In line with the Oct. 5 release of its 12th album, Gold Rush, CULTURE caught up with Dusty “Tex” Dahlgren, half of the blue collar rap/rock duo, Moonshine Bandits. Dahlgren talked about music, motivation, and that time his dad went a little too hard on the edibles. More than just the hell raisin’ party music it’s known for, the Moonshine Bandits’ lifestyle embraces charity, hard work and small town values learned in its hometown Los Banos, California—keeping the duo humble, as they live the high life.
What can fans expect to hear from your recently released album, Gold Rush?
They’re gonna hear songs about them, because they’re the ones that inspired this record. It’s a feel good album about places we’ve been, people we’ve met, and stories we’ve heard while on the road. There’s a lot of name drops on the album; we even name drop our fans. I think it’s a more personal album. We just got in there and started creating a vibe, and then one song led to another, and we had a theme.
You’re pretty much always on tour. What’s your motivation to keep up that nonstop pace?
It’s how we built our career. We get out there and put on a kickass show. I feel like our live show is how we built our fanbase. After shows, we always make it a point to go out and meet with the fans and shake hands and hear their stories. The fans have been the drive since day one.
How would you describe the Moonshine Bandits’ sound to those who have never heard your music?
Our music is the working man’s anthem for people that bust their ass all week, and on the weekend want to forget about bills and just have a good time. I’d say we’re blue collar rock or blue collar rap, whatever you want to call it. We never jumped into a certain genre and said we need to make music like this. It’s always been what’s organic to us.
“There’s a lot of other shit in this world to worry about than smokin’ something that just makes you feel good.”
What led you guys to start the nonprofit organization, Operation Packing Company?
We noticed there were a lot of military coming to our shows. We wondered how we could do something for them, so after the show we’d get their address and mail them stuff. Over the years we asked our fans to get involved, and then we made it a legal nonprofit. Now we send 75 to 100 boxes of supplies to soldiers overseas on a monthly basis. In the box there’s hygiene stuff, snacks, wet wipes. On our website, operationpackingcompany.org, you can see what kinds of supplies are needed and how to donate. We’re very proud of it. It’s probably one of the coolest things about our career. We felt like if we’re gonna sing these patriotic songs, we should put our money where our mouth is.
What are your views on cannabis?
There’s a lot of other shit in this world to worry about than smokin’ something that just makes you feel good. I’ve seen it used for kids who have seizures and people who have other ailments. I personally smoke a little before I go to bed after the show to wind down. Being on the road so much, it does create tour anxiety. Cannabis helps with that. We’ve always been around the culture. A lot of our first shows were in Humboldt. We got some loans from up there to make it in this music thing. They loaned us money, and here we are!
You guys are all about having a good time. How does cannabis fit into the Moonshine Bandits lifestyle?
If you’re smokin’ or drinkin’ it’s a good time! “Lawn Chairs and Lighters,” that’s exactly what that song is about. Our DJ, DJ Chopstiqs, is an everyday smoker. Chops always has a nice bag, usually Cookies or some of the old school stuff like AK-47. We have crazy stories, like onstage we’ll say “Hey, my DJ needs some weed!” A guy will run out the door and come back with a full plant and throw it onstage. We used to have a guy who came onstage with a 12-inch hooter and blaze it up right onstage. A lot of those venues won’t have us back, so . . .
This is CULTURE’s annual Edibles Issue. Are you into edibles? Do you have any good stories?
I’ve had my fair share of times eating too many edibles because I like the taste and then gettin’ stuck for a while. I’ve got a great edible story about my dad. We had a show in Humboldt [County], and they had some cookies. I said, “Dad, you have a bad hip. You should try eating one of these cookies.” So he eats one and is like, “These are great!” Next thing you know, he’s on his third cookie, and he’s laughin’ his ass off licking his fingers thinking that they are little sausages! It was funny as hell!