Three Questions For Dengue Fever


Dengue Fever, everybody’s favorite Los Angeles/Long Beach-based ’60s Cambodian Khmer pop group named after a debilitating disease, hits the Knitting Factory tomorrow night. As you might expect, Losanjealous would like to see you in attendance. [Translation: Once again we resort to that oldest of “ways to get people to go to shows” hat tricks … giving away tickets. Entry instructions at the end of the article.]

I was first infected by the band some years ago at the Echo. Since that time they’ve gone on to win critical acclaim, soundtrack work courtesy Matt Dillon, tours around the globe and hopefully the fame and fortune that goes hand-in-hand with all of the above. Tomorrow they’ll play the Knitting Factory as an integral part of a night chock full of Cambodian goodness. From the press release:

Tuesday, August 14 is CAMBODIAN ROCK NIGHT at The Knitting Factory (7021 Hollywood Blvd.), with a live performance by Dengue Fever, DJ Siem Reap Duff spinning the best in Cambodian Rock, and the screening of two films: THE GOLDEN VOICE, a film about legendary Cambodian pop singer Ros Sereysotha and SLEEPWALKING THROUGH THE MEKONG, a documentary about Dengue Fever’s 2005 trip to Cambodia. This all ages event starts at 7:30 and is $15.

In 2005, a documentary crew followed the Los Angeles-based Cambodian pop band Dengue Fever to SE Asia to capture the response the band got to their take on Khmer Rock, a style of music that flourished in Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge. The result, SLEEPWALKING THROUGH THE MEKONG, is a captivating, humorous and sometimes deeply moving film which tells the story of a band seeking not only to give back something to the country which gave it so much, but endeavoring to aid in the preservation of Cambodia’s musical legacy.

Press releases can only take you so far, so we’ve thrown three topical questions to Zac Holtzman, DF’s resident guitarist and owner/resident landlord of our favorite beard in town.

Yo, Zac. What are three major differences between preparing for a gig in Phnom Penh and preparing for a gig at, say, the Knitting Factory in Hollywood?

A. Pulling the equipment together is difficult over there. Wondering what type of amps we’d have, and what keyboards and drum kits we’d be playing. So, the equipment issue.

B. In Phenom Phen we were afraid the whole stage setup was going to fall into the river. We don’t have to worry about that here.

C. There isn’t a three.

A man of brevity is a man after my own heart. Once and for all, and for the record: How long is the beard?

When I wake up in the morning it’s just a camping beard length, an unemployed guitarist beard, and by the end of the day I’m tripping over it.

My senses indicate you’ve evaded the question and yet I move on. Which Cambodian food should one never, ever consume? Alternatively, which Cambodian food should one consume with vigor, each and every time it makes itself available? Finally, do you have any Los Angeles Cambodian restaurant recommendations for the readers?

A. Avoid crab fried rice when you’re miles away from the ocean.
B. I like Lok Lak, it’s a beef dish and it’s really good.
C. Sophy’s in Long Beach.

So there you have it folks. The Beard of Zac™ is camping length in the morning, avoid crab fried rice unless near the shore, eat Lok Lak, go to Sophy’s while in Long Beach and whatever you do, don’t miss Cambodian Rock Night at the Knitting Factory featuring a live performance by Dengue Fever as well as a screening of the documentary Sleepwalking Through The Mekong starring the one-and-the-same Dengue Fever. See you there!

Dengue Fever healdine Cambodian Rock Night at the Knitting Factory Tuesday, 8/14/07. The contest is now closed. Want to purchase tickets? Info/ticket link here.