SEE ALSO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Dillinger
Born in Canton, OH, Troy Dillinger moved to Austin, TX with his parents at the age of 8. As a 6 year old, he discovered his parents' comedy albums and began listening to them fanatically, giving birth to his obsession with comedy. After his parents divorced, Troy received an acoustic guitar for Christmas when he was 13 and began learning bass parts on the pawn shop instrument. 3 years and 2 lessons later, he was performing professionally by night and attending high school by day, joining the high school jazz band as a "ringer" and to get out of regular classes.
His role as bass player for the Austin band "The Urge," provided an opportunity for him to play in Austin clubs and build his reputation as a musician. He then joined "Chinese Cowboys" with Fastball's Miles Zuniga, followed by a stint with "Steel Power," a Soca & Calypso band with members from Trinidad & Tobago.
His first International tour came at the age of 18, with LA wild man Dino Lee's "Godz Among Men." A memorable trip, Dillinger lost his front teeth on the first night of the 3-week tour when he was hit in the mouth with a quart of beer thrown by an irate fan. Upon his return to Austin, he formed the infamous "BAND FROM HELL," which featured former bandmate Zuniga. In BFH's existence (1986-1990), it hosted many talented and noteworthy musicians, including Mike Carroll (Poison 13), Bobby "Rock" Landgraf (Down, Honky), Phillip Patterson (Watchtower), Christopher Bray (The Meatmen), and cofounder Johnny Medina (Jesus Chrysler).
After BFH's breakup and a year hiatus from music, Dillinger hired on with the Rolling Stones for their "Steel Wheels" Tour, where his love for music was rekindled, giving him new interest and direction. He formed "Del Dragons" in 1991 and switched instruments to guitar.
The "Del Dragons" moniker stuck for another 8 years although the "band" had long since become Dillinger's sole vehicle. Since 1992, his live/studio bands have hosted a "who's who" of musicians, including Ian McLagan (the Faces/Small Faces, Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Rod Stewart, Billy Bragg), Brian Wenz (The Road, the Chambers Brothers, the Pretenders), Hunt Sales (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren), Kevin Carroll & Keith Robinson (Charlie Robison, Jimmy LaFave), Mike "Cornbread" Traylor (Alejandro Escovedo), Scott Garber (Ronnie Lane, Calvin Russell, Alejandro Escovedo), Stewart Cochran (Jimmy LaFave, Calvin Russell, Dahveed Garza, 54 Seconds), Rob Hooper (Jimmie Dale Gilmore), and Robert Kearns (the Bottle Rockets).
In 1996, he recorded the band's first full-length recording, "Southern Jumbo." The CD was self-released in the US, and on the DixieFrog/MSI label in Europe and led to a tour of Europe in mid-1998. The tour and disc were successful, received praise in the European press, and led to a national televised concert on the tour's stop in Russia. Another CD, "Live In Paris," was released in 1999 and documented the band's appearance on OUI-FM's "Live at the Chesterfield" radio show. Dillinger then began the process of building a name for himself as a solo artist.
In 1998, he began acting and landed small roles on movies such as American Outlaws, The New Guy, and Miss Congeniality (film).
In late 1999, he began performing as Troy Dillinger with a rotating lineup of band members which included Hunt Sales, Ian McLagan, and others. Since 1999, he has toured the US primarily as a solo acoustic act, and has self-released 3 additional CDs. A fourth, the unreleased "Vivre," which features Stephen Bruton (Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan), Jon Dee Graham (True Believers, John Doe), Bruce Hughes (Poi Dog Pondering, Cracker, Bob Schneider), was co-produced by Dillinger, Bruton, and Oscar/Grammy winner Chet Himes.
In 2005, he released the award-winning "Dirty & Harry" CD/DVD full-length recording and film festival, which won awards from the Austin Music Network and The Austin Chronicle. The same year, he created Austin Swim, an adult swim viewing party which led to the creation of Adult Swim Presents.
In 2008, Dillinger severed his ties with Adult Swim and created The Austin Variety Show, a local television show which features Austin music, comedy, burlesque, and a live game show with members of the audience. The show aired on KBVO (TV) from 2010-2013 before moving to the internet.
Musically, Troy Dillinger has honed his songwriting and performance to a wistful, silly, energetic and engaging informal relationship with his audience. After nearly 20 years as a professional musician/frontman/songwriter, Dillinger is as jaded as you might expect and has been called "one of those famous musicians you never heard of."
