Thirty Years Later: Das Damen Returns

Ela Moss ‘27 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Das Damen at O’Brien’s Pub, Boston, MA. Image courtesy of Ela Moss.

After a thirty-two-year hiatus, the stellarly boisterous alternative rock band, Das Damen, has emerged from their musical hibernation with an onstage reunion, playing a few final shows for audiences in the Northeast.

The band formed in 1984, traversing the New Jersey area, bringing together metal, psychedelic, and noisy grunge. Jim Wallerstein, Lyle Hysen, Alex Totino, and Phil Leopold Von Trapp were Das Damen’s original four, but Von Trapp was later replaced by David Motamed, and after thirty-plus years, Diego Ramirez has taken the place of Totino.

During their initial run, the band released an album a year. Wallerstein described playing, in classic punk-rocker fashion, as “a really good therapy, in a way, like the release of it, you know, like the emotion. I think that’s one of probably 20 things I find rewarding about it.”

Over three decades since they disbanded in 1991, the band graced the stage of Monty Hall in Jersey City on September 14th, 2023, and then played at The Avalon Lounge two days later, finishing with high spirits, yet uncertain if the reimagined dream was to continue. 

But as it was undoubtedly meant to be, Das Damen’s sound wasn’t quite finished yet; in November and January, the band announced an exciting five more shows: opening for Dinosaur Jr. in January 2024, as well as two additional venues in NYC and Boston in February. 

I was able to see the band twice, the first time at The Strand in Providence, Rhode Island. It’s clear to see when watching Das Damen how passionate they are about performing; the four completely commanded the stage, unfailingly wearing grins throughout the night. Wallerstein and Ramirez shredded together, reverberating their music off of one another; Motamed, off in his own world, naturally killed it; and Hysen, unquestionably smashing his kit, rode the wave all throughout the night. Playing for a venue of over a thousand, the band discernibly relished every moment, before their old friends, the members of Dinosaur Jr., took to the stage. 

Das Damen at The Strand, Providence RI. Image courtesy of Ela Moss.

The second time, I went to Das Damen’s final show on February 24, at O’Brien’s Pub in Boston. Being in a much more intimate venue, the band’s adrenaline and passion were felt all the more. Radiating energy, Das Damen gave a truly hard-core closing performance; bopping heads and bittersweet smiles which lasted around an hour. Finishing strong, the band played their closing notes accompanied by deafening cheers. 

Hysen reflected after the set: “It’s a weird time machine. Like when I’m on stage, I am in my 20s, with a full head of hair… in the van, driving across the states just playing show after show after show after show… It’s almost like a drug ‘cause it totally just takes you to another place that doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on, ‘cause when you’re playing, nothing else matters, right? All you’re doing is focusing on this one supercharged, super fun thing, and you’re not thinking like, oh my back really hurts, my knees are hurting, you know all those things–which are real–they just go away. And I’m just looking at these guys and it’s like okay, yeah, we’re still kids.”

The impact that Das Damen has had on their fans is undoubtedly profound. One couple at O’Brien’s told the band how they heard about their return and booked plane tickets in order to get to the pub to see them live one more time. 

Das Damen with employees of O’Brien’s. Image courtesy of Ela Moss.

Although there’s no confirmation that Das Damen will return again, this once-in-a-lifetime reentry into the professional music scene was deeply affecting not only for the band but their fans as well, young and old, who got to see them live again. The band has proved that they can still bring it, and begs for yet another return. 

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button