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Dilana: “Tracii Guns, he’s the worst businessman – ever”

Dilana: "Tracii Guns, he’s the worst businessman – ever"


Dilana set to rock Portland this Friday April 20th

Former ‘Rock Star’ contestant Dilana makes Portland appearance backed by local musicians

by Ruben Mosqueda

Dilana was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she was bitten by the music bug early on and started performing full time in and around South Africa. She later moved to The Netherlands and performed with various musicians and as a solo artist. Honing her songwriting skills and her musicianship, she relocated to Houston, Texas, where she established a loyal following. Dilana is probably best known for her participation on the CBS show Rock Star, which aired from July to September of 2006. While she didn’t win, she did gain the respect of her peers on the show and picked up some new fans along the way.

Dilana continues to write music and perform regularly. She recently signed on as lead singer for L.A. Guns, and she was introduced on last season of VH-1 Classic’s That Metal Show. “She’s got some very big balls,” said L.A. Guns founding member and guitarist Tracii Guns of Dilana. She joined L.A. Guns in September of 2011 and by the middle of December of 2011 Dilana was on her way out of the band. During a fall tour things came to a head; Dilana and Tracii Guns had some differences and she opted to leave. At the present time, Dilana is back writing music for her upcoming album and playing live gigs around the L.A. area and beyond.

Dilana has a new single called “Sexaholic” that is available on iTunes, and she will be performing in Portland on April 20th at Tiger Bar backed by a band that consists of various familiar faces from Portland area bands. The lineup includes bassist Jeff Buehner, guitarist Brandon Cook, drummer Kevin Rankin, and guitarist Kevin S. Hahn. Oregon Music News caught up with Dilana and she talked about her new album and how her show in Portland came about.


Most people probably remember you from your appearance on the reality series Rock Star: Supernova. After the show you went on to tour with Rock Star Supernova (the band), which made a stop in Portland. What was the experience on the show like? How much did you benefit from participating in it?

It’s been almost five years ago, and a lot has happened and so much has changed in my life since then that I can barely remember details. Of course, for me, every experience is a good one because I take a lesson from it every time. I’d say I benefited a lot–I have incredible fans and music lovers who follow and support my work. Having that on its own is priceless.


Dilana & Gilby Clarke

You recut “Black” for Gilby Clarke’s best of compilation a few years ago. How did that come about? Were you familiar with the Col. Parker version?

After Gilby produced and mixed my version of [the Johnny Cash classic] “Ring of Fire,” he asked me to sing “Black” on his [then new] record. I returned the favor; I sang on his record. I had never heard the song prior to that day.

I have to ask–you joined L.A. Guns a few months back and did some live dates with Tracii (Guns) and the band. A little over two months things went south. What exactly went down and will this make you think twice before joining an established band?

Let me just say this: Tracii Guns is a great guy, however, he’s the worst businessman—ever. To answer the second part of your question, I would most definitely think twice before joining another established band.

Were you familiar with the L.A. Guns before you joined?

I had heard the name before, that’s about it. I had never heard the tunes until Tracii gave me a copy of the live acoustic CD [Acoustic Gypsy] when we first met, about two months before the touring began.


Tracii Guns & Dilana

How did you get into music and who are your musical influences? I imagine you have quite the eclectic musical background.

It really started when I ran away from home in South Africa at age 15. Music was an escape from what seemed utter madness as a young girl. I really dreamed of being an actor but the music just happened! [Laughs]

You’re doing something a little different with the upcoming album. You’re raising funds online to record the new album. It’s turning the table on people on the internet, where usually artists are getting ripped off by people illegally downloading music. How did this come about and what was your goal?

My goal is to raise as much money as possible within my time limit to enable me to make the best possible product. The cool thing about Kickstarter is that every backer becomes a part of this musical journey. It is our record. I want the fans to feel like they are right here with me, every step of the way–this is an investment for the fans. It’s a win-win situation for all involved. No one is forced to do anything and at the end of the day, even pledging $1 means that we’re a step closer to an independently made new record. No vultures, no opportunists, no chains, boxes, and most importantly, no rules. The industry has changed so much and the internet has given us amazing tools to freely express ourselves. I’m so thankful for my incredible fans who have stuck with me through thick and thin and who show their love and support daily! My music, my way.

Watch Dilana cover Nirvana’s “Lithium” HERE

How much music do you have written for the new album? I read that you weren’t going in a particular direction with the music, is that still the vision?

I haven’t really counted to tell you the truth. I have songs all over the place. There are many older songs just lying around and there are newer ones. I’m also still collaborating with others like Mitch Perry, Erik Eldenius and many more. There is a definite shift in style—I want to sing and share everything that’s inside me. I’m prepared for the criticism, but hopefully there will be a little something for everyone.

You’ve got a show coming up in Portland on April 20th. Any chance you’ll break in some new tunes that night?

There is a chance, but you’ll have to make it out to the show to find out! [Laughs]

You’ve also got a band that will consist of Portland musicians when you take the stage on April 20th. How did you get involved with them?

I met Jeff [Buehner] a few years ago at the NAMM show. We really hit it off and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. I have to admit this was all his idea. He finally twisted my arm to do it! [Laughs] Jeff is responsible for putting this band together–I haven’t even met them yet! [Laughs] I guess you can say I trust him–a little! [Laughs] Seriously, I’m looking forward to the first rehearsal with them really soon. I know we’re going to rock, you can count on it.

Dilana will play at Tiger Bar on April 20th tickets are available through Ticketswest. Show at 9pm, 21+.

Article courtesy of OregonMusicNews

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