Dan Drago has been an online champion of local musicians for more than seven years. And when he wasn’t an advocate, he was a participant, playing guitar and bass in various touring bands until 2013. A year later, he recorded his first episode of 25 O’Clock. Now the longest running podcast on the Philadelphia music scene, it recently celebrated its 200th episode.
DD: I was born on City Line Avenue and spent a few early years in King of Prussia and Norristown before my family moved to western New York. I came back in 2004, and I’ve been here ever since. I live in South Philly.
DD: Neither of my parents play instruments, but there was always cool music around—Tom Petty, the Who, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell. My family was part of a grassroots evangelical Christian movement, so there was also a lot of Christian folk music in the house—and when you’re a kid, there’s no difference. It’s just music. I had great music teachers in school, and I was in choirs. I loved to sing. By the time I was teenager, it was the early ’90s, with grunge, big hair and loud guitars. I convinced my parents to get me one of those guitars.
DD: It was 2013, and I was almost 33. When you’re in a band, you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall. In the end, it’s almost lightening in a bottle. I definitely gave it go. But as I got more and more involved in the industry, I realized that it was still going to be a slog.
DD: I listened to a lot of podcasts on tour, so I thought I’d start my own by talking to some of my artist friends. They’d come over to my house and sit at my kitchen table. We’d set up some lights and just go. Then my friends started making recommendations. The next thing I know, I’m having guests that I’ve never met before, and people are reaching out to me.
DD: I got a whole lot out of [WXPN’s] Helen Leicht’s interview for episode 200. She’s had such a long and amazing career in radio—and not just as an on-air personality. She’s been responsible for breaking a ton of bands in Philadelphia. She gets excited about things and wants to share them with the world.
DD: Sometimes I wish I could just listen to stuff and have it wash over me. But that ship sailed a long, long time ago.