photo by Kat Dalton
Songs of unfulfilled longing
American nightmare: The 70-year-old songwriter Johnny Dowd in Kohi
Arrangements are rough and beautiful
No, Johnny Dowd did not drink a bit too much, Tom Severer from Kohi says, “He’s just an old man.” And that’s right Dowd was born in Fort Worth Texas in 1948. As a teenager, he volunteered the army came to Berlin for these to Vietnam in the sixties, and for two years in Berlin. “Since then, Germany and this city have been”, he mumbles, and admits that his thoughts on this period are first of his “experiences in the army, the many wars, and all the trouble. “What men have since learned, he does not know:” But most of them have most likely forgotten.
His acclaimed performance has been in the air for a few minutes, he has been smoking a cigarette out of doors and is now sitting behind the black table with hanging shoulders and saddest eyes, where band mate and brother-in-law Michael Edmondson sells CDs and poetry. Edmondson has been talking to Dowd for 33 years, starting in New York’s punk band Neon Baptist. His autographs and dedications are always provided by Dowd with a small drawing. Selzer hands him a glass of bourbon. Johnny Dowd has had to endure this world long enough to tell a lot. For a long time he worked as a furniture packer and had his own company. The first marriage is said to have lasted only two weeks.
Today he’s only doing rock n roll In the song “Dream On” dedicated to his current wife, he complains; “I did the best that I could but did not do what I should.” At first he probably just tried to spend his time in a good mood. Anyone who, after the wildest youth, only picks up a guitar at the age of 30 and starts making music, will always listen well and have seen a lot. Edmondson calls him a “real guy” “and is right. Because Dowd does not play a role in his role but the American nightmare of the eternally unfulfilled yearning. Yes, that’s Rock n Roll Blues Folk Americana. This is not songwriting but songsuffering.
Dowd creates arrangements that are so rude and beautiful that you almost stifle the fulfillment. Everywhere one hears the americanish 20th year dying out, which is dying. If you lose your sense of humor, it will be really bad, “he says,” you pack the sentence in your backpack and look forward to the next morning. “That’s life, Matthias Dreisigacker
Alternative-Country irgendwo zwischen Noise, Elektro, Punk und DiY (NY-Ithaca) Einlass 19.30h
Johnny Dowd trinkt gerne Whisky, ist Vietnamveteran und ehemaliger Möbelspediteur, war immerhin mal zwei Wochen verheiratet und singt, so schrieb ein Rezensent, “wie ein Serienkiller, der in einem Staubsauger gefangen ist”. Seine Songs sind skurrile Gesamtkunstwerke, zusammengebastelt aus Versatzstücken von Country, Blues und allem anderen. Dazu scheppert das Schlagzeug, Texte über unerwiderte Liebe, Mord und andere Fiesheiten stellen einem die Nackenhaare, und verzerrte Gitarren krachen, als würde es kein Morgen geben. Gibt es vielleicht auch nicht, denn wie Dowd selbst sagt: “Ich bin mir nicht sicher, wie viele Melodien ich noch in mir habe. Tick tock.” (a)
Johnny Dowd likes to drink whiskey, is a Vietnam veteran and former furniture forwarder, was married for two weeks and sings, a reviewer wrote, ” like a serial killer trapped in a vacuum cleaner. ” His songs are quirky Gesamtkunstwerke, made up of pieces of country, blues and everything else. The drums clank, lyrics about unrequited love, murder and other nasties put the hackles, and distorted guitars crack, as if there would be no tomorrow. Maybe it does not exist because, as Dowd himself says, “I’m not sure how many tunes I still have in it, tick tock.”