Boston’s Big Boss Sounds Part 2 – The Dambuilders

The Dambuilders

Formed in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1989, The Dambuilders were originally a duo; comprised of vocalist/bassist Dave Derby and guitarist Eric Masunaga. Releasing several home made tapes, one dubbed A Young Person’s Guide made it’s way to the offices of the German label Cuacha. With minor remixing the label released the album and the band subsequently toured Germany in support of it.

Returning to the states they relocated to Boston, where in 1991 they released the single Pop Song Equals Food and later that year their sophomore album Geek Lust. During the recording of Geek Lust violinist/vocalist Joan Wasser joined the group and shortly afterwards they also added drummer Kevin March. With the band’s lineup finally in place they released several more singles, the five-song Tough Guy Problem and 1993’s Islington Porn Tapes.

Signed to major label EastWest the group releases Encendedor in 1994, and Ruby Red in 1995. While the groups sound had been steadily getting bigger, darker and more progressive since 1993’s Islington Porn Tapes“, the production on Ruby Red makeseverythingbigger, putting Wasser’s violin and backing vocals, and March’s drumming up front in the mix. The resulting arena-ready hugeness glosses over the band’s sonic variety, and buries Masunaga’s guitar work.

1996 finds the group releasing God Dambuilders Bless America, a collection of 15 tracks single sides and LP cuts from their ongoing ’50 Songs for 50 States’ project (The goal is to write one about, or at least titled after, every state of the Union).

1997’s Against the Stars finds the group moving towards a “pop” sensibility. Where earlier albums were often noted for “guitar feedback, electric violin squeals and chilling vocal shrieks”, Against the Stars tones things down and finds the band adhering, if loosely, to a some what standard pop formula.


A Young Person’s Guide (Ger. Cuacha!) 1989
Geek Lust (Ger. Cuacha!) 1991
Tough Guy Problem EP (spinART) 1992
Dambuilders EP (Rockville) 1993
Islington Porn Tapes (Ger. Cuacha!) 1993
Encendedor (EastWest) 1994
Ruby Red (EastWest) 1995
God Dambuilders Bless America (Cortex) 1996
Against the Stars (EastWest/Elektra) 1997


We’re in Your Hands Vol. 4
Ear of the Dragon (Fortune 5 Records) 1995
Pipeline! Live Boston Rock on WMBR (Kimchee Records) 1996

7″ Singles

Popsong Equals Food (Puppethead Records) 1991
Dambuilders/San Francisco Seals 7″ Split (Radiopaque) 1999

Dave Derby

Even Further Behind (Badman Recording Co.) 2003

Joan Wasser/Joan as Policeman

The Ride [Limited Edition] [CD-Single] [Import] (Reveal) 2006
Christobel [CD-Single] [Import] (Reveal) 2006
Eternal Flame [CD-Single] [Import] (Reveal) 2006
Joan as Policeman – Joan as Policeman (Revea) 2006
Real Life – Joan as Policeman (Cheap Lullaby Records) 2007

Tough Guy Problem (Spin Art) 1992

Playing Time: 19 minutes 9 seconds

Tough Guy Problem1. Louisiana (3:02)
2. Idaho (3:03)
3. Heather (3:39)
4. Candy Guts (3:23)
5. Dose (6:02)

Tough Guy Problem

Buy Tough Guy Problem from

Encendedor (Atlantic / Wea) 1994

Playing Time: 39 minutes 18 seconds


1. Copsucker (2:42)
2. Smell (3:52)
3. Kill Haole Day (3:38)
4. Slo-Mo Kikaida (4:53)
5. Idaho (2:58)
6. Colin’s Heroes (4:13)
7. Collective (4:43)
8. Shrine (2:57)
9. Delaware (4:46)
10. Fur (4:36)


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Ruby Red (Elektra / Wea) 1995

Playing Time: 48 minutes 57 seconds

Ruby Red1. Smooth Control (2:33)
2. Special Ed (4:06)
3. Teenage Loser Anthem (3:16)
4. Drive-By Kiss (4:23)
5. Lazy Eye (4:22)
6. Bending Machine (3:54)
7. Velocidad (3:23)
8. Rocket To The Moon (3:06)
9. Cosmonaut (3:29)
10. St. Tamarindo (4:45)
11. Down (5:15)
12. I Forget Myself (6:25)

Ruby Red

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4 responses to “Boston’s Big Boss Sounds Part 2 – The Dambuilders

  1. At last someone who has renewed my faith on the taste of music people listen to these days. This is probably the BEST collection of music i’ve seen in a while. Specially this Dambuilders post. I have been searching high and low for these. Thank you very much. You have saved a life today…

    – d.

    ps. the album “Against the Stars” would have clinched it. Please post it if you have time

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