Arts Desk

D.C. Party-Rock Digest No.1: The Dance Party and the Factory

dancepartyAn occasional feature that, God willing, will never appear in this space again

The last time we checked in with the Dance Party—that would be the time the dudes behind Fan Death Records called it a "garbage band"—the sweatband-loving D.C. synthpop group was in L.A. recording its major-label debut. Now via the band's publicist, we learn that that record, TOUCH, is complete, and will drop on Sept. 28 via Hell Ya! Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. The press release says fookyah:

It seems like a common rock and roll cliché for bands to move to Hollywood, party with reckless abandon, and hang out at strip clubs. However, for THE DANCE PARTY, the L.A. party lifestyle seemed like the most obvious next step in their career.  While in Hollywood writing and recording TOUCH, the band took over [strip club] Crazy Girls, setting up shop with a naughty monthly residency involving energetic performances, excessive partying, and most importantly, onstage strippers.

While the band's over-the-top live show and song writing may have seemed out of place in Washington, D.C., a city best known for power suits and politics, THE DANCE PARTY fit right in with the drugs, sex, and rock and roll of the Sunset Strip.  "In Hollywood, we found a lifestyle that matched the music we wanted to make," says Coogan.  "We found muses in the beautiful California girls and inspiration in the excess.  Our record is a natural expression of how we live and we're proud of it." The band's series of sold-out shows at Crazy Girls gained instant notoriety, quickly becoming one of the most insane parties in Hollywood.


4.75"x18.812" 4 Panel CD Roll Fold TemplateOne imagines, based on the provided press materials, that the Factory occupied a similar, if slightly more metal-tinged, milieu in the late '80s and early '90s. Listen to "Self Submission": Its scuzzy, self-parodying rock is suggestive of the New York Dolls or the Dictators, which is exactly the type of rock music D.C. has never been known for. The group apparently attracted some attention (if not enough) from A&R reps, but disbanded in the early '90s due to frontman Vance Bockis' addiction to heroin (he beat it, but the group stayed kaput). Now Acetate Records is releasing the group's once-lost recordings as a self-titled album, out on Sept. 7. If you're into the kind of band whose fashion sense The Washington Post described in 1998 1988 as...

part Prince prance, part Glimmer glamour, part biker butch and part spaghetti Western

...then, uh, check it out. Me? I've got 45 minutes of Fugazi stage banter I feel like relistening to.

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  • ricky d

    Vance Bockis is better known for 9353, a cool band who were kind of the exception that proved the rule of mid-80s DC punk. No reason to slag him.

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  • Sergio

    Is DC Music scene and the people who dominate it (writers, bloggers, people in position of power, etc) ever going to wake up and realize how ridiculous their love of post-punk/experimental music is? Their influence is absolutely destroying this city's music scene...God-forbid that the Dance Party uses synths, can actually sing and play their instruments, writes catchy songs, and are successful. These guys are good and should be getting way more attention but we are still deifying Fugazi. Great job.

  • Mickey Weekend

    while i have always made it known that fugazi etc. is not my cup of bud light, i will forever endorse the best band ever to come out of dc--washington social club.

    this band wrote amazing songs, signed a deal, got in a van and brought the rock to the masses. they wrote two outstanding records that everyone should check out--"catching looks" and "bigger than your boyfriend." eventually the band robots became too powerful and they broke up, but they were a huge influence on our band.

    this fucking band's live show was unstoppable. don't get me wrong, fugazi brought the hellfire, but there were just too many sober, sweaty dudes arm wrestling at those shows. wsc was the shit.

    boobs boners tits whatever. record drops sept. 28. long live dc

  • Chad
  • Darnell Struthers

    The lamest part of this article is that he wasnt joking about listening to Fugazi stage banter. Man, wasn't living in Bethesda in 1989 rad?

  • Jon St. John

    skeleton t-shirt

  • James

    I'm sorry, i'm too busy sitting in my power suit and thinking about politics to understand the rock and roll excess of this band. If only I were cool enough!

  • Disco Dan

    I hate it when nobody comes to listen to my experimental math rock duet that sounds like every other joke indi band on Tuesday afternoons at Velvet Lounge.

    Way to go out of your way to hate on one of the three DC bands that decided to actually go for it and not play the DC9/ R&R Hotel weekend circuit until they had kids and moved to Fairfax.

    Oh yeah. Fugazi is fuking boring as shit.

  • Nate

    It must be great to get famous enough to legions of uncritical fans ready to troll blog comments for you. While I think Mr. Fischer indulged a bit too much style-over-substance holier-than-thou snark here, it's pretty hard to deny that the Dance Party's new single and its accompanying video are really, really bad.

  • DF

    Let’s set the record straight. Post punk is not a genre. Post-punk was a period from 1978 to 1984 where musicians influenced by the original punk movement took those ideas and put their own unique spin on them. It was, as Simon Reynolds put it, arguably the last great explosion of musical creativity that was purely forward looking instead of being revivalist.

    That being said…

    The Dance Party make one kind of music. Other bands in DC make other kinds of music. One band’s success doesn’t cancel out another’s. There’s room for every kind of hustle.

    Stop running your mouths and talking shit if you’re not actively contributing to the creative process. Some of us work full time, rehearse and spend much of our free time either playing shows or attending other peoples shows. It is all consuming. It’s real easy to talk shit when you don’t play an instrument and you get to go happy hour and exchange business cards, go home, watch some Madmen or whatever horseshit that you’ve devoted your brain cells to.

  • Encino Man

    I didn't know Pauly Shore had a band. Weeze the juice!

  • Sergio

    DF, how's the view up on your high horse?

  • martin

    dc, still a crabpot. Mickey, i eagerly await your behind the music. And thanks for the shout out. most of the time wsc isn't mentioned as being a part of dc music history. sort of got the pussy galore treatment on that one.

    John, even though I respect anyone in your line of work, i would absoltutely recommend Elvis' stage banter album over Fugazi's. really. seriously.


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  • Jim C

    The Factory - the single greatest rock and roll band to ever come from DC. The only problem was they were from a ciy that was - and still is - deifies Fugazi and all things Dischord as if nothing came before or after. It ruined our scene then and it is still ruining it today. While your listening to Fugazi stage banter I'll be dancing around my living room blasting Girl That I Want and feeling sorry for you.