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

                                                               TONIGHT

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

 

Tickets

Where is Gargon?

Quote

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

Twinkle Twinkle Pere Ubu

important announcement?—my record of public domain tunes is now recorded[for the second time-the first version was awful]—it will be called [i think] TWINKLE TWINKLE–it’s pretty wack in a folky kind of way—look for me at the grammies—hang down yer head tom dooley yo

– Johnny Dowd

UPCOMING TOUR

Big news: I have some dates in November opening for one of my all-time favorite bands, Pere Ubu!

November 8: Club Cafe; Pittsburgh, PA
November 9: Hill Country DC; Washington, DC
November 21: Woodward Theater; Cincinnati, OH

Ticket links on my Tours page here.

Also, my new record, “Twinkle, Twinkle,” is being mixed and will be released in December. I’m heading to Europe in January.

See you down the road.

Johnny Dowd

Johnny Dowd: new album “Twinkle, Twinkle”

Johnny Dowd has finished recording an album with public domain tunes. It might be called Twinkle, Twinkle and will be released on his own label Mother Jinx Records:

Howdy all. I have finished tracking my new record, tentatively titled Twinkle, Twinkle. All the songs are in the public domain — “Tom Dooley,” “St. James Infirmary,” “Red River Valley,” “Rock of Ages” . . . you get the picture. It features Anna Coogan and Mike Edmondson on vocals. If you ever wondered what folk music would sound like in an electronic setting, this is it. I’ll release it on my own label, Mother Jinx Records. Not sure when. I’ll keep you posted.

 

HCTF review of Execute American Folklore.

 – Original Article

 

 

 

The Southern Tour

As a bit of a bloggish prelude to upcoming shows with Pere Ubu, here’s shots from John’s mini tour of the south in June. He played some crazy cool venues, and there were a few adventures…

 

First stop was Local 506 in Chapel Hill, a great show shared with local favorites Melissa Swingle and Ben de la Cour ( and that hot hamburger stand guy).

 

John and Mike had a whole day and night to recoup at the swanky Hotel BobNJackie. And no, they don’t take reservations.

123 Pleasant St. was a revisit (and reunion) for John.(Check out this CD of a previous show there). Once again he shared the stage, this time with The Furr and Captain Catfeesh.

It’s along drive to Nashville, so you gotta stop and eat in W Va. And if you gotta eat in W Va, you’d best go to Mama Kay’s.

In addition to food, there is employment, so John made a quick career change to tire salesman.

 

 

Hours later, having sold only one tire (to himself), profit margins proved slim,so it’s on to the Big Bucks at Mouthhole (F)ester.

 

You remember the Mouthhole, right, who had a fundraiser for Johnny’s fundraiser and wrote all those sick Name Songs for contributors? Johnny wrote a song for them, too,which you can find eventually if you scroll around his website

The Mouthhole (F)ester being dark and deep and awesomely funky, images were not so clear. As it should be in the best of underground venues.

(Johnny’s own take on the tour:

Just got back from a mini southern tour: Local 506 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown, West Virginia; and Mouthhole Festival in Nashville, Tennessee.All three gigs were a ton of fun. Mike Edmondson and I dubbed ourselves the Muggles Brothers for this tour. Jennifer Edmondson came with us and was a great help with the merch table. In Chapel Hill, I was able to visit with my sister and her husband who gave me an awesome madras jacket from the sixties! Thanks to the clubs for booking us and the people who came out to see us. Give yourself a big hand.

 

One of the highlights of the tour was an out-of-the-world lunch at Mama Kay’s in Princeton, West Virginia. The food was great, and the owners really made us feel at home. If you are in the area, check it out. Tell them Johnny sent you.)

 

In spirit of the upcoming Twinkle Twinkle album, here’s a thousand stars there’s plenty of time to make for yourself next time you drive from New York to Nashville and back. (Congrats to Ben & Jade).

JDF out!

 

 

Live @Local 506

Johnny Dowd

Melissa Swingle Duo

Ben de la Cour

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Tickets

Facebook Event

Johnny Dowd, one of a kind leftfield trashcan Americana artist, has a show at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC on June 14th.

HCTF review of Execute American Folklore.

 – Original Article

Execute Tour Summed Up

Photo_jifs-polaroid

Howdy people.

Just got back from a super fun tour of Europe. The crowds were great. They really opened their hearts (and wallets) to me and the Sex Robots.

I want to thank Mike Edmondson and Anna Coogan. They rocked it every night and did all the hard work behind the scenes (driving, merch sales, getting me out of bed). Also want to thank Mark Lotterman and Park Doing. They did the support on the tour and lit a fire under me every night (and also helped with the practical stuff).

Thanks to Sedate Bookings for a great job booking the tour, to Artist on the Road for supplying the van and equipment, and to Del Day of Ark PR for promo. It’s a pleasure doing business with you guys. And last, but not least, thanks to Kat Dalton, my wife and manager. Without her hard work, there would be no tour or indeed no Johnny Dowd music career.

Below are some of my photos from my instant camera which Kat got for me for the tour.

Johnny courtesy of his website