TROY DILLINGER CAREER TIMELINE:
- 1983: Troy begins playing bass in Austin nightclubs by night, attending high school by day
- March 1985: Being of legal age for several days, Troy withdraws himself from high school. Months later, he begins playing bass with Dino Lee, King of White Trash, and embarks on first international tour. Gets his front teeth knocked out the first night of the tour in Louisville, KY
- 1986: Co-founds BAND FROM HELL. BFH is quickly popular in Austin, plays SXSW #2, tours to east coast, plays New Music Seminar in NYC
- 1989: Troy gets sober, few are either surprised or impressed
- 1990: After several lineup changes, BAND FROM HELL changes name to “Lucky 13”, records 6 song EP with producer Stephen Bruton (songwriter/guitarist for Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Highwaymen). Bruton dubs the recording "Six Songs About F*cking (In The Key Of A)", dubs Troy "Stinky Derringer" during a vocal session with a very sensitive microphone
- 1991: “Lucky 13” breaks up, Troy works as roadie for Rolling Stones, has musical transformation and new influence in the Stones
- 1992: Troy begins playing guitar and forms “Del Dragons”, a roots rock 4-piece band. Band is popular in “pre-roots-rock” Austin music scene
- 1997: Del Dragons’ first full-length release “Southern Jumbo” gets good reviews and is released by DixieFrog/MSI in Europe after chance encounter at SXSW with French DJs producing a satellite radio show
- 1998: “Troy Dillinger & Del Dragons” tours Europe with excellent press and audiences. In Paris, band becomes a favorite of OUI-FM, a radio station with millions of listeners, and their 2-week run of shows is SRO overnight. In Moscow, band appears on “Live at The Chesterfield”, a national television show with over 10,000,000 viewers.
- Spring 1999: Troy becomes founding member of Austin institution The Resentments, along with Stephen Bruton, Hal Ketchum, David Holt (Carlene Carter, Storyville). Troy also begins acting, booking medium-sized roles in independent films and small roles in studio films like “American Outlaws” (Colin Farrell, Scott Conn) and “Miss Congeniality” (Sandra Bullock)
- Summer 1999: Troy becomes a member of the first incarnation of Bob Schneider's LonelyLand. The band arrived at their first show at Austin institution Liberty Lunch in a 1977 Plymouth Satellite, which they drove into the club, parked on the dancefloor, exited, and played the gig while the small audience sat on the car
- 2000: Post-Del-Dragons, Troy continues as solo artist. Is courted by Rounder Records but a deal never materializes, records live CD “Vivre” with producer Stephen Bruton, never released
- 2001: Performing more solo acoustic gigs with Austin legends Bruton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jon Dee Graham, James McMurtry, Troy releases independent CD “Troy Dillinger and a Guitar”
- Jan 2002: While on tour in the Western US, Troy survives multiple-roll-over accident with a closed head injury and two dislocated shoulders. He is unable to play for several months
- Nov 2002: Troy records live CD “Dillinger: Live From Antone’s” with Hunt Sales (David Bowie, Iggy Pop), Kevin Carroll (Charlie Robison), Scott Garber (Giant Sand, Silos, Alejandro Escovedo)
- Dec 2002: Over Christmas holiday, Troy survives his second near-death experience of the year contracting double viral pneumonia
- 2003: While re-learning how to sing with lung damage, Troy rejoins Bob Schneider’s LonelyLand as guitar tech and tours with the band on and off for next 2 years, occasionally sitting in on guitar
- Late 2004: Troy records full-length CD “Dirty and Harry” with producer Mack McNabb (Michael Fracasso). The band features legendary Barry "Frosty" Smith on drums
- Early 2005: Troy produces 10 short films, each by different local directors, based on the songs of “Dirty and Harry”, funds the project mostly by selling sponsorships and product placement to local businesses. Project receives 501c3 Non-Profit status through partnership with The Austin Music Network and is the first of its kin
- June 2005: "Austin Swim" is created as a weekly fundraiser for The Austin Music Network, featuring live music, prizes from sponsors, an inflatable swimming pool, and Cartoon Network/Adult Swim’s Sunday broadcast on a huge outdoor screen
- August 2005: Gaining popularity fast, Cartoon Network's parent company Turner Broadcasting issues a "Cease and Desist" order for Austin Swim. Days later, the network's president personally offers an exclusive license that allows the event to continue
- March 2006: “The Dirty and Harry Film Festival” wins “DVD of the Year” awards from The Austin Chronicle and The Austin Music Network, also wins “Best Music Video” in Zoie Film Festival and receives positive accolades in several other small US film festivals. Troy produces “Adult Swim at Austin Swim”, an all-day event at SXSW 2006. The event features local musicians and comedians, video pieces, appearances by the stars of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and the first-ever live performance of “Dethklok Metalocalypse”, a soon-to-debut show on the network
