Bass Legend DAN LILKER On Perpetual Conversion Book - “I’m Not One To Be Extremely Egoistic, But It’s A Good Feeling”
January 6, 2015, 4 years ago
In 2008 Dave Hofer went on tour with grindcore legends Brutal Truth, selling merch for them on a UK tour; Hofer joined the band again the following year, and it was during that tour that the idea hit him hard: a book needs to be written about the band's bassist, extreme metal icon Dan Lilker."I remember Danny was just telling some story about Metallica way back in the day, just passing time and him talking about whatever. I just told him, 'Dude, you should fucking write a book, because I would read that shit.' And being how he is, he was just like, ‘I don’t know if I would ever do that.’ And I said, ‘Well… I might be able to help you do that.’”
The conversation ended there but the idea kept percolating in Hofer's mind. He brought it up to Lilker again after the second time he toured with Brutal Truth and Lilker agreed to go ahead with the project."The one thing I remember him saying," says Hofer, "was ‘Even if this just doesn’t sell like a million copies it’d be something cool to have here on my bookshelf.’ And I was, like, 'Alright dude, you are on the fucking level because I don’t know if anybody is ever going to see this thing. You have the right attitude. That sums it up for me, completely.'"
Lilker says that it was satisfying to have a book written about his musical history. Although he's always been a bit of a quiet character in metal, his story is one that is worth telling."It’s a cool feeling," says Lilker. "I’m not one to be extremely egoistic, but it’s a good feeling."
Lilker says that after waiting a few years for the book to be put together, it was a good feeling to sit back and hold it in his hands. Although, he admits that it was a bit weird, too."Having been on as many albums as I’ve been on, it’s a similar feeling to holding an album that you’ve been waiting for coming out for a long time," he says. "But with it just being about me, it was almost a little weird. I’m used to being a member of a band with other people, so it was a little strange having something that was solely about me, it was almost like having a Dan Lilker solo album or something. But it was a very satisfying thing to do."
Hofer, who in the past was a writer and reviews editor for Punk Planet, says that his goal with the book is modest, much like the book's subject."It’s not like his status is going to be magically elevated or something like that," says Hofer. "It’s more for people like me, the superfan type thing, I just hope they would enjoy it, first of all, and that it wasn’t completely boring, and just answer some questions that people have had over the years. If you’re reading this book, chances are you have an idea of what you’re getting into. It’s not like somebody completely foreign to the subject is going to come in and be like, wow, my life has been changed by this book. It just basically scratched an itch I had, so I would just hope it would do the same for like-minded people."
Cut to today and here we have it, an unlikely project born out of some casual conversation passing time on tour: Perpetual Conversion, a book that walks through Lilker's life, with stops along the way for every band he's been in. It moves briskly, with incredible anecdotes and revelations from all eras of the man's career (the Nuclear Assault section is particularly fascinating), told in an oral history format, with much of the text being from Lilker's mouth and a good amount of other noteworthy characters popping in to give their two cents as well.
So why did Hofer feel that Lilker deserves to have a book written about him? Quite simply, says Hofer, "because he did so much stuff."
"He’s just low-key… that’s a good question," says Hofer. "Just his attitude and the way he has progressed through his low-key career, it’s just touched so many people, his good nature has touched a lot of people and indirectly a lot of music fans through things he’s created, and that’s noteworthy."
And as for Lilker's recent announcement that he will be taking it easy from being a full-time touring musician now that he's hit 50, Hofer (who considers Brutal Truth his fave Lilker project, with S.O.D. coming in at number two) says he understands completely."It would certainly suck to fly being his height," considers Hofer. "If you look at the book, the guy’s been active constantly. He’s been a busy dude. So knowing that he is going to keep creating music is enough for me. I don’t need him to wreck his knees or psyche running himself ragged. Just settle into the groove he’s got going and do his thing."
(Live photos by Scott Kinkade)