Dustin Diamond - Salty The Pocketknife

November 11, 2003

Tell me about everyone in the band.

The basis of how the band works is that Salty is my brainchild. I put the process together. Before the project had started, I met the drummer Evan Stone and we became close friends and then decided to start a new music project. Our goal was to start a band that basically would be an ever-changing entity but would retain a core sound that people could become familiar with, recognize, come to like, and follow the bandís progress. But wouldnít feel like every single album that came out would be a carbon copy of the previous one like so many labels like to do to their bands. For instance, Pearl Jamís Ten was great and then the label said ďhey, this is great. You better have another one within six months or a year.Ē Whatever the deal was. ďHurry, hurry, hurry. Rush out great songs, rush out brilliance.Ē Thatís why the second album wasnít as brilliant as the first. To avoid this, Evan and I basically figured that we would be the canvas. We would be the drums and bass. The rhythm. The core sound of the band being that the band is modeled for odd time sounds. Thatís itís core recognizing factor. We decided for the first outing, we would use a guitar player and a singer. Then the second outing, we would use a different guitar player and a different singer to add a difference to the overall sound but with Evan and I being the core recognizing factor of the band. The pulse, the feel. We got together with a duo named Scott and Rosebud. Scott and Rosebud provided the vocals and the guitar work that you hear on the first Salty The Pocketknife album. The second album will feature a completely different singer and guitarist. Also touring on the road, we donít know who weíre going to have in. We might have Scott and Rosebud. We may have other people from the next projects or whatever have you. Itís not your traditional formula but Iíve always prided myself on being a shepherd, not a sheep so I see it as a new direction for music to take. People demand that they hear a particular formation. If people hear a certain formation they absolutely fall in love with it and say thereís nothing greater which who doesnít hope for that but itís never guaranteed. Then of course we can bring those people back and end up going forward and maybe doing not a rehash but a re-emergence of that particular group formation.

This is just basically an experimental thing.

Well, it is a band but what people have to realize, because some people say, ďoh, without the guitarist and singer it wonít be the same at all.Ē Well, sure it is. Because Evan and I write the music. The music is going to be the same. Itís the people playing it. Like Robert Fripp. Whoever he plays with is whoever. King Crimson, whateverís there with King. Whateverís there with Jefferson Starship, Jefferson Airplane, just Starship. It depends on whoís playing with the main people. Itís definitely not a groundbreaking idea and it has been done before. However itís really never been done with this type of music. Thatís the difference. Obviously this type of music is not your easiest to play. Itís a very complicated style of music and it takes very talented people to pull it off. Thatís the greatest thing. Thereís nothing greater in music than playing with different people. Playing with the same people that you have a rapport with or a musical communication with is great. Donít get me wrong. Thereís nothing comparable to when you get fresh musicians in there and they get it. They lock in and youíre playing the same great music with a difference in just what theyíre adding to it. I donít think we would ever play with anyone that we didnít feel could hack it or put it together. After all, we really arenít at that point yet because for the first project, for the first outing, I think weíre both very proud of what weíve put out. For the second outing, Iím sure if people like the first one theyíre going to want the second one just the same.

You and Evan write the music and Rosebud writes the lyrics.

Yeah, Rose writes the lyrics and of course Scott adds his guitar work but heís adding things over our structure that we have placed out. Of course, for this album we incorporated some ideas of theirs on some songs that they brought to the table and we want to continue that format as well. That way each album has a little bit of something to offer, to help the listener get to know who these people are who have just rotated into the spotlight and what theyíre about. It gives them a way to showcase their sound without doing a solo. Who needs solos? Without them, the egomaniacs donít go ďhey, look at me everyone. Just look at me for a while. Listen to me.Ē

Everyone knows you best as Screech from Saved By The Bell. When did you decide to turn to music and have you given up acting all together?

