Meet Claire on a Dare, or rather meet Claire on a Dare 2.0.
The entity known as Claire on a Dare first took shape in 2010, culminating in a debut release with 2012’s “The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned.” However, only the founder /songwriter/ guitarist, Stephen Paul Dix, remains from the original cast, today; to say the road has been a winding one would be an understatement. The departure of an ex-lead singer, a session with renowned engineer Earle Mankey, and the addition of 4 new members (the key of which was vocalist, Carla Riggi) all led the the creation of CoD’s latest 5-song E.P., "This is Claire on a Dare.” Part re-interpretation, part re-birth, all brand new vision
Early in 2013, Carla Riggi (formerly of SF’s Hey Man Hey) replaced COD's departed vocalist on front vox, but the collaboration proved so successful that she and Dix would embark on a recording endeavor to Southern California. There, they would meet up with friend and studio drummer, Doug Johnson.
Enter producer/engineer Earle Mankey. Mankey is best known for his studio work with Joan Jett’s first band, The Runaways, as well as acts like, Concrete Blonde, Possum Dixon and many more. Mankey and Dix had worked together in the past, forging a friendship that would prove instrumental to CoD’s evolution. Mankey would introduce a re-keying of the CoD sound, pulling it away from the darker goth ardor the act had known previously, and shifting it towards a more post-punk, 80s, alt-rock feel. The resulting metamorphosis is encapsulated on “This is Claire on a Dare.”
The collection is part reworking of older material, part new material; an intentional transition meant to preview things to come for the band. Flavors of SoCal rhythms pervade on the original tracks, the femme fatale-ish “Hiding in Plain Sight” and the frantic “Broken T.V.” The reworking of the melancholy “Asunder,” the Blondie-esque “Neon Signs,” and the mid-tempo “Distant Star” show new acceptance of the band’s inevitable evolution. Mankey adds his magic, choosing complementary effects for Dix’s guitars, layering vocal tracks in new, thrilling ways, while Riggi also adds her flavor as the more attitude-laden, finesse-employing, Deborah Harry (Blondie)-esque front-woman.
Dix add his two-cents on the evolution, subsequent new tone and future of the act:
“We just called it "This is Claire On A Dare" to reiterate this is who we are. Everything that came before was a big part of the evolution of the band, but these recordings and the subsequent reformation of the group is sort of a re-birth and a fresh start to create music that is limitless, and we promise a full length of new material in 2014.”
Dix and Riggi have since joined with bassist Ray Nonato and past members, guitarist Mark Olson and drummer Les Shanrock, upon the E.P.'s completion to solidify CoD's return.
To learn more about Claire on a Dare, visit claireonadare.com
CoD's next performance will be at the Caravan Lounge (98 S Almaden Ave, San Jose) on Saturday (Sept. 7) @ 8PM, and will be followed by many performances in the coming months. Visit their reverbnation page for dates, samples and more.