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The DC-10s / Bio

"I've always liked aeroplanes."

James Bartlett, The DC-10s rhythm guitarist and songwriter, stares out at the rain hitting against the windows of the diner we're sitting in. He's the consummate picture of a melancholy minstrel; dressed from head to toe in black, with his hair in slight disarray.

"I started this band because I don't see doing anything else. Why would you even want to? That's part of why I wanted us to be 'The DC-10s.' I mean, I guess by that logic we could've been anything, but one of my favourite things in this world is the sky and the freedom that it represents. Naming ourselves after an airplane... it's just kind of representative of the human struggle to become more than we are and to reach greater heights than anyone thinks possible. Aviation is amazing for that. People take it for granted now but can you imagine what it would've been like to get aboard the first commercial jet liner? That's how I feel about rock 'n' roll. It's freedom and it's grand and it's an all encompassing feeling of joy and wonder."

Lead guitarist and other half of the Bartlett/Spellman team, Zach Spellman joins in,

"I mean, there's something special about this band that just equates to good music, in my opinion. You can be very talented technically but if you haven't got tunes, it really doesn't matter how impressive you are." Seeing them side-by-side, it's obvious the two are different sides of the same coin. Both look as if they're from a different period in time. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that this is both the why and how of the two making music together.

James throws his hands in the air and goes into a tangent.

"Have you ever seen that clip of Buddy Holly back in the 50's on that show? You know the one; where there's some lady who was hip enough to have a rock band on her show and she calls The Crickets, 'Rock 'n' Roll specialists?' That's how I'd like to think of us. That's not to say we're great or whatever but we do specialize in a certain kind of rock n' roll. We specialize in being us, I suppose."

"Can I say something?"

All focus at the table turns to keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist, Ryan Bangert. "I think people like to just go out and have a good time. We're not theatrical but we do love the music and we do want people to come out and dance wherever and whenever we play."

"I think that's a good point." Doug Hanold, drummer and backbone of The DC-10's, chimes in. " We're not a bar band but there is something else there. Something that hopefully everyone can relate to; and if they can't maybe we'll pick them up further down the road. Music is a healing force and hopefully we can be a part of that healing when people listen to us."

I tell the boys that I have to wrap up the article but still haven't gotten a quote from their quiet, curly haired bass-player, Rybak. He's spent most of the interview keeping to himself and suddenly finds that he's on the spot. He turns away from the window and looking me in the eye says, "Come see us live, talk to us, and when the album comes out, buy our music."

The DC-10s are taking flight and landing in a town near you, soon!

-Tim Behringer

General Info

Band Members
James Bartlett- Rhythm Guitar/Vox, Randall Mentzos- Bass/Vox, Ryan Bangert- Lead Guitar/Vox, Doug Hanold- Drums/Vox
Artist Name
The DC-10s
Home Page
Active Since
Indie / Indie Rock / Blues

Contact Info

Baltimore, MD
James Bartlett

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