Random Excerpts and Mentions

This is a collections of bits and pieces that didn’t make the cut as full fledged posts. Some are from friends, others strangers, but altogether represent the insidious thread Johnny has woven through the current musical culture.

We’ll add as we find more, so return to peruse, and please, send your own!

 -The Editors

Truus de Groot

“2011 Also brought forth a collaboration with – Dutch artist extraordinaire – Rik van Iersel. The brain child of “Beukorkest”, an assemblage of musicians from around the world to collaborate at a break speed tempo. She was part of a 22 piece orchestra, performing a number of shows of over 2 hours after only 3 rehearsals. It invited all to put their best improvisational foot forward, something Truus feels right at home with.

Out of that grew an impromptu collaboration with Johnny Dowd (who was also part of Beukorkest). Truus joined him on a short tour of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands to perform as his trademark female vocalist that is part of his brilliant approach driven by strong lyrical prose with the humor of the absurd in an enticing mix of funk, soul, blues, rock, country and disco.”

“I listen to a lot of different stuff, from Mozart to Johnny Dowd to Monster Magnet. I don’t listen to music while I’m writing a draft, but I do listen to it when I’m revising.”


The Sadies: Good. Rock. Band
2015/02/08 by Luke Fenchel

“Local notable Johnny Dowd will open the show. For almost two decades—give or take—Dowd has made music that is as uncompromising as it is path breaking. Early albums like Pictures from Life’s Other Side channeled Hank Williams through a backwoods and backwards experimentalism— sounding both subversive and scintillating. And while no one would ever call Dowd’s last record an easy listen, it is his most accessible.”

Hank Roberts Ensemble, Johnny Dowd Live This Saturday
2014/10/26 by Luke Fenchel

“Then at 10 p.m., singer, songwriter, and wonderful weirdo Johnny Dowd will gig at the Nines, opening for the Tin Teardrops.”

Anna Coogan Electronic Press Kit
2014

“After seeing the Johnny Dowd Band perform during her first month in town, Anna traded in her acoustic guitar for a 1979 Stratocaster and submerged herself in Ithaca’s thriving experimental rock scene.”

The Bad Penny
2010/10/27

“…songs that Jimmie Jack Toth most wishes he had also crafted…Johnny Dowd – “Cradle to the Grave” Shit’s getting weird. You imagine the lines on the highway ahead of you are little lasers being projected into your front bumper. You’re suitably paranoid now. Was that a cop? You hate when they hide in the brush. Lousy nuisance cops. Like mosquitos of the blacktop. You better stop and pee.  ”

OMFBC Presents: The Andrew Douglas Interview
2012/06/28 by OMFBC

“We’d traveled round beforehand, finding the locations and securing many of the contributors. We also improvised, finding people that turned up unexpectedly. Sometimes we were forced to – we had one scene where the great Johnny Dowd was singing a song on a street corner about being bored (which didn’t make the cut) and we were going to follow this by asking people on the street what they did for fun. NO people on the street that day – at all!

In a panic, we asked the helpful local mayor where we could find people to ask what they did for fun. He said, he knew where there would always be people and we could ask them what they’d done ‘for fun’ – in the local jail.

That was a sublime gift of fortune, one we could never have planned or expected.

8.What about a favorite Johnny Dowd story?

Like William Boroughs, John could be described as one of the great lie-down comedians. He has such a dry, deadpan wit.

He had one typically bonkers song about an angry Jesus, nailed up on the cross, noticing somebody stealing his hammer and nails. As we were preparing to film this, a massive thunder and lightning storm burst. How perfect for a song about the Crucifixion!

Rubbing our hands with glee, we told Johnny we were taking him to a gas station, plugging him in outside by the pumps, whilst the thunder and lightning raged around him.

Johnny was quiet for a moment, then muttered

“Gas…electricity…lightning…I guess this’ll be the explosive end to the film?’

