The name Harry Dingman III is fairly well known on the Lincoln music scene. Go do a Ctrl-F search in the encyclopedia for “Dingman”, and you’ll get the idea. Cartoon Pupils, DBL, Four Against One, For Against, The Millions, The Living Dolls, Starla The Nudie Dancer, and GIO/Electrolyte are some of the bands he’s played in over the years. Harry hadn’t been too active in Lincoln over the past few years, but he recently teamed up with his old band mates in For Against, a band he hasn’t played in 15 years, starting a new chapter in the band. They’re working on new material, so I caught up with Harry to find out what the bands future plans are, and talked about his past and the Lincoln music scene of the 80’s & 90’s.
SCS: I understand that in addition to the show you did in September, you’re also working on new material together. What precipitated you guys working together again?
Harry: The re-release of Echelons was the catalyst and then we found that we wanted to write more songs together.
SCS: Is this as a “reunion”, or just the next incarnation of the band?
Harry: Incarnation – devolution?
SCS: That September show was the first For Against show in 4 years, and first in like, what...15 years with you in the band? How was it been going getting ready for the show, did the old songs come right back to you, or did it taking a bit of work?
Harry: Most of the songs came right back. The song “Broke My Back” sounded good the first time after not playing it for 15 years. Most of the other songs took some practice but they eventually came back. Paul did a great job of playing old songs he was originally not part of and adding new drum parts to them.
SCS: Is the new material along the same lines as Echelons/December era stuff when you were in the band, rather than later releases, or is it just something new entirely?
Harry: The two songs that are basically done and the ideas we are working on, sound like For Against, but a different For Against than any incarnation of the band. You see, it is the first time the three of us have written songs together. We all have a lot more musical experience now and are really interested in trying new things – finding new sounds.
SCS: Are you and Jeff writing together, or bringing individually written songs to the group
Harry: Sometimes, we write songs together on pieces of my ideas. I may come up with the verse, chorus, and/or bridge and then Jeff will drop the verse, make the chorus the verse, the bridge the chorus, or suggest a new ending. If Jeff brings in something it is usually a finished piece. He’ll have a guitar part, bass and vocals. However, a lot of times it’s just us jamming and that’s the song. Jeff is the one to add the vocals and lyrics. We definitely do not have a plan or formula or much forethought. Song writing for us is spontaneous and that’s the fun thing about being in the band.
SCS: Are there plans for a new CD, or are you just taking this one step at a time?
Harry: That’s kind of the plan – write new songs and see what happens.
SCS: What about touring?
Harry: One step at a time…
SCS:Despite all the success that For Against had, do you think in the early years, the band was held back by being pigeon-holed, or compared, accurately or inaccurately to other bands of the era?
Harry: If anything held us back, it was ourselves.
SCS: Seems kind of cryptic, care to elaborate?
Harry: We were young people that all had our own idea of how we should do things.
We were offered a European Tour in '88 and Capitol records was interested in
us but we did not pursue either. During the recording of December we hardly
talked to each other. We did the basic tracks in a couple of days. I did
my guitar parts alone. Jeff did his vocals by himself. Greg and Randy
Watson worked on production and the recording. I insisted we use a drum
machine on the song, "the effect", and there was a big fight about that.
There was a big fight over who should mix the album and in the end somone
outside of the band mixed it. December came out and we did not promote it.
We were offered some big shows and opportunities and let them go.
SCS: Was Cartoon Pupils your first Lincoln band, or were you playing before that?
Harry: I got together with friends in junior high school. I tried to play bass. We jammed on Led Zepplin, the Cars, and Rolling Stones songs. The Cartoon Pupils was the first band I was in where I played guitar and we wrote our own songs.
SCS: In 1983, DBL started with the same lineup as Four Against One, did this band just morph into F.A.O.?
Harry: Yes. We did not like the name DBL so we changed it to Four Against One. Glue was before DBL. Then we added Jeff and the band became DBL
SCS: You left For Against in 1990 to start The Millions. What was behind the split
Harry: Greg’s excuse for quitting For Against was to play with The Return. Jeff wanted to continue with For Against – without Greg. I kept playing with Jeff for about a month – but personal differences drove us apart.
SCS: How important were publications like Capital Punishment, Apathetic Injection, Broadside, and Gel to the music scene in those days?
Harry: The magazines were really good at getting people together – to put out compilation tapes and to have a lot of fun. They were written in a way that accurately reflected the music scene of the time – and had interesting artwork and pictures.
SCS: When and where was the first local show you played, and how did it go
Harry: The first local show I played was out in a cornfield at Sam Gartner’s farm. The line up was Steve Reeves –vocals and guitar, Eric Peterson –guitar, Dave Luedtke-drums, Julie Gartner –backing vocals, and myself on bass. We did not have a name. We played songs by 999, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Devo, and Joy Division. We got a few dirt clods thrown at us and some people really enjoyed it and danced.
SCS: Who were some of your favorite Lincoln bands from the 80’s and 90’s, who do you miss
Harry: The Youngsters and Steal Girder Pow Wow
SCS: Are there any specific shows or events that stand out in your memory?
Harry: Yes, the band: No Class at Eastridge Elementary School, Orange Learning Center, 1975. No Class was a band comprised of Junior High kids form the Eastridge area. They had an electric guitar, electric bass, keyboard, drums and two singers. They were loud, raw, and could barely make it through “Smoke on the Water” and we (all the kids) plugged our ears and loved it! Right then and there I knew that I wanted to play in a band.
SCS: Do you keep up with the current local bands? Who are some local bands or musicians that you admire or feel should be recognized?
Harry:Floating Opera, Jack Rinke, Junior Mighty, The Mezcal Brothers and 3 Toe Lady
SCS: Who was the first person or band you saw that made you want to play music?
Harry: Johnny Cash – both on album and from his T.V. show. My parents were also big fans. The whole family saw him live.
SCS: What are your top records of all time?
Harry: In chronological order of when I discovered them…
1. Johnny Cash- at Folsom Prison
2. Elton John – Yellow Brick Road.
3. The Beatles – “white album”
4. Kiss – Alive
5. Led Zepplin –II
6. Sex Pistols –Never Mind the Bullocks
7. Devo – Q. ARE WE NOT MEN? a. WE ARE DEVO!
8. Joy Division –Ideal for Living
9. Joy Division –Atmosphere/She’s Lost Control
SCS: What single song, in the entire history of music, do you most wish you'd written?
Harry: “Who’s that Doggy in the Window”
SCS: Have you learned anything in your experiences in a band that you feel newer local band could learn from, or made any mistakes they should avoid?
Harry: Protect your hearing- wear earplugs!
SCS: Yes! I can't emphasize that enough. At just over 40, my hearing is about shot. So tell me; when you're an old man, sitting on your porch in your rocking chairs, what will you remember most about your musical career, and what will you hope that others remember about it?
Harry: Having fun getting in the (you fill in the blanks).
SCS: Excellent! Thanks so much for the look forward and the look back! Good luck with whatever For Against moves into in the future!
Words On Music - For Against page
For Against website
- Tery Daly