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Monday, 19.11.2018, 20:20
oh what a night...
Dan Stuart
(through his alter ego Marlowe Billings)

First it was the album «The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings» (2012), then «Marlowe’s Revenge (2016, recorded with Antonio Gramentieri’s «Sacri Cuori») and now «The Unfortunate Demise of Marlowe Billings» (2018). His latest work represents the final nail in the coffin of that particular protagonist, modeled after a character in the books of famed cult author B. Traven («Treasure of the Sierra Madre»). Also available as a novel with the same title, he calls the work «a false memoir» and it leaves no doubt Dan the Trickster is alive and well and living in Mexico City. Like a fusion of Bukowski and Hemingway, the novel, told in short staccato bites, is a hardboiled semi-autobiography by a mental writer and musician, rollicking in debauched details. One reviewer, Paul Kerr, writes: «As Billings, Stuart introduces as to a sun-blasted weed smoking minor delinquent who starts a band in the emotional wasteland of Tucson. Snot-nosed and foul-mouthed, glam rock then punk and Patti Smith, fire him up in a milieu reminiscent of Alex Cox’s Repo Man. Overdoses, petty crime and rude sex only threaten to divert this weird messiah’s weird collection of disciples until he has a ragtag band that outgrows Tucson’s sin bins and decamps to LA. DIY recordings lead to record deals and label rip-offs before Billings and crew set out to conquer the world only to realize that the craziness follows them until the band falls apart. Intending to start afresh he’s fucked by legal shenanigans forcing him to retain the band name screwing his pals and hurtling forward into an ever-increasing maelstrom of mental indignation. The book ends with Billings in a mental institution.»  

The 3rd and last studio album in the «Marlowe Billings» series is Dan’s finest work since his days fronting Green on Red (w Chuck Prophet and Chris Cacavas) and their classic «Gas Food Lodging». The much-covered songwriter teamed up with guitarist and producer Denny Amis (Los Straitjackets, The Raybeats). Backed by fine Americana style playing featuring musicians from Mexico, Italy, New York, and San Francisco, the mercurial Dan Stuart bears his insides with uncompromising honesty.

Tom Heyman
«Show Business, Baby» is his current album and 4th solo album and the title song implores «Baby Let Me In» and it’s pretty clear, no baby could refuse.
It features 13 songs that rarely break the three minutes mark. The singer-songwriter, sideman and pedal steel and guitar slinger has been a figurehead in the SF music scene for a couple of decades, backing folks like Chuck Prophet, John Doe, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Eitzel a.o. Tom’s famous for letting it rip and sure enough the album features insane guitar solos and evil reverb excursions. With his voice moaning and yowling like a boozed-up lovelorn patron in the dive bar he so loves. Cowbells are ringing in «Show Business» which actually pays tribute to Tom’s time as a bartender and «Whisky Wolf» doesn’t need no further explanation. He loves performing in small venues, «getting down in a small club» and sees it as a tribute to the bands that influenced him earlier on. In fact, the album is, he says «a straight-up love letter and homage to my late 70’s early 80’s pub rock heroes Rockpile, Mink Deville, The Leroi brothers, and their many offshoots.» Like some of the legends, he occasionally likes spiffy sharkskin suits with a sprinkling of glitter.

Live at El Lokal. Dark Americana owns the night.

el Lokal