Heart of the Beast with Pere Ubu



The show was about as well matched with an opening act as you could imagine—the rare appearance in these parts of Johnny Dowd, an authentic outsider voice in his own right, doing his own idiosyncratic  thing.

Raised in Texas and Oklahoma, living for decades in Ithaca, NY, he’s

created a bunch of weird spoken word, warped country, and neo-blues recordings that have lately been accompanied by the incongruous sounds of a drum

machine. Like Jim White (with whom he once formed a band a decade ago, Hellwood), he blends absurdist spoken word poetry and unexpected music for something that like Ubu, is in the tradition of Beat poets, jazz hipsters, and street corner savants.

Rather than being menacing as Thomas was capable of being, Dowd, 69, was goodnatured and laughed along with the absurdity, allowing his guitarist Mike Edmondson to begin with an a cappella Joe Walsh, “Life’s Been Good” (when clearly his life as a rock figure has been something else) before the sudden jolt of “I Crawled Up the Rat’s Ass.”

As in the handmade poetry books he sold on site, he could come up with sharp lines that stood out. He pretended to be a funk god as “The White Dolomite,” and deconstructed “Freddy’s Dead” for his own purposes. He and Edmondson almost seemed more interested in telling the dumb jokes between songs.

They even made fun of the hopelessly dated disco-era drum machine that backed most of the songs, suggesting we “give the drummer some.” But they won over the crowd enough to have them sing along to “I love the bright lights of Washington, DC; I wanna be a star like Conway Twitty.”

He ended the semi-sincere a cappella of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” before rocking out with a version of it, encouraging a gesture that  contrasted mightily with the headliner’s scowl.

 – Oringinal article by Roger Catlin, photos by Richie Downs


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Then it’s the PEre Ubu show and merch sales. Only thing lost on this trip: Johnny’s moustache. It was one snoop too many.

A quick shout out to  Franks Diner, latest of the fine diner finds on the road with Johnny Dowd.

Live @ The Woodward Theater with Pere Ubu


Join Johnny and Mike as they open for Pere Ubu at the Woodward Theater



Touring Vaudville Style with Pere Ubu


One pit stop, a Sheetz lunch and an intimate view of the Alleghenies later,we arrived in Pittsburgh at Club Cafe. Dead on time, aka too early,
John and Mike said hello to
Gary,guitarist and old fiend…I mean friend…from Ithaca-Music
Capitol of the World.




John and Mike took advantage of the down time to go over the set.

Then it was time to rock…


And having the good fortune to be touring with Pere Ubu, watch them do the same.


Johnny says that the difference between an American rock star and a European rock star is you never see an American rock star combing his hair before a gig.


Live @Hill Country DC with Pere Ubu

                                          Hill Country Live Presents:

mentalist maverick & alt-everything troubadour has been added to in DC on 11/9 Chocolate-in-your-peanut-butter, son!

Pere Ubu

Pere Ubu’s new album 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo opens the doors of the avant-garage to reveal the hardworking mechanics hammering away at the

fundamentals of blue-collar rock. A three-guitar revision spans the state of the art for guitar-based rock in the year 2017. Keith Moliné is joined by Cleveland guitar legend Gary Siperko and Kristof Hahn in the now familiar orchestra of analog and digital

synths, clarinet, drums and Thomas’ unquestionably unique vocals.

The touring arm of Pere Ubu will be heading out with the new album; first-off in the USA in November-December, amd with a full European tour and further USA dates in 2018.

Johnny Dowd

“Sometimes music shouldn’t be easy, and instead should be mysterious, idiosyncratic

and the work of a true maverick. So we should welcome the arrival of a new Johnny Dowd album. . . . Never a man to run from the truth, if there was any justice, this guy would be a legend.” – Acoustic Magazine

“Soaked in swirling guitars with extraterrestrial synth sounds throughout Dowd here creates a piece which is on a par with the best of Beck.” – Americana-UK

Live @Club Cafe with Pere Ubu

Good stuff happening in Dowdsville.

“Twinkle, Twinkle” is finished. I thought it was going to be my most inside record, but at some point it leapt the fence and took on a life of its own. It will be released on my label in January.

Have some US gigs coming up, including three opening for the fabulous Pere Ubu (see Tour page: Pittsburgh; Washington, DC; Cincinnati). Will also tour Europe this winter. That will be something a little different, but I can’t reveal the details yet.

All for now.

