BY ZACH NITSCHE
“So, like are you in the band?”
Yeah, kinda. But I’ve got the musical talent of a squirrel. The only way to accurately tell my Dalton origin story is to take you all a few years back. Like pre-Covid. Pretty much the Middle Ages at this point
The year is 2019. I’m an overzealous, 23-year-old Southie rat with little to no consistency in my life other than work, golf, and Capo Basement. I’m minding my business on a Thursday night in the “supper club” with my buddy Matt. About an hour into the night, some dude with a thick beard steps on stage in flip flops and plays the best rendition of “Springsteen” I’ve ever heard. And then the best rendition of “Chicken Fried” I’ve ever heard. And then another, and another. And then the mashup. The fucking mashup. The first time that 11-minute Grammy-worthy composition connects with one’s ears is better than sex. It’s Euphoria.
Holy shit, I’ve got to meet this guy. Me being the overwhelming extrovert I am, I go find him after his set. But what to say to a dude you’ve never met before and (based on an hour’s desktop review) have nothing in common with? Panic enters my brain. Golf. It’s gotta be golf. Everybody loves golf. I reach down into the safe space I’ve known my whole life and blurt out “Hey man, you ever play Granite Links before? I’ve got a membership there. I’d love to bring you out sometime.” Mastrianni cackles in his face. “Yeah, I’d love to, here’s my number” he responds. Existential Joy.
Fast forward a few months. It’s me and my roommates, backstage at the House of Blues for a Dalton show on Labor Day in 2019. In Scully’s mind, it’s a small token of appreciation for a free (albeit bad) round of golf. From our perspective, it was the coolest day our lives. I mean my Instagram story must have been insufferable that night. Being on the side of that stage, with 1,000+ people losing their minds was truly special, man. For us: pure, unadulterated happiness.
For the next three plus years, I had such a hard time explaining the Dalton experience to new people. And it shouldn’t have really been that hard. But for whatever reason, it all clicked in August of this year as we kicked off our House of Blues residency. I’m standing next to Tim (the tall guy in the Villanova gear) in the crowd of only about 400. It was a Wednesday night. A freaking Wednesday! And every single one of those 400 had a smile on their faces. There’s really only one way to describe it. Euphoria. Existential joy. Pure, unadulterated happiness.
So yeah, I am in the band. But I don’t play an instrument. And neither do you probably. But you’re part of the band too. Because that’s the Dalton experience. It’s just happiness. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what your musical or golf talents are.
And you just gotta see it to believe it.