No, no, Iím still doing acting while traveling the continent. Iím traveling North America doing stand-up comedy and selling out every show. Doing fantastic numbers. The music is basically my life. When Iím not doing acting, itís music. When Iím not doing stand-up, itís music. Thereís no money in music. Thatís the thing. Musicís a labor of love. The stand-up and my acting career are my bread and butter. If I won the lottery and became worth a $100,000,000.00 tomorrow, if I ever gave up anything Iíd give up stand-up and acting but Iíd never give up music. Thatís the key. Thatís where the draw is and thatís where my passion lies. I think that people know me for that first because my musical side wasnít really pushed during the 19 years Iíve been in the business. During the 10 years of Saved By The Bell. Yet Iíve been in the music industry for 22 years. I mean Iíve been involved three years longer with music than acting. I really didnít get well known in acting until Saved By The Bell had started when I was 11 or 12 years old. I had already been playing music at the age of five which is the age I was when my dad started teaching me guitar. By the time I was 11 or 12, I was pretty proficient. By the time I was seven or eight, I knew all the chords. I could play them. I could transpose them between each chord from the A, the C minus, the G, the augmenteds, the sevenths are diminished. All of those effortlessly without even looking. During that time period when I was doing it, obviously I wasnít just jamming out at six or seven, but for your rudiments, for youíre elementary learning, thatís what I got out of the way very early on. Rather than getting it out of the way in my 20ís. It gave me the jump on the game and then in Ď94 I picked up a bass. I went from guitar to bass and never turned back.

What attracted you to bass?

Iím a bass player. I have a naturally low feel. I like guitar. I appreciate and respect itís range and where it wants to fit sonically but I like the pulse. The low thing that drives the band dynamics. When the guitars can sustain or when they can pull out and drop out immediately and then the bass and drums are left. Sometimes just the drums are left and then the guitarís just jamming along with it but the bass, the whole bottom has dropped out. Then when the bass comes creeping back into it, itís truly the dynamics that draw me in there. Itís those little nuances. The balancing silence with the balancing droning rhythm with playing counter-melodies. Counter-harmonies. Just adding solid walking bass lines where theyíre needed or pumping, thumping bass lines that give you that drive. I have the power to make people feel slinky or feel like theyíre on a big, powerful beast trumping through the forest. Itís like a command at the fingertips without being an egomaniac. Without thrusting yourself into the limelight and claiming dominance over everyone else like a lot of guitar players do. You get a lot of guitar players that are just egomaniacs. There are some people out there that just only pick up a guitar because they figure itíll get them the chicks. Itíll get them the ladies. Theyíll be a rock star and I could give a crap less about the fame aspect. I like the music. I like the sound. I like the stuff thatís created within a band of people writing a song and then playing it and seeing it come to life and going through the trials and tribulations and every little argument you have gets put into the music. All the times that youíre screaming at each other and then you come together and hug. Things are great and by the time the musicís done, you feel every little conversation, every little argument, every little makeup session, every little ounce of sweat, blood, and tears that went into that project is there. You can hear it because it brings you back to that time. Like anybody listens to music and it brings them back to a certain time in their life where they were when they heard that. What they were feeling at that moment and it stirs up old memories. In this case, playing the music. These memories come out, not just through your mind but through your fingers. They come out through your hands. Through your legs for the drummer. Through your voice for the singer. They come out in that way and when the musicís honest like that, thatís when people are drawn to it. Thatís what to me makes a good band or a great listening experience. Even if itís not maybe a genre of music that you like very much. Itís still appreciated because itís like stand-up. People can smell fear. Confidence is one thing. You can tell as a listener whether youíre a genius or whether youíre just a goofy kid next door. Either way, all walks of life can listen to music and immediately figure out whether itís a genuine powerful, moving experience or if itís just some kids saying ďhey, weíre going to be rock stars.Ē You can feel it. It just hits you differently. For me, weíre not out there trying to make some big statement. Weíre basically just out there living in a fishbowl so to speak. Evan and I put the moments of our lives and the moments that we go through and the trials and tribulations of going through the band experience with so many players while keeping the core of it there because thatís us. Weíre constantly going through there. You can hear the evolution. Itís like growing along with someone and the thing is that weíre putting it out there because people might be interested. People might want to check it out. Weíre not putting it out there so that we can become multimillionaires. This isnít pop music. This isnít the Britney Spears proven formula for the Top 40. ďWeíre going to be this smash hit. Look, weíre the next Beatles or Elvis.Ē Thatís not the type of music that weíre doing but there is a whole slew of people out there, especially young people that are growing up, and theyíre tired of the everyday crap that you hear. Theyíre tired of the Britney Spears and the ĎN Syncs. Theyíre tired of everything having to be an R&B bluesy hit. As great as music can be, over saturation can ruin anything for you. The experience of listening to this type of music, I notice when it hitís the right people. When it hitís the people that have that darker side to them or people that are going through troubles. Or the people that might be at a point in their lives where they need to hear some fresh stuff but they donít want to hear someone sitting there singing about how ďcome on baby, we can make it workĒ and all that stuff. They just donít want to deal with that crap and this is where they can turn to. This is the type of stuff where to the music, to everything, it can just emulate the aggression in people. It can help get it out. Sadness and anger always go together. I wouldnít say weíre a happy little group but you definitely feel good listening to this music. You feel good and it takes you away from your woes. It helps you get out the crap that youíre holding within.

