These days, the gang always gets back together. In recent years it’s been trendy and big business for large national acts to reunite after just a few years of calling it quits. In 2016, we’ve already seen LCD Soundsystem and Guns N’ Roses announce reunions from faux breakups. On top of Coachella we will undoubtedly see them added to plenty of festival lineups throughout the year and grab headlines for the next 12 months. It’s a little refreshing, then, when an understated local act with a historic legacy reunites decades after its dissolution.
Yesterday afternoon on Facebook Jeff Liles, the current artistic director and talent buyer at The Kessler Theater, announced a wealth of artists planning to perform this year at the best sounding room in the city. Among the crowd, subtly tucked in with other artists such as Mavis Staples, Moon Waves, the Suffers and a dozen more read Decadent Dub Team, a formidable Dallas mash-up collective made up of Liles, Paul Quigg, David Williams and several others throughout its distinguished existence in the mid-1980s and '90s.
The reunion will take place March 18 at the Oak Cliff venue. Just in case you need a little refreshing, the Decadent Dub Team or DDT formed in 1986 and made a name for itself on a national scale when a teenage Dr. Dre discovered one of their tracks on a compilation album called The Sound of Deep Ellum put together by an A&R person from Island Records named Kim Buie. A remix of their track by Dr. Dre landed a place on the soundtrack for the film Colors in 1988. It was Dre's first-ever remix.
Over the next several years the group of cut-and-paste jammers — as Liles described them in a piece he penned for the Dallas Observer in 2009, before another reunion that is rife with interesting gems about the group’s history — went on to land a couple record deals, tour the country and garner so much attention that Slash from the aforementioned Guns N’ Roses wore one of their band shirts during an interview with MTV, which sparked hysteria for DDT merch.
“It’s going to be a fun night,” Liles says. “Back then we were all after a record deal and trying to get our music into movies or TV shows back when the music business existed some 25-30 years ago, but now the motivation is just to have fun.”
The reunion of sorts wasn’t Liles’ plan, though. The non-profit literary arts group Wordspace, which has hosted events in the past featuring John Waters, Amy Sedaris and Dan Savage, asked if Liles would perform at one of their events. Liles thought it would be a perfect way to reunite DDT as well as pay tribute to some of his favorite writers, poets and philosophers in the mash-up stylings of found music, sounds and sound bytes that is at the core of what Decadent Dub Team was all those years ago. That approach, coincidentally, was continued in his audio collage work with Cottonmouth, TX.
Liles will be joined by Quigg, who worked with Liles at The Kessler for six years as technical director until stepping down at the end of last year.
“There’s a weird serendipity happening with this,” Liles says. “The night that we are doing it is the sixth anniversary of the Kessler reopening and to do it on that particular night is serendipitous and will give us a fun measure of closure.”