Ray Dahmer has been around forever, playing with Short Lived, Dahmer's Diner and The Kassos, his current band with Larry from Genetic Disorder.
What is the state of the scene?
Ray: That's a hard question. I don't really see much of a punk rock scene in San Diego. I think the music scene is doing pretty well. I think there's more bands in San Diego than there ever have been, but as far as the punk rock scene, I just don't think there is one at all. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but I think most of the bands in San Diego right now are so young that their whole concept of a punk rock scene is just completely different.
Is there anything wrong with punk music in San Diego?
Ray: I don't see anything wrong with it. Like I already said, I think that most of the bands that are playing the punk style are so young that they just have a different concept of it than somebody who was playing punk rock even five years ago or 10 years ago. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I just think it's different. If you can get somebody that was around when bands like Battalion of Saints were playing and then you talk to some 14-year-old kid that is still living at home and making sure he's going to school and that whole thing, I just think it's a totally different concept of the whole music scene, especially punk rock.
What's good about punk music in San Diego?
Ray: That's a hard one. I don't even think there's that many punk bands in San Diego, not that I know what punk is, but I just don't think there's that many bands doing what I consider punk rock. I think San Diego has more of an alternative scene, stuff that you would hear and you do hear on the radio.
How do you think people act at shows? Do they seem to be having a good time?
Ray: I think it depends on where you're at. Obviously, if you go to SOMA, I would stand all the way at the back and watch the people beat the crap out of each other. Then if you go to a place like the Casbah, I think people are pretty mellow and obviously they don't beat the crap out of each other. Then a place like Velvet, half a block up, people are trashing the place, there's fights. At the Business [show], three or four skins got a guy pinned against the fence and were beating the shit out of him and basically nothing happens. I just think that different people act different ways at all the different clubs. Then you come out to El Cajon and go to Soul Kitchen and there's like 20 people there, staring at the bands and everybody looks bored. It just depends on what part of the city you're in.
Do you see any problems with the crowds and the people who go to see shows?
Ray: I think that depends on the club, how they handle violent situations, and it also depends a lot on the bands, either the style of music they're playing - obviously that'll provoke violence or non-violence - and also the band's reaction to that. There are bands that'll just stand there and they want to see people slamming into each other and people bleeding and this and that, and then there's bands that don't tolerate it. I couldn't name you one, but I think it should be mostly on the band's end. Just be conscious of what's going on in front of you.
What can we do to make the scene better?
Ray: I think the biggest problem with the San Diego scene, I mean, I'm not a big scene person. I'm not in real big support of any local bands, which is not good, but I think the biggest problem with the scene is the clubs and club owners. That whole situation has to change with the way they give a dollar a head at the door thing. It's probably about the most ridiculous way to run a club that I've seen.