You can identify with a lot of these songs because theyíre controversial and about stuff a lot of people have gone through.

Yep, and like I said the next outing is going to be more of the same but totally different and thatís the thing. There are some people out there that are very talented but they may have that one strong message or that small handful of powerful messages to get out but then once thatís out, thatís it. ďThanks for letting me get that off my chest. It was great talking to you guys. Until next time.Ē Then you leave the room. Then the next person steps up to the plate and theyíre the mouth and Evan and I are the delivery basically for that message. I think itís a great way to be. Itís not the proven formula of the music industry but I donít care. Iím not doing this to get rich. Iím not doing this to get famous. Iím just doing it because this is what I have to do at this moment.

Itís just something you wanted to try. Have you guys done any gigs or are you going to be doing any major touring?

Yeah. We played. We toured. Like I said when youíre dealing with this caliber of honesty, Scott and Rose are very eccentric. Theyíre very in their own space. Getting them out on the road is a very big possibility but itís also a situation where they might just want to remain closed up and quiet about it. In other words, things change so much. Things change and go on. We have played and we have toured and we may continue to do so but we may not. We may tour with different players that will help carry this message much like the song writers that write a song but then you never hear about it. Linda Perry from 4 NonBlondes wrote a lot of Pinkís music and yet Pink is the one thatís out there singing it. But itís Linda Perryís song. Most people remember 4 Nonblondes but most people donít know that Linda Perry writes Pinkís songs. Iím real honest with it. Itís like a magician. Everyone keeps the secret a secret. They want to keep everything locked up. Iím just honest with everything because in music youíve got to be honest or youíre going to sink. Youíll never swim.

Any other thoughts or comments?

I think people who listen to Salty should not feel that when theyíre listening to it, that itís not going to be a traditional band in the traditional sense. Evan and I are the base. Weíre the core of the band. When people listen to music, when theyíre moved by it, that was what we put together. When they hear us in our next outing, itís going to be more of that but itís not going to be the same story told again. Itís the same writer but a different story and I think that when people understand the idea behind the evolution of the band, theyíll pull more out of it. Itís definitely not background music, letís put it that way. Itís not music you put on in the background and then ignore while your buddies talk about nonsense. Itís music that you have to sit down in a quiet room and just listen to or go on a drive. Or just be in a place where youíre not going to have a phone ringing or a fax going or anything distracting you.

Salty The Pocketknife