Blackstone Rangers Is No More. Long Live Pale DÄ«an.
No matter what happens moving forward, we'll always have a soft spot in our hearts for Blackstone Rangers.
For one thing, the distorto-pop trio's debut EP was one of the first reviews we wrote for this site. But, from there, we've frequently returned to the band, interviewing them about their tour vehicle, catching them play Sound Select shows, and pestering them to tell us the story about how one of their dads played an integral role in the birth of arena rock. Also, the band's members are usually game for after-show shots at the nearest bar, too. So that's cool.
But big changes lay ahead for the band, which recently changed its name to Pale DÄ«an. After playing its first show under the new moniker this weekend at Double Wide, two-thirds of the band's current lineup will relocate to Austin. Oh, and there's also that long-awaited debut LP that'll earn its release in the coming months.
So this current turning point, just days ahead of his final performance as a member of a Dallas-based band, seemed a fitting time to catch up with the band's guitarist, Derek Kutzer.
First thing's first: How do you pronounce the new name?
It's Pale DÄ«an [like Diane]. We wanted to spell it with four letters. That little symbol over it is called a macron, so you pronounce the “i” like “eye.” I guess that's how you pronounce it.
Why did you choose the new name?
First of all, it's basically the same band. We just changed the name. We have been tired of Blackstone for a while. We were never really happy with it from the beginning, but we just kept rolling with it. We figured since we're about to release our debut LP, this will be a good time to go ahead and change it. Also, we had to let our drummer Daniel [Bornhorst] go. He was a founding member of Blackstone Rangers, so we felt like that was kind of also indicating a new lineup and changes ahead. I think when we named ourselves Blackstone Rangers, we hadn't really figured out our sound yet. I think the new name better represents the direction the sound has evolved. It's a reference to the moon, and stuff like that.
What happened with Daniel?
He just wasn't working out. We were having some creative differences, personal differences, just pretty much everything. The way that we wanted to develop as a band and go on tour didn't really fit his schedule. He just really wasn't working out as far as his dedication and stuff like that, so we just had to let him go.
Before completely changing your name, I know you had previously tried to change up the spelling, taking out all the vowels and whatnot. That didn't really seem to catch on.
Yeah. Also, the name is a reference to a black gang in Chicago. It's not that they scared us out of that name or anything, but we'd get people from Chicago messaging us all the time asking what was up with the name. In some sense, it was maybe a little insensitive to have that name anyway, so we were always kind of dealing with that. Like, “Why are you using this name? [You're] a bunch of white dudes from Texas.”
How do you think the band's evolved to the point that Pale DÄ«an is a more fitting descriptor?
I don't think it's changed that much since the Descendant record. I think it has changed a lot since the first EP. The big difference is that we're utilizing a drum machine, all hardware, rather than the sound of live drums. It's very machine-like, almost industrial-sounding drum beats. The other thing would be live bass. I would say the sound is a little darker, a little smudgier. It's an extension off our last EP, just a little more drum machine-forward.
Do you think you'll ever have a live drummer again?
We're not really purposely saying we're never going to have a drummer again, but at least for this next round of shows — and probably for at least the next six months of touring — we're going to go with no drummer. Just a drum machine.
So after this Double Wide show, you guys are moving to Austin?
Yeah. We're actually moving on August 1. Ben Fleming is in the band, he also plays in Mercury Rocket. He plays bass with us. He's staying up here in Dallas, and Ruth and I are moving down there. We'll just have a little long-distance relationship.
Is the move for band reasons, personal reasons or a little of both?
It's a little of both. I'm from down there, between Austin and San Antonio, and my sister lives there. My mom lives there. It's kind of like moving back home. I lived there before I moved to Dallas. I moved to Dallas to go to graduate school, and I'm done with all that. We're just ready for a change, and we're definitely looking forward to the music scene down there, too.
Then how soon does the new record come out?
That we do not know. Everything is done on it, we think, although we're re-thinking the sequencing of it right now. But it's mixed and mastered. We have no idea when it's going to come out. We're looking for the right label to release it. We're just keeping our options open on that.
Pale DÄ«an performs on Saturday, July 25, at Double Wide.