- April 2006: Austin Swim moves from its original E. 4th Street location to Beerland on Red River St. The event now takes place inside the nightclub, but an inflatable pool remains just outside the club's door, where fans and passers-by often jump in, fully clothed
- May 2006: Troy creates the business model and proposal for “Adult Swim Live” national tour. The proposal is implemented and later becomes “Adult Swim Presents”, but Troy is neither paid for nor credited for its creation. The model creates ongoing success for “Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show” and “Metalocalypse” US tours and becomes a marketing staple for the network
- 2007: Austin Swim continues to be Austin’s most popular weekly event, featuring music (including Troy’s band “Troy Dillinger’s Cocktapuss”), Austin’s top comics, burlesque performers, and a live game show (created by comedian Matt Bearden). The event takes place at a small outdoor bar on West 5th Street, surrounded by newly constructed condo buildings
- Winter 2007: Troy founds “The Year of Austin Music”, a grass-roots movement to preserve and revive Austin’s endangered music scene
- January 2008: Austin City Council recognizes Troy’s new organization and proclaims 2008 “The Year of Austin Music”
- September 2008: “The Year of Austin Music” changes its name to “Save Austin Music” and continues to gain support from public, musicians, local music industry, and city government
- October 2008: Tiring of communicating with Adult Swim via. orders from Turner Broadcasting's legal department, Troy ends the Austin Swim event after 3 successful years
- November 2008: Save Austin Music debuts its “see an Austin band each month” public service campaign at a Public Service Announcement Premiere Gala Bash. Hundreds attend and support the cause
- Jun 2009: Troy revives Austin Swim (renamed “Troy Dillinger’s Variety Show”) with a camera crew and without Adult Swim content, with a local club promoter as co-producer
- Aug 2009: Troy parts company with co-producer and continues the event as “The Austin Variety Show”
- Nov 2009: Austin’s music reform movement is sidetracked by "old-fashioned politics" at the “Live Music Task Force” report to City Council on solutions and actions for Austin's music community and industry. Plans to create a Live Music Department are shelved indefinitely
- Jan 2010: The Austin Variety Show debuts on local broadcast channel KBVO, a local affiliate of the “My Local TV” Network (owned by LIN TV, local NBC affiliate owners)
- Mar 2010: After comingling and politicking with other local-music-based-non-profits and city government - and failing to garner marked action by City Council or unified action in the local music community, Troy ceases operation of Save Austin Music. A new and highly publicized organization forms around this time, using many of Save Austin Music’s mission statement ideals. In the organization's year-or-so existence, it does little more than raise money from donors
- October 2010: A well regarded independent film feature, “Echotone” (by filmmaker Nathan Christ) chronicles some of Troy’s attempts to achieve SAM’s goals amidst a narrative about the day-to-day lives of Austin musicians
- Dec 2010: After taping 4 live shows in 2010 and televising a total of 10 live-performance-based episodes, Austin Variety Show debuts a 3-part televised broadcast with live/narrative format together for first time
- Mar 2011: Co-host Tom Booker tapes last live Austin Variety Show during SXSW 2011. He returns throughout 2011 to shoot scripted elements of the show’s next episodes
- May 2011: Austin Variety Show moves from its 2500 s.f. studio on South Congress to 10,000 s.f. studio inside Highland Mall, Austin’s first indoor mall
- Jan 2012: After taping 6 live shows in 2011, AVS debuts 2 more live/narrative episodes, its first new episodes in 13 months, and begins to have live show tapings monthly
- Mar 2012: Austin Variety Show welcomes George Stein, Esq. as legal representation & agent
- Apr 2012: AVS splits into 2 separate entities; “The Austin Variety Show”, a 1-hour live/narrative television show for a national audience; and “Austin Variety Show LIVE”, a 1-hour weekly local television show and internet broadcast, featuring live performances taped with a studio audience
- May 2012: Shortly after "The Nerdist Channel" (comedian Chris Hardwick, Jim Henson Productions, Broadway Video) begins shooting Harry Knowles "Aint It Cool" show for YouTube broadcast in Highland Mall as AVS renews its lease with the mall for a second year, and searches for investment capital for “Austin Variety Show LIVE”