’s “Dizz Knee Land:” (most of the rest of the album is below)

Dada went on to record three other albums in the 90’s but had issues with record labels. That included their main label I.R.S Records folding in 1996 and their subsequent signing to MCA Records and eventual break in 1999. The group returned to release “How to be Found” in 2004, and continued to tour sparingly as Gurely and the others continued on other projects. I believe EMI owns right to much of Dada’s material now. Puzzle is a certified Gold album and Gurely himself (including his work in Dada) has sold over million units. Impressive. Yes, impressive indeed.

“Dizz Knee Land” is a catchy little diddy with the lyric “I just flicked off President George, I’m going to Diz Knee Land.” It was a direct dig at the whole “I’m going to Disneyland” campaign by Disney after a Sports MVP won a championship. I dug it so went to the record shop in the mall (cuz that what you did in 1992) and saw the cover. I liked it. Unfortunately the disc was not in the listening station so I couldn’t really preview the other tracks but the man behind the counter said definitely get it after I asked. I took a chance and it paid out big . It was and still is one of the albums that really shaped me. I just didn’t realize how much till now.

Upon listen to the whole disc you’ll find that Gurely’s guitar distinctively colors the band perfectly. His Fender Strat tone through tasteful yet never overbearing effects are a no-brainer. But really the harmony schemes are what sells it. You can find this in nearly ALL the tracks but especially on “Dog,” “Who You Are,” and the title track “Puzzle.” The album has a terrific pace with just the right highs and lows. That also includes vivid storytelling on the songs “Dorina” and “Timothy.”

Get this album…and again on vinyl if you can find it. Time after time I still come back to Puzzle. It seems like its a corner piece in my life. At this point in time it’s to aid in the redevelopment of my sound. And for that I more then happy to be nostalgic with dada as the catalyst.

Bakes are you the next piece?

Joe Grez

Joe Grez

Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is still an artist developer trying to keep up with new technologies. Photography still has been one of his strongest passions. However, now his main focus has led him back to music where he teaches guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion privately. Music education can never be short changed.

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