If it took you this long to piece together that new wave and synth rock band Dreamcar is actually comprised of members of No Doubt and AFI’s frontman, Davey Havok, and then cruise over to the Great American Music Hall website to buy tickets to the show on April 9, you’re too late.
In fact, Dreamcar’s entire six-date West Coast tour, the band’s first, is completely sold out. Despite releasing only one song to date, the New Romantic-sounding “Kill For Candy,” the buzz had been building since 2014, when No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, drummer Adrian Young, and guitarist Tom Dumont recruited Havok.
Then the project went underground. The four friends had their heads down, working on new tunes. They didn’t know what the songs would sound like or what they would be about. They kept quiet not to keep a secret or build suspense, but because they first wanted to learn who they were as a band.
But they’re not keeping quiet anymore. With a 12-song self-titled debut coming May 12 on Columbia Records and their first shows just days away, Adrian Young chatted with us about Dreamcar, its inspirations, and the future of No Doubt.
RIFF: We heard you had this new band a year or two ago, but never made the connection after Dreamcar popped up on calendar listings. Was the secrecy on purpose? Did you want fans to discover you organically?
Adrian Young: In the beginning, we didn’t know what it was going to be. It was definitely an experiment. It started with the three of us recording with Davey Havok … taking him out on a date and asking, “Hey, would you like to try an experiment with us and work on some music together to see if it works?” Nothing more than that. As we started to work on more music, it became clear that this was very enjoyable and we were on to something. After we got deeper into it, we realized we have an album and we should maybe put a record out and be a real band. And we are. We didn’t announce it because we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves until we knew really what it was going to be.
Why did you choose the name Dreamcar?
The best person to answer that is Davey, as he came up with the name. It can mean a lot of things. It could be literal, or not so much. It could be what the future holds, what your aspirations are [and] what your dreams are.
Besides these songs, have you written, recorded or performed elsewhere the last few years?
Yeah, I filled in a couple of times here and there for friends’ bands and also as a freelance drummer. I play with my friend [No Doubt trombonist] Gabe McNair’s band Oslo and I play drums on the Steel Pulse record that’s forthcoming. I play drums on [No Doubt trumpeter] Stephen Bradley’s reggae band Valley of the Kings’ album, which is forthcoming.
How did you guys and Davey connect and where did the idea for the band come from? Have you been friends for a long time? Or did you make a list of vocalists you thought would blend well with your music?
We were well-aware of AFI and were fans of their music. In 2012, one of his other bands, Blaqk Audio, opened for us in Los Angeles. We got to say a quick hello and check them out. He and Tony sort of were in the same circles in Hollywood, with the vegan community. When Tom, Tony and myself decided that we should really keep playing music together as much as we can—and that’s what we do best—Tony suggested, “Why don’t we see if Davey Havok would be interested in possibly doing a project?” It kind of started from there.
Does No Doubt still exist right now?
No Doubt will always exist. We’re just inactive at the moment. And… yup.
These are your first shows, so that makes San Francisco just your second concert. Are you nervous?
There’s definitely going to be an excitement and an anxiety all happening at the same time. It is strange that we have a song on the radio and we have yet to play a show. But there’s no question to me that we’re going to bring it to its fullest. In No Doubt, the three of us and Gwen always tried to put on the best show we could possibly do, and I’ve seen that with Davey, with AFI. I would expect nothing less than that as far as our efforts in communicating these songs to fans. I cannot wait to play, and San Francisco is going to be the second city.
Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.