Tim Christensen: vocals/guitar
Martin Nielsen: bass
Søren Friis: drums
Named in honour of The Beatles' version of the Larry Williams song, Dizzy Mizz Lizzy were three impossibly fresh-faced Danish schoolfriends who, influenced by the early '90s grunge explosion, began to listen to those bands' inspirations, eventually finding their own Hendrix/Zeppelin/Sabbath/Nirvana niche. Given the moribund Danish rock scene, they gained prominence very quickly indeed, although international success (excluding Japan) was to elude them. Songwriter/leader Tim Christensen was only nineteen when their eponymous debut 'hit the shelves', as they say in musicbizland, making its depth and maturity all the more stunning. So how did a British rock fan get to hear it in those pre-Internet days? While visiting the States, I stayed with my pal Jim in Baltimore who played it to me. How did he hear of it? No idea, but I'm glad he did. It took me a while to track a copy down, eventually having to order it online from abroad a few years later. You know when you splash out on a new CD and actually don't regret it? This is one of those.
Although the band freely admit to being heavily influenced by grunge, the album's overriding influence is Hendrix, echoes of his guitar style all over Christensen's playing, not least his distinctive single-coil Strat sound. It would be fair to say that the album's slightly overlong, but given the strength of a good half of its tracks, that's a minor complaint. It sold exceptionally well in Denmark (as in, 'the country's best-selling rock album ever), while Japanese sales weren't too shabby and Germany and Sweden got at least a taste of the band, as they toured there a couple of times.
Waterline Intro: Opening albums with a backwards recording is always a winner and this is no exception; there's something about the rushing of those cymbals that gets the adrenaline going...
Waterline: Kicking off with a typically angular Christensen riff, Waterline soon shifts up several semitones into the verse, the vocal melody achieving its aim of memorability without a trace of cheese. A good opener, laying the way for the triumvirate of classics to follow.
Barbedwired Baby's Dream: Despite its odd title, Barbedwired Baby's Dream is one of the album's best tracks and its first example of Christensen's way of souring a riff (© Martin Smith @ Streetly, a.k.a. UK Mellotron HQ) via juducious use of flattened fifths. Its opening riff is redolent of Hendrix; you have a problem with that?
Love is a Loser's Game: The album's first ballad, Love Is A Loser's Game features another finger-mangling guitar part (I believe Christensen uses alternate tunings more than the 'regular' one) and another highly melodic vocal line that sits on the right side of the taste barrier. The 'violined' guitar part halfway through owes something to Ritchie Blackmore, as do some of the interval parts. In the hands of someone appalling mainstream, this could've been a major worldwide hit; maybe we should be thankful it wasn't, although it would've done Christensen's bank balance a favour.
Glory: What can I say about Glory? One of the best rock songs of the '90s, bar none, yet known only to a tiny minority of rock fans. Kicking off with a snare crack, its arpeggiated riff redefines the term 'catchy', before shifting through an almost as memorable verse, while the lyrics expound upon Christensen's personal philosophy: "One guitar one bass and a drummer/that's really all it takes". The semitone key-change towards the end is total genius, the track's only fault being that it doesn't carry on for another eight minutes. Oh, and the composed solo is a fantastic 'song within a song', too.
67 Seas in Your Eyes: This would be a classic on any other album, particularly of the era, but can't quite match the preceding four songs. Another Hendrix-via-Nivana riff and a heavy-as-fuck bridge lead into another choppy chorus that shouldn't be memorable, but is.
Silverflame: When it comes to traditional rock ballads, Silverflame, well, isn't, although the genre would be a lot better if it were. Opening with a high, sustained guitar note, the by-now typically offbeat acoustic part is only slightly let down by a rather AOR-ish first bridge, although the second one picks things up beautifully, before the song rushes into the chorus, yet another 'melodic-yet-strangely sad' part. Fucking epic. The solo's another winner, too, particularly the 'shift up three semitones' section. Incidentally, Christensen strictly limits his lead work across the album, probably influenced by grunge's anti-hero stance.
Love Me a Little: Led by a melodic bass part, Love Me A Little is decent enough, although it's the album's first 'not complete genius' track, the descending middle-eight probably being its peak.
Mother Nature's Recipe: This carries on in a similar vein to Love Me A Little, although its Hendrixy verse riff and chorus melody are both catchier. Christensen's wah-guitar at the song's close is a dead giveaway to his late '60s influences.
...And So Did I: Another 'good, but not as good as the others' tracks, with another round of flattened fifths in the verse riff.
Wishing Well: More Hendrix riffery in another strong song that would stand out on most albums, but sounds slightly second-rate here.
Hidden War: Hendrix again, though more towards the gentler end of his oeuvre, featuring several variations on the main riff throughout.
For God's Sake: A rather ordinary verse riff leads into a late-in-the-album highlight, the bridge, chorus and post-chorus all almost standing up to the standards the band set over the first few tracks.
Too Close to Stab: You're not going to believe this, but Christensen pulls another Hendrixy riff out of the bag, complete with an octave guitar part to round off the comparison. To be honest, this is one of the album's weakest tracks, but given that not a single thing here is genuinely disposable, that isn't exactly an insult. Oddly, the track closes with a slowed-down version of the interlocking guitar and bass riffs from Glory, subsequently used as a live intro tape.
Dizzy Mizz Lizzy is an album that starts so well that its later tracks are rather overshadowed by the first half-dozen or so. Does that stop it being a 'classic'? Does it fuck. This is, quite simply, one of the strongest mainstream hard rock albums to come out of the '90s and it's barely known outside its country of origin. To be brutally honest, they could probably have lost a couple of the later tracks and tightened the album up a little (it's over fifty minutes long), but why quibble? This is genius.
In many ways, it was too much too soon for DML. They released a second album, Rotator (recorded at Abbey Road, to Tim's delight), in 1996, although in comparison to their debut, it was a relative artistic and commercial failure, making it no surprise that the band quietly fell apart under two years later. Christensen went on to a reasonably successful solo career (reviews in the main part of the site), while Nielsen and Friis retired from the industry.
In a sensible world, that would've been that; thankfully, it's nothing of the sort. I still can't believe I almost missed it, but in 2010, the original trio reformed for a series of dates, mainly in their home country; I only found out, right towards the end of the run, due to the aforementioned Martin Smith, who put me onto Tim, who very kindly put us on the guestlist for their last Copenhagen date. Two weeks later, my long-suffering better half and I boarded a plane for Denmark, finding our way to the venue the same evening for what can only be described as not only the gig of the year, but probably one of the top events of the decade, the band playing like demons on home turf. There's really nothing like watching a band at their peak after shoving your way up to the front of a wildly partisan home crowd, I can tell you... Did they keep Glory for an encore? Nope, they played it second song in. How's that for confidence? Last encore: Silverflame. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.
DML released a DVD/two-disc live album from a date at the same venue earlier in the year; as soon as I can afford it, I'll purchase a copy and attempt to relive our experience in a second-hand kind of way. Tragically, they've promised they'll never do it again; why? Ah, give it another few years and see if they still feel the same way... At the time of writing, all three members are only in their late thirties, so there's plenty of time for them to change their minds yet. Go on guys, you know it makes sense...