The Black Dotz plays Armoury D.E. on Friday, June 23
It’s been nearly two years since Wanz Dover almost lost his life. He fell ill after his band the Black Dotz played at Three Links and didn’t think anything of it. But when the abdominal pain persisted and got worse, he found himself going under the knife for life-saving surgery. He spent weeks in the hospital recovering.
While he continued to make music and DJ around town after the hospital stay, he decided to take time off from playing full-throttle, loud rock shows. He didn’t know how long the break would be, but it was necessary.
Now he’s sitting on a few dozen new Black Dotz songs and is happy to play live with the band again. It will play two sets at Armoury D.E. on Friday.
Dover lives and breathes music. In addition to singing in the Black Dotz and his ongoing Blixaboy project, he contributes to the Observer, writes electronic music and DJs around the Dallas area every week. Even when he was in the hospital, he wrote an ambient record in his head, Music for Hospitals. He recorded and released it not long after he went home.
Dover is preparing to release a new solo album, Music for Recovery, in July. It's inspired by modern classical music, but despite being a music writer, Dover has a hard time defining its genre. Local musician Lily Taylor is featured on the opening track, and the record was made with all acoustic instruments.
Dover is happy to be alive and back at work. His near-death experience, which came on the heels of another painful experience — the death of his father — has stayed with him and changed him for the better, he says.
“Don’t take things for granted," he says. "I don’t get easily upset by things. I see people get really angry about lots of stuff all the time. I’m just not that guy anymore. It was a humbling experience. I definitely came out on the other side wired differently. It’s been a rough couple of years.”
He attributes the completeness of his recovery to his dedication to music. Giving up was never an option.
“I grind. At one point, I was gigging four to six nights a week," he says. "I go and play Motown, Stax, funk and soul, garage rock, '50s R&B, and there’s an audience for that. I play that stuff on vinyl. I can do the indie rock stuff, too. I’ve got a niche for that. It serves me well. Then I come home and listen to really, really forward-thinking, avant-garde experimental music and make those kinds of records.”
Dover puts in extra effort to care for his body and mind, so he can keep doing what he loves.
“I’m still living,” he says. “I’m in great health. I exercise. I bust my ass staying in good health. I quit partying years ago. I eat right.”
Playing with the Black Dotz again is special, even though it has had considerable lineup changes since the Observer first profiled the band.
“Being in a rock band is really hard when you’re over 40,” Dover says.
He is the sole original member, and the band's sound has expanded beyond R&B punk.
“Now it’s something different,” Dover says. “Now it’s something a bit more sincere.”
The band’s current lineup includes longtime member Ian Hamilton on guitar and keyboards, along with Max Oepen on drums, Chad Deatley on bass and Lysandra Chapman on keyboards. Dover says Black Dotz's lineup has changed as many times as the Fall's, but he insists this is not his project.
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“That’s why we’re not rushing this record out,” he says. “Right now we’re just trying to play shows and get back onstage.”
Dover is happy with where he is.
“I’m in a really good place now,” he says. “I’m literally making the best music of my entire life. Even if nobody cares and nobody listens to it, it’s pretty gratifying just to be making it.”
The Black Dotz with Francine Thirteen, 9 p.m. Friday, June 23, Armoury D.E., 2714 Elm St., free, see Facebook.