—Johnny via Johnnydowd.com



Live @The Dock


                                                HAPPY HOUR at it’s most ironic




Johnny Dowd

“Sometimes music shouldn’t be easy, and instead should be mysterious, idiosyncratic and the work of a true maverick. So we should welcome the arrival of a new Johnny Dowd album. . . . Never a man to run from the truth, if there was any justice, this guy would be a legend.”

— Acoustic Magazine (UK), September 2016

“Imagine if Hank Williams had mutated into Captain Beefheart, acquiring a bunch of primitive electronic equipment along the way, and you’ll get some idea of where Johnny Dowd is at on Execute American Folklore. . . . Gloriously deviant.“

— Andy Gill, The Independent (London)


(Editors note: For those in the know, there’ll be a Party Here tonite!)



Where is Gargon?


Gargon is living on a small farm outside of Liverpool right now. He’d probably make a comeback at some point, but not as a full time touring musician. He’s a little past that.”
                                                            – Johnny Dowd, Smelly Flowerpot interview

Reflections from the Ether

I’m a huge fan, me. If you’ve heard of Dowd but not heard his music, don’t be fooled by well meaning but empty-headed music writers who use inaccurate phrases like “Americana” and “Tom Waits” to describe his music. He sounds NOTHING like Waits, and any folk and country influences disappeared years ago. He is making extremely inventive and idiosyncratic ROCK music that musicians half or even one-third his age (he’s in his late 60s) would envy. To me, his best album–and also his most recent–is That’s Your Wife On The Back Of My Horse. No Regrets is fine as well. Of his earlier albums, I would start with The Pawnbroker’s Wife. The Mekons, a band he has opened for a number of times, are huge fans. Jon and Sally guest on a song of Johnny’s called “Drunk” (one of his very last country-tinged songs) on Johnny’s Cruel Words album.

Dowd’s website is www.johnnydowd.com

I pledged at the $100.00 level to receive as premiums Execute American Folklore, 2 live CDs of Neon Baptist (Johnny’s first band), and a Zolar Moving Company t-shirt (the company Johnny co-owns for a day job). But Johnny will appreciate any pledge, even if you’re short on cash and can only afford something below the premium levels.
(DJR is referring to John’s indiegogo campaign now closed.-Editor)

I would appreciate hearing from any Dowd fans on here re: your favorite JD tunes, gigs you’ve seen, etc. And to all of you cynics: I’m neither related to Johnny nor do I have any financial interest in any success he may have. I’m just a fan.

bad moon rising
Sonic Youth Gossip 2016/06/14
The fan site



Editors note:
Awesome and insightful,DJR. We hope you are cool with us reposting here.

Live @PorchFest

John,Mike and Anna reunite to rock the neighborhood during PorchFest this week. at 304 E Marshall St.

Previous years:

PorchFest 2016

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PorchFest 2015

Johnny Dowd and The Sex Robots

“Dowd has dusted off the same drum machine that was the bedrock of 1997 debut Wrong Side of Memphis, concocting tart rhythms and overlaying them with distorted bursts of guitar and busy electronica.”- Uncut Magazine


Additionally, Anna Coogan will be hosting three collaborative efforts on her porch (and handing out cupcakes!). The first set will feature Mary Lorsen performing old favorites and new songs from her new autobiographical theatrical project. Anna will sit in with her and possibly a visit from one or more Soubrettes. Then, Johnny Dowd takes the stage with a set that, in his own words, “won’t be for the faint of heart.” Anna’s hosting wraps up with her own project with Willy B. and Johnny Dowd that will feature songs from her upcoming CD “Anna Coogan & JD Foster: The Birth of the Stars” (CD Release November 15th). And, if you happen to wander by around 1pm, you might catch some vocal warmups with Anna and her students.

Happy in Holland



Mark Lotterman toured with Johnny last year, and his latest project Holland is an amazing melange of music,art,philosophy,science and poetry.





Following an opening at TAC in Eindhoven, Mark has a Kickstarter campaign to produce a book of this  “…huge collection of more than 100 works of art, lectures, children’s drawings and interviews; all connected to one of the songs of ‘Holland’.”




Johnny and his sister collaborated on a piece for this project you can see at three major exhibitions in Rotterdam: TENT (13-23 oct) opening + book presentation in TENT on October 13 NL = US (20 Oct – 3 Dec) ViaKunst (20 Oct – 17 Nov) There are also two release concerts in Rotterdam, 16 and 17 November in the Union Hall.


 – On Instagram