EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 27, 2013

after all these years

A couple decades ago, the acoustic duo of Michael Gurley and Joie Calio decided they wanted to rock.

“We started looking for drummers,” Gurley said. “We probably went through seven or eight drummers in a six-month span. It was kind of Spinal Tap-ish. They didn’t blow up, but they didn’t last long. Then we found Phil.”

Calio was working at Geffen Records and was introduced to drummer Phil Leavitt. She and Gurley asked him to try out with them.

“We stood up, plugged in and he sat down,” Gurley said. “We started jamming in E. It just sounded powerful and there was space. We pulled it back down, got soft and built it back up again. We went on for eight, nine minutes. Then it was, ‘Whatever that was, it works.’”

Leavitt joined the duo and Dada was born. The band is now celebrating the 20th anniversary of its debut album, 1992’s “Puzzle,” with a fall tour that brings them to Londonderry and Boston.

The tour promises shows with plenty of songs from “Puzzle,” including the breakthrough single “Dizz Nee Land.” Dada won’t be playing the record in its entirety, however.

“We’re going to also drag out other deep tracks, things we haven’t played for 20 years,” Gurley said. “I think people are going to dig that.”

A few songs are deep enough that they were rarely – if ever – performed by Dada back in the day.

“Take a song like ‘Spinning My Wheels’, which we hardly ever played, at least I don’t remember playing it much,” Gurley said. “Phil said, ‘Let’s each pick a couple songs we’ve never done. That one got picked. There’s a lot of falsetto in it and I didn’t think we’d be able to do it, or that’s what I thought in the past.”

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