Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dave Smalley of DYS, All, Down By Law, Dag Nasty

I just sent interview questions off to Dave Smalley.  As I was figuring out what I wanted my questions to be, I was thinking about the really cool letter he wrote that went with a framed photo (by Ken Salerno) as a part of my grade school's Hardcore for Education fundraiser last year.  I just thought I would post the letter here because the words are really cool.

- PMA Kid


 My name is Dave Smalley. I’m a punk rock singer, screamer, songwriter, guitarist and general tattooed misfit. And I can sometimes be an idiot. But I’m also not a total idiot, for the most part -- and the thanks for that go to some really, really wonderful teachers over the years. And my really, really wonderful parents.

If you’re reading this, that means you get it. You get the big picture – that we can’t raise the next generations of poets, scientists or punk rock singers without great schools, great teachers who are infused with enthusiasm for helping kids reach their highest potential.

For me, it all started with Mrs. Carolyn Zolbe at Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. It was really Mrs. Zolbe who is responsible for all those albums I’ve made over the years – without her, there would be no “Can I Say,” no “punkrockacademyfightsong,” no “Brotherhood” or “Allroy for Prez.” Because Mrs. Zolbe saw in me not just the young rebel/dork that I was, but also someone who had a gift for music. And she developed it in me. When we did plays or musical skits, she told me to sing, so I did. And I found that I loved it.

And I’ve never looked back since then. She gave me confidence, put me on the path. Without her, who knows what I’d be right now.

But it wasn’t just me. She did the same for all the kids. Kids with special needs got special attention. Kids with gifts for sports were encouraged to get out there and play hard. Kindness was encouraged. I remember she made me one of the tutors for a couple of the kids who had challenges with reading, and I was so honored to do that, that it made me realize the importance of helping others. That has influenced my view of punk rock, and what it means to be a musician. See, despite my absolute love for the Sex Pistols, I never was into the whole anarchy idea – instead, I saw punk rock as a chance to make the world a better place. Tear down the bad, leave the good, and improve the rest, including ourselves. Go for ALL!

So thanks for supporting this auction. Thanks for giving of yourself to help kids who really are at those critical points in life. What you’re doing, right now, by buying this and reading it, means you, me, all of us together, can be part of something bigger than ourselves. It proves that punk rockers and punk fans are, once again, the greatest group of people I’ve ever been honored to associate with. And it proves that even a tattooed misfit can do something worthwhile – all because of a teacher, an education, and some serious heart.

Dave Smalley 

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(Noting that this site is primarily run by a kid, his parents ask you to keep profanity and offensive commentary out of your posts.)