If you wanted to create the perfect indie/pop-rock band – in your evil rock & roll laboratory – you would need to find some highly talented musicians with vision and drive. Musicians that could create a sound that was unforgettable. That would draw the listener in and completely embrace them with burnished, creamy, rich sounds. You would need a frontman that had a voice that was melodic, smooth, emotive and utterly unforgettable. In addition to his incredible talent he would also need to be intelligent, educated and urbane as well as devastatingly good looking.
“His openness, down-to-earth charm, and articulate manner make John a great conversationalist. You will be under his spell when you discover his fun sense of humour, his humility and kindness, and then once he beings flirting with you…”
The band I am talking about here, are the LA based independent band The Ruse, and that talented, devastatingly good looking, educated, charming frontman is John Dauer. John is not only a good friend but one of the most decent, witty and interesting men I have ever known. He is sensitive, thinks deeply and completely and has a subtle wit. We met when I interviewed him for another magazine feature and we clicked right away. His openness, down-to-earth charm, and articulate manner make John a great conversationalist. You will be under his spell when you discover his fun sense of humour, his humility and kindness, and then once he beings flirting with you…
John grew-up in New York, he tried acting for awhile as a teenager, even landing a part on the US daytime soap As The World Turns playing Jeremy Wheeler (’97). Eventually he chose music – but only after graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Communications and Government – and moved with his friends and band-mates to LA. John’s ceaseless schedule, working to build the band’s reputation, is beginning to pay off. Most recently in the form of an appearance on MTV’s The Hills (Monday, November 5 episode 313) which included a live performance at Hollywood’s famous nightclub, the Viper Room, followed by the after party at One Sunset. They have also recently released a five song EP Live at the Viper Room – which is on ATG’s list of the best albums of the 2007. Recently John was nice enough to give me sometime for a chat.
What are The Ruse doing now?
We’re in the middle of recording an important record for us, right now. It’s been a long, long time in the making and it will be a little bit longer before we finish it.
How long have you been making this record?
We started it almost a year ago. We started working with a great producer, guy named Chris Karn, who we love; he’s a dear friend of ours. He actually came up and did a song with us at one of the shows at Viper Room. We did five or six songs with Chris, and they turned out great and they sounded great and we loved those songs but it just wasn’t the direction we wanted to go in. We decided to go in a different direction. We hired a producer, his name is Danny Saber, sort of an old school rock producer, he’s been around – he does a lot of electronica and stuff too. He’s been around forever, [he's produced for] Rolling Stones, Madonna, David Bowie all those guys. We did about six or seven with him. We were getting some really sort of edgy, cool stuff with him. Ultimately we decided that while both of these guys had contributed a lot, were great to work with… it wasn’t quite where the band was at. So recently we decided we’d move on and, as of now, we’re going to finish the record ourselves with one of our favourite mixer/engineer/producer guys, Jorge Vivo.
So all this working must take its toll on your private life.
It does, but at the same time it almost aids my private life. It is sort of all encompassing. So while it’s harder to find the time to have a private life, it also makes private times much more exciting.
Are you dating anyone in particular at the moment?
I’ve been dating but I’m not in a serious relationship.
What do you look for in a woman?
“I like girls who are going to give me some shit, and I like girls who are going to challenge me.”
Honesty is essential, particularly here in Los Angels where it’s hard to come by. I think a lot of what you’re looking for – I mean there are obviously the things I think everyone is looking for – everybody wants someone who is attractive and intelligent. I think there are general things people look for but I think a lot of what you look for depends on where you are situated and where you are living. In Los Angels I look for somebody who is motivated, cause a lot of people aren’t that motivated out here. It’s a real plus for me if you have your own thing going on, if your working hard for your own career, as opposed to trying to live off somebody else’s.
I look for somebody who is honest, in Los Angels again that’s hard to find. I like girls with an edge, I like girls who are going to give me some shit, and I like girls who are going to challenge me. I don’t like girls who, when I ask them what they want for dinner they say “Ah, whatever you want.” That doesn’t do anything for me.
Something that I deal with a lot out here, guys out here they have this weird… a lot of guys are very protective over girls they don’t have a serious relationship with. In other words if they meet a girl and they hang out with her once, all of the sudden they don’t want any other guy to talk to that girl. They claim them. Me, I don’t understand claiming. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. If I meet a girl and I go out with her once or twice, and then she meets my friend and she wants to sleep with my friend, clearly she is not the girl for me.
The older I get the more I realise it’s so much about connecting with somebody. And the connection’s got to be real, and the connection has to be mutual.
Do you want to settle down someday?
Yes, absolutely. I don’t see it being any day soon. There’s a lot I want to accomplish before I really settle down. I think that’s the smart thing to do. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be in a serious relationship right now, or anything but you’re definitely not going to see me getting married or starting a family anytime soon.
So what was the last decent date you had?
I’ve been having great dates, actually. I‘m really enjoying dating. I really like getting to know people, so for me going out for dinner, going out for a drink with somebody and getting to know them, and their life story and what they are all about is fun. I don’t know why some people don’t really like doing that. I love getting to know people.
It’s so exciting when you have a clean slate with somebody you’ve never met before, and you don’t know anything about them, and they don’t know anything about you. You get to interact and see if you get along. I’ve been fortunate to really get along with a lot of the people I’ve gone out with.
And you think that’s unusual?
When you meet somebody you know whether you click with somebody right off the bat; if you want to spend another hour or two with them or not. If I meet a girl who is absolutely gorgeous but I know, within 30 seconds, that we’re not really clicking, I’m not going to ask her out. I don’t want to sit there and look at her all night and have nothing to talk to her about.
So what are you hoping for in the future John?
I want to create something that is positive force, something that has a positive influence on people. I want to, myself, have a positive influence on people and hopefully Karma will allow me to have a good life. I absolutely believe in Karma.
I have career goals and I have personal goals. My personal goals lie in building, and creating a successful family, a happy family. My personal goals are pretty lofty but I think they can be conquered. I just think it all comes down to persistence and working hard. I really believe persistence will take you anywhere you want to go. I really do think it’s that simple.