It's ironic that these days Southern California pysch-pop band dios malos (note the lowercase) is better known in gloomy England than they are in the sunny state they call home. Now with a steady parade of glorious hype from the UK press, dios malos are starting to gain some footing here in the States with a tweaked brand of dreamy sun-drenched pop that brings to mind the relaxed nature of The Beach Boys with the studio trickery of Grandaddy.

dios malos play Thurs Jan 20 at Doug Fir

Was it difficult as a band to come from a small town like Hawthorne that is known for birthing such a legendary act as The Beach Boys?

Hawthorne isn't that small, it's a pretty decent size city with mostly suburbs. Growing up in the suburbs probably makes it easier to get focused, mainly because there are fewer distractions around all the time. Less clubs with a bunch of Eddie Munster/Spock Children. If being from Hawthorne has hurt us in any way, it was because we weren't from a hip neighborhood, so L.A. promoters would never give the band the time of day. But that was until the British magazines started freaking out on us.

Is there truth to the rumor that you funded recording for your album by selling bootlegs of The Beach Boys' once-lost album, Smile? If so, how do those bootlegs compare to the recently released Smile with all of that new material spliced in on it?

We will neither confirm nor deny that. But hypothetically saying we did--those originals were the template, and while the new stuff is nice in that it shows you the completed idea, the originals still have the sound and the vibe.

Do you find that a lot of press uses your geography to explain your music?

Yeah, we get lumped in that "sunny California pop" or "mellow stoner rock" box a lot. That probably works really well for a band like The Thrills, but we were hoping that people would get a little more dimensions from our music.

Can you explain the story on how Ronnie James Dio forced you to change the name from dios to dios malos?

We got a letter from Dio's lawyer telling us to fuck off and change our name. Naturally we thought it was a joke, and when we found out it was real we still thought it was a joke.

Where you upset over this?

We were all very pissed, and they wouldn't accept our first four name change choices.

Did you ever think of suing him for making terrible music? Besides it's not like you can't beat him up, I mean, he's only like 5'4" or something, I can't imagine that being a difficult task. He makes Danzig look tall.

We could probably do terrible things to him, but he's real good with rainbows and darkness so maybe it'd be better if he fought him in the sunlight.