Trouper that he is, John just gulped and nodded assent.
Fortunately for him – and us – the crew truck got lost and when we got to the gas station the lightning had subsided.”

Steal the Trumpet Show Begins 2011/08/11

“de voorbereidingen zijn in volle gang ! here we come ! STEAL THE TRUMPET SHOW ! BEUKORKEST start zijn motoren ! Truus de Groot -Johnny Dowd -Michael Stark ,are in the house ! morgen eerste repetitie met verder; rik van iersel -bart maris-edward capel-crappy dog-solex-joshua van iersel-the man from the south(paul van hulten )-siem nozza-younes riad -woody veneman-Jean-marie Aerts-Aura msimang-dj DoNotAsk-G,W SOK -Amin-Marc Constandse-Toon Bressers”

Ithaca Journal
-Steve Burke 2018/09/27

“Johnny Dowd has had a long career, with countless gigs, including annual tours of Europe. When asked if he had ever busked, he had to think.

“No,” he said finally. “No, I haven’t.” He paused.

“But I advocate it,” he said brightly, an encompassing endorsement of this humble but worthy pursuit.”


Mick Kubiak:
“After her year abroad, Mick felt stifled in Ithaca and headed west to Albuquerque, a strange sort of homecoming, as she had moved from there shortly after her birth. She played in several bands there, most notably Rudy, which attracted a strong local following. After Rudy’s break-up, Kubiak returned to Ithaca to build her first solo project, a band called Tender Buttons. Local hero and international indie rocker Johnny Dowd took a shine to the band and encouraged Mick to make a record. Says Kubiak, “I was very inspired by Johnny as a writer and a performer. I felt lucky to be having a creative dialogue with him and to be able to perform with him on occasion. I got into a song a day writing practice, which was very fruitful. I wrote about half of Here Comes Spring that way. Forcing songs to completion was a way to confound my overly critical ego.”

K.Lame Duaney excerpt from “Future 86”:

“I once snapped a picture of David Lisa ‘watering the bushes’ near the Short Stop. Later I was listening to Johnny Dowd and my tape got eaten by the machine. Somewhere in the world there was a solar eclipse and I felt a wave of fear go down my spine. The leaves suddenly flipped upwards and the air got heavy. I opened up my camera and exposed my film to the sun because I knew I had only a little time left before the storm moved in.”

Sounds just like Johnny Dowd, but… :

Jim White:
a vocal warping from Will Oldham at his most affecting to Johnny Dowd at his most pathological…

The Beauty Shop:
Fans of Johnny Dowd and the Violent Femmes will find much to please them here.
Caramel Jack:
while “Elephants” dissolves into an acid-carousel waltz that’s as unsettling as Johnny Dowd.
Weaver:
Like Merle Haggard shooting tequila with Johnny Dowd.
Tom House:
Few Americana artists stake out such distinct terrain (Johnny Dowd comes to mind)
Eels Soulkcke:
the often heard the comparison with Beck as well as allowing a respectful cross-reference to Johnny Dowd
UFO Jim –
delivered in UFO Jim’s cross between Johnny Dowd and Stan Ridgway drawl.
“With his blend of country twang, lolloping boogie and Beefheartian astringency Muleskinner Jones may be the British Johnny Dowd.”
Whoever finds Bob Dylan, Dave Alvin, Johnny Dowd, etc. Interesting and successful, feels at home with the Songdogs. …’
Eskorakas:
This is what a collaboration of Johnny Dowd and Nick Cave for a slasher movie soundtrack would sound like.
Brock Zeeman:
This Friday night April 7th “With a voice that recalls early Tom Waits crossed with Johnny Dowd, a talking blues style, and backing instrumentation that lays down a slinky late night groove Zeman makes MUSIC THAT FILLS THE SOUL… Discovery of the year so far.”
Vinyl Vacation Record # 20, “Smoke Your Fear” by Idaho Joe Windslow. Imagine Johnny Dowd doing middle eastern sounding… ragas?

 

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