For as long as we can remember, Dave Mensch has shown up in regional events calendars, playing his brand of rock/country fusion in bars and other venues across the Four Corners and Colorado. We figured it was time to sit down with him and find out what makes him tick.
Mensch’s repertoire of covers and originals largely grew out of the music he listened to growing up — John Denver, AC/DC, Def Leppard — but his musical career began in, well ... musicals. Up until the age of 17, he performed in shows like “Grease,” “Fame,” and “Aladdin.” In fact, over the last five years, you may have caught him as Roger Davis in “Rent” or Stacee Jaxx in “Rock of Ages” at the Durango Arts Center. Upon first arriving in Durango at the age of 19, his dorm friends invited him to join a band and he bought his first guitar. He quit his last job to play music full-time on June 5, 2006.
If you ask us, his experience treading the boards led directly to his theatricality on other stages. Mensch is known for his theatricality on any stage he’s on.
“In I’d say the last three years, I added more comedy stuff and improvisation and things like that to my shows. And it seems to be that those comedy songs tend to 1) be more attractive and fun to listen to in a bar setting, and 2) they also are a little bit more adult as far as the content that are in them,” he said.
Two of his more recent hits, at least in the right setting where the humor is appreciated, are “Leia,” a Star Wars reference-infused story about a woman who has had enough, and “Motorboatin’ My Sunshine (Boobs).” That latter one is “obviously about what you think it is,” he said, in case you thought he was trying to slip something especially profound past you.
Mensch was previously a member of Durango-based bands Prima Facia and Formula 151, but now tours solo. He writes many of his songs while he’s driving around the state, and as any decent country-rocker should, he’s got one particular highway where everything just comes together — in his case, U.S. Route 285.
“I drive that road probably more often than any other road, going back and forth to Durango and the Front Range and stuff. So I might be on that road a lot, or that road just tends to be where I write a ton,” he said.
Speaking of being on the road, you can catch Mensch at 6 p.m. Nov. 7 at No Worries Sports Bar and Grill in Farmington or at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 at The Break Room in Pagosa Springs. If you can’t make it to either of those, just wait – he’ll be back at a gig in the area sooner rather than later. Even during the onset of the pandemic, he found opportunities to play outside eateries serving to-go orders and online (a place he said he’s ready to return if need be, as we head back into winter with no end to COVID-19 in sight). For the time being, though, he’s still lining up shows with conscious and careful coronavirus protocols around the region.
You can also find his albums on Spotify, iTunes ... basically wherever you get your music. He released both his fifth album, “Solo Chronicles, Vol. 1” (in his first five albums he’s got a band) and a remastered version of his second album, “Yesterday’s Tomorrow” (originally released in 2007) this year. And he’s in pre-production on his sixth album, though details on it are somewhat up in the air at the moment thanks to that whole pathogen thing going around.