In 1980, The J. Geils Band released “Love Stinks,” an iconic track that rants about the downfall and pain of unrequited love — a song that Adam Sandler angrily belted out in 1998’s “The Wedding Singer” after his character was scorned by Linda who heartlessly left him at the altar.
Derek Dames Ohl, bassist of Flash Mountain Flood, has written a new single “If Love Stinks” that pays homage to the silly side of love. (Max Jaffee/ Courtesy photo)
Boulder local Derek Dames Ohl, multi-instrumentalist and bassist of jam band Flash Mountain Flood, will release “If Love Stinks,” — a track with way less angst and more nostalgic twang — on Friday.
Ohl’s song doesn’t bash the complex workings of cupid and the heartache of unreciprocated adoration, but rather playfully embraces the concept of finding the one and embracing their idiosyncrasies.
Against the sound of the piano and folksy strums, Ohl belts out “If love stinks, let’s get stinky” — a humorous declaration of going all in and accepting whatever consequences surface from taking the plunge.
With lyrics like, “The way she smiles makes me dizzy/The way she sneeze makes me laugh/Her warm breath on my shoulder /She’s the best and that’s that” it is reminiscent of John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves” — a country classic that also lovingly pokes fun and praises a significant other’s distinct traits.
“If Love Stinks” captures the loopy infatuation and butterflies-in-the-stomach sensation that occurs when falling in love.
While Ohl has crafted some sad love songs over the years, one summer night he picked up his guitar and let a less serious track unfold. The end result — written in around 10 minutes — is a toe-tapping jam that listeners can’t help but sing and sway along to.
On the honky-tonk tune, renowned keyboardist Bill McKay — formerly of Derek Trucks Band and Leftover Salmon — contributes piano, Flash Mountain Flood drummer Kevin D’ Angelo adds percussion and Melly Frances offers backing vocals.
The music video for the timely release, filmed throughout Boulder in the spring of 2020, is also a slightly psychedelic and technicolor love letter to the city were Ohl grew up.
We see him hang outside of Lolita’s Market & Deli, frolic through sunflower fields with a dark-haired lady in white and stand near an old eclectic green Ford F-150 pickup. At one point, the camera pans to a painting of Jerry Garcia — done by anonymous street artist SMiLE — on the brick exterior of Pearl Street coffeehouse The Laughing Goat.
The hazy vintage visuals make perfect sense when you consider who Ohl is as an artist. Often rocking a worn cowboy hat and handlebar ‘stache, he captures the essence of bygone bohemian, mixed with 1970s troubadour trucker.
Derek Dames Ohl plays guitar on a bench in the Boulder neighborhood of Mapleton Hill. (Beau Walters/ Courtesy photo)
On Feb. 26, from 5 to 7 p.m., Ohl will perform a socially-distanced show at BOCO Cider. The acoustic set is free, but virtual tips are accepted through his Venmo, @Derek-Ohl and PayPal, paypal.me/ohlz.
We caught up with the musician to find out more about how this quirky love song evolved, what we can expect next from him and how in 2020, a year in which the live music scene was derailed by the pandemic, he found time to appreciate the little things.
Daily Camera: I’m enjoying your latest release “If Love Stinks.” What inspired this track and what do you hope listeners take from it?
Derek Dames Ohl: Well, it’s one of those songs that started without any real rhyme or reason. The first two verses were quite literal. I wanted to make some food at home and we were out of salt, same time we had someone knocking on our door complaining about God knows what. “Ain’t no salt in the kitchen angry neighbor at my door, I sure know what I’ve been missing, the sweet lady I love.” Like most, it quickly became a love song with the chorus singing, “If love stinks, let’s get stinky.” Just paying homage to the goofy side of love.
DC: I know that in December you released “Blue Skies and It’s Christmas” and now this latest tune is arriving just in time for Valentine’s Day. Any other holiday-inspired tracks on the horizon? What have you been working on?
DDO: “If Love Stinks” really just came together at the right time, I was ready to release around the new year and it would be silly not to release around Valentine’s Day. I’ve been working on a few things. My next single is coming out right after, on my birthday, in mid-March. Both singles will be leading up to my debut solo EP “Derek Dames Ohl and Friends,” a five-song EP including the singles featuring some serious Colorado musicians, recorded at my favorite Boulder studio, Violet Studios. On top of that, I have a couple dozen John Prine covers recorded at home, collaboration between me and my friends that we started back when COVID first hit. Just planning the proper release.
DC: I imagine it was really difficult not playing full-capacity festivals and shows last year. As Boulder County opens to Level Yellow, can we expect any in-person shows from you or Flash Mountain Flood?
DDO: It has been really strange, in the end I think everyone is going to come out bigger and better, we’ve been sitting around playing music and writing, very grounding in the grand scheme of things. But yes, you are completely right, in-person shows are slowly but surely coming back, especially with the nice weather and vaccination on the way. Best way to keep up with it all is to look us up and follow on social media.
Derek Dames Ohl, center, plays bass with his band Flash Mountain Flood at The Fox Theatre in Boulder in 2019. (David P. Tracer/ Courtesy photo)
DC: What are some ways in which you maintained your sanity during 2020? Do you have any daily rituals that keep you grounded?
DDO: In the summer, it was a blessing to be able to get out and adventure a hell of a lot more then I would have if I was on the gig grind. I got out and hiked/mountain biked more then I have in a very long time and it was very cleansing for the soul. I’m lucky to have a great group of friends, work at an amazing workplace Maikoh Holistics and live in a gorgeous state. This year has taught me to appreciate it all, it’s easy to succumb to the dizzy of the music world and nice to stop and smell the roses.
DC: Did you discover any new music this past year? What has been on repeat in your home lately?
DDO: Oh man, a whole lot of things. I’m a huge fan of Brent Cobb and his latest album is phenomenal front to back. Sierra Ferrell came onto my radar and hasn’t left since. I could go on and on though. It’s hard to pick a few. Mapache, TK & The Holy Know Nothings, Anna Ash, John Moreland, Vincent Neil Emerson, Colter Wall, the list goes on and on.
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