Dash Ten Interview
“The Army’s been great and I would never try to subtract this chapter from my life, and it’s been a really great chapter…”
There are not many groups of individuals who I generally have more respect for than aspiring musicians, but one of those groups are the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces. When I learned about Dash Ten and their blending of both traits, I was instantly drawn to the band. Before their fun pop rock set at Vans Warped Tour, I sat down with lead singer and bassist Corrin Campbell to learn more about the band, the US Army, her mentors, and purple hair… shocking, bright, purple hair…
Here’s my conversation with this talented, and humble young lady, who seems destined to become one of those generous personalities she recognizes during the interview.
Cretin: How did this gig come about where all three of you are active duty US Army?
Corrin Campbell: I had served in the Army and when I got out I wanted to play music full-time. I put out my first EP in 2008. Eventually we were doing well enough that when Lilith Fair revived we opened for that, and playing in DC on the Mall in front of the reflecting pool on Memorial Day.
Cretin: That’s cool. Was this was under your own name at the time?
Corrin Campbell: I was playing under Corrin Campbell and The Election. Then the Army began to take notice. And, I always organically talked about how I was in the Army and I had a lot of respect for Veterans and played a lot of Veteran events. The Army approached me and said why don’t you come back on Active Service and we’ll have you go out and do that in an official capacity for us.
Late last year, the guys were playing in support of the solo artists, and I was tired of my face being blown up everywhere and I really wanted a harder sound, so I said why don’t we start a power trio? And they were in. And now we’re Dash Ten.
Cretin: Has the Army supported this endeavor all along?
Corrin Campbell: Yeah, we get paid soldier salaries, so we’re not rich, but we’re essentially operating as a non-profit band. It’s a cool relief in one way because there’s no pressure to sell things and have to worry too much about that. (They were giving away free music at the event I attended). I still own 100% of my old music, and Dash Ten owns all of our music and recordings. The Army doesn’t have any say in the writing or lyricism. It’s really more authentic than I thought.
Cretin: I wondered what would happen if you had a huge hit song that was sought after for commercials and tv, if you’d have total control and it sounds like you would?
Corrin Campbell: We absolutely do and that was probably the most surprising thing. Thinking about the Army, we go in and divide and conquer and take over things and I was afraid that might happen with the music but they’ve been really supportive of us showing that individualism that makes us who we are.
Cretin: Is this new ground for the Army?
Corrin Campbell: It’s new ground for everybody. We’re actually the only original rock band who’s out there. We’re able to write our own music which isn’t Army property, and being able to say what we want to say with the Army’s support. I assume the Air Force will do it next because they’re usually the ones to come up with stuff first… because they’re the youngest.
Cretin: Is part of your purpose to play for the soldiers in the Army, like overseas and in areas of conflict?
Corrin Campbell: We have not done that. Our primary focus is trying to reach the typical Warped fan, young adults. Their exposure to the military has been almost exclusively a state of conflict as long as they can remember. Politics make it polarizing, but we just want to be out here showing that we’re doing something that we love. Our service is serving the people; we don’t align with the politics. We’re trying to strip all of the politics and what the media has done to the uniform over the past 15 years.
Cretin: How long are you committed to doing this gig with the Army?
(She points to her t-shirt, which says “Make hair fun again.” And then in Sharpie underneath – “288 Days”)
Corrin Campbell: Let me tell you about this shirt. The hairline that Hayley Williams (Paramore) and my friend Brian (O’Connor) puts out, Good Dye Young, has a very brightly colored hair line. And Brian wrote “288 days”, and that’s when I can dye my hair crazy colors.
Cretin: That’s awesome.
Corrin Campbell: The Army’s been great and I would never try to subtract this chapter from my life, and it’s been a really great chapter, but I just want my hair to be purple.
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Cretin: Are you and the guys all getting out together in 288 days, and moving on as a band?
Corrin Campbell: It’s an individual decision and we all have to decide what we want, but I’ve decided that I’m not staying until retirement.
Cretin: You’re not going to stick it out for a full pension?
Corrin Campbell: I’m more of a free spirit and I want to do the next great thing and I need to see what the guys decide to do with their lives and their time.
Cretin: But in either case, you are going to continue with rock ‘n roll, and purple hair?
Corrin Campbell: Most definitely, but, whatever color Brian picks. He’s a genius. I’ll let him do anything he wants to do.
Cretin: With all of the touring that you’ve done, have you made good connections that will help you in the next stage of your career?
Corrin Campbell: More so than trying to network up, we’ve been trying to talk to the people at our peer level, because all we want is for people to look at people who served differently. I would love to see something amazing happen coming out of this, but as of now, I’m kind of enjoying it being where it is and making all of the friends I can regardless of their status.
Cretin: Any mentors in your career?
Corrin Campbell: Oh yeah. Obviously Kevin (Lyman) who has been doing this (Vans Warped Tour) for 21 years and still has his soul intact.
Cretin: He seems like such a good, down to earth person.
Corrin Campbell: He is like an old school punk who will give you some attitude if you push him, but he really cares about people. I’ve watched him take a hit for big bands, small bands and labels, and I know he wants the best for everybody out here.
Also, there’s a guy named Bill Werde, who was an editor at Billboard Magazine. His blood runs as blue as it gets, so it was a very surprising relationship, but he has been an incredible mentor and I actually was privileged to go to the Women in Music Billboard event a few years ago. I had some high ranking guy with me and Bill walked up to him and said “I never would have thought about the Army the way that I did without Corrin.”
And then the entire Hayley Williams camp. I actually know her family well. We had the same vocal coach when we were younger.
Cretin: I think you can say that she’s done pretty well since then.
Corrin Campbell: I saw her at my first Warped Tour in 2005 and she was incredible. She’s a role model to me even though she’s younger than me because she treats people so well and her whole family just treats people so well. I think that’s how you really get success that is long lasting, and fans who stick with you. That’s the way you garner appreciate and respect from people around you. She’s been an excellent example for me.
Cretin: It’s great to see someone that successful who is that good of a person.
Corrin Campbell: Yes, and through Hayley, I’ve met Taylor Swift a few times. I barely know her at all and she probably wouldn’t know who I am, but she’s incredibly sweet and very nice and that’s 100% authentic. You see those people kind of align with each other in the industry, who want everyone to do well and be joyful. Those people tend to magnetize to each other and I hope that someday I can join that girls’ squad.
Since our interview a few weeks ago, Dash Ten was forced to drop off of the lineup of Warped Tour. I reached out to Corrin via Facebook Messenger for a quick update:
“Unfortunately we had to leave the tour unexpectedly after the Darien Center, NY show. We’re broken up about it, and hoping it’s something that can be remedied. Kevin has been super supportive of us and let us know that we’re welcome to come back if and when the Army works it all out.”
Then she shared that the folks at the Army are trying to help, as well.
“Yeah, absolutely. They’re trying to work it out. Government gets messy, and the people who put us on the road are working hard to try and fix it.”
Hopefully we’ll see Dash Ten back on the Full Sail Stage soon, and if not, we’ll find just look for the woman with the crazy hair on a stage somewhere nearby in another 270 days or so…
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