Published by 225 Magazine September 30, 2013. Two bands, same musicians, plenty of rock.
By Amanda Wicks
The Diane Lanes and Dov Charney are two Baton Rouge bands committed to the essence of rock ‘n’ roll, and they just happen to be composed of mostly the same musicians. While the Diane Lanes include Jonathan Loubiere on vocals and guitar, Lee Barbier on lead guitar, Spencer Johnson on bass and Matthew Sigur on drums, Dov Charney shifts that direction and sound by dropping one musician—Johnson—and having Barbier play bass. The result is a far more punk-rock sound than the classic indie rock the Diane Lanes produce.
“I know at this point people question the purpose of having two bands with mostly the same people, but they didn’t start out that way,” Barbier says. The Diane Lanes went through two different drummers before settling on Sigur (Editor’s note: Sigur is the online writer for 225 but was not involved with this story.), and Barbier joined Dov Charney after the original bassist had to back out due to other commitments. It’s clear that the camaraderie that initially brought everyone together helps produce a tighter rock sound for both bands, even though each has a different concept.
The Diane Lanes came first, in 2010. Loubiere says, “I’ve always thought of the Diane Lanes as a typical rock ‘n’ roll-type band.” With influences that include The Beatles, The Replacements, Dream Syndicate and MC5, it’s clear that the band doesn’t conform to any standard genre. “There’s a lot of room for creativity and just plain fun,” Johnson says.
What remains at the forefront of both bands is the guitar. Barbier’s guitar work, as well as what he describes as his “overindulgent” solos, flashes through each song and offers a glimpse into an exciting world of hard-edged rock. Local musician Liam Catchings of Liam Catchings and the Jolly Jacket admires the band’s stage presence. “Their live show is a perfect storm of visceral rock ‘n’ roll,” he says.
When writing songs, Loubiere—the leader of both bands—says he is more interested in the rhythm of words and melody together, as opposed to starting from one and working toward the other. “I’ll get one good line and build from there,” he explains. Syllables become especially important for the kind of meter they offer. “I’ve always been more interested in the rhythmic aspect of the guitar playing when it comes to music, so many times the lyrics are secondary.”
What draws Loubiere to music are the “things that surprise you—that catch your ear,” and he strives to punctuate his songs with such surprises. “Listening reveals a forced moment of energy, inflection and phrasing,” he says, and that trifecta comes across from the beginning of “Darling,” one of three songs on Know When to Quit, which the Diane Lanes released last year.
Yet Loubiere realized some of the music he wrote didn’t fit the Diane Lanes’ repertoire, so he decided to move in a different direction with Dov Charney’s punk-rock vibe. Removing the second guitar allows the bass to take on what Barbier sees as “more of an upfront, melodic thing.”
Thus far, both bands have played primarily in Baton Rouge and Lafayette—frequenting Chelsea’s Café and Mud and Water here. “The original music scene in Baton Rouge is small when compared to cities like Austin or New Orleans, but that has fostered a community feel. The city’s full of people who enjoy live music,” Johnson says.
Breaking free of what has traditionally been seen as a singer-songwriter music scene, both the Diane Lanes and Dov Charney promise to bring some edge and rock to Baton Rouge—each in its own way.