Tag Archives: David J

A Conversation With David J On His Most Personal Album, Yet

“It’s descriptive of a period of time, the last five years in my life.”
“A journey I’ve been on.”
“The whole thing is a love letter.”
“I dedicated it to my wife.”
“It’s all there in the lyrics.”
“The most personal recording I’ve made.”

Gather together these small fragments David J allows himself to say about his forthcoming double album and very quickly you’ll feel as if you’ve been granted a peek into the man’s heart and soul. Listen to all sixteen tracks from
Missive To An Angel From The Halls Of Infamy & Allure for confirmation. With a celebrated heritage beginning with Bauhaus, then Love & Rockets and a vast catalog of his solo work, you may believe David has poured his heart out in the studio at least a couple of times. There can be no doubt he has on occasion suggested to the listener that his emotions were on display in his music. The boldness of the title for his latest release could be a warning. Don’t expect a collection of neo-BowieSylvian maudlin-style odes to unrequited love. The opening cut, Mosaic tells of a jaded rock star’s cocaine-fueled fractured life, complete with an exotic violin refrain. A simple-sing-along Blues Eyes In A Green Room underplays the serious lyrics as the seeming laissez-faire snare drum gives space for the pristine piano leading the melody. David’s only cover on the album of the late Peter Laughner’s Baudelaire is both poignant and reverent, while he manages to craft what essentially could be mistaken as his own composition. “Like a kid in a candy store, I want to lick what I like”, sings David in I Don’t Want To Destroy Our Beautiful Thing. Self-confession and reflection while away from home. There is an unnerving wavering quality to his voice on this cut. How many takes? Was this the first and last? Lovelorn comes next. Surprisingly jaunty albeit with a raw biting story.

At this point in listening to the record, an overwhelming thought sweeps in – how come we don’t listen to whole albums from start to finish anymore? The accordion(?), then the strummed acoustic guitar, the up-close vocals, the piano, and the plaintive violin all deliver Clandestine Valentine as if as a familiar song. And, that’s a good thing. With references to Pasolini and arty-farty girls, you know you’re in for a “triple X” adventure as David says in Purgatory and Perfume, masquerading as Blood On The Tracks era Dylan. The story behind the evolution of Migena And The Frozen Roses is best told by David J, which he does in our conversation. The collaboration with The Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman, Anton Newcombe and actress Asia Argento on this song is indicative of the brilliance of David’s ability to co-opt the talents of other artists to accomplish an exceptional body of work. Oh, and yes, this is the song that unabashedly explains so much about this double album. In No Floods Can Drown, an honest statement, simply presented. “Morning wood” may not be your typical idea of love. Yet, David does suggest it’s all part of thinking about love, a Pre-Existing Condition. “She bats her lashes and a hurricane starts in China. You’re on your knees at the vestibule of vagina.” Sings David J in Copper Level 7. The power of a woman who uses hair color apparently. Rhyming China with vagina is just part of his flavorful word-play – “She slips on her stockings and initiates a coup d’etat.” The tune breaks down halfway through into a mock ragtime interlude before easing back into the original melody. The positively-poppy tone of (I Walked Away From) The Girl In Yellow disguises Mr. J’s self-questioning or is it congratulation of being able to avoid getting into trouble. Beginning with a quasi-western guitar sound, Best Western Blues proves how smart David J’s writing can be. In the end, he is still checking in to find love as the song closes with an electronic wind sound, the ascending violin(s) and the clippity-clopping beat. The sound of rain recorded on David J’s iPhone begins the title cut Missive To An Angel From The Halls Of Infamy & Allure. The somber violin coming to the fore as an acoustic guitar strums behind compliments David’s woeful but assured voice. Is this the album’s tour de force? I would argue that it could well be, yet David gives us two more tracks to contemplate. The Auteur (Redux / The Starlet’s Cut), an older song from his library of work has been revisited adding the voice of actress and activist, Rose McGowan. It’s a haunting song, disturbing in that Ms. McGowan has featured at the forefront of the #MeToo movement and David has not shied away from exposing his interaction with women. Finally, the beautiful voice of Emily Jane White joins David on I Hear Only Silence. Listen carefully to the words and reflect on what you have heard already on this album. A simple piano coda plays and the quietness, the vulnerability comes scorching through with the two voices.

In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, David J talks openly about Missive To An Angel From The Halls Of Infamy & Allure with Norman B. Plus you’ll hear a Life Elsewhere exclusive, a world-wide premiere of the title cut.

Show #341

The Killer. The Auteur. The Relationship.

Maureen Callan

Most people have never heard of Israel Keyes, one of the most ambitious and terrifying serial killers in modern history. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as “a force of pure evil,” Keyes was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried “kill kits”–cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools–in remote locations across the country. Over the course of fourteen years, Keyes would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use his kits. He would break into a stranger’s house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home to Alaska, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter. When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was captivated by how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected by law enforcement for over a decade. And so began a project that consumed her for the next several years–uncovering the true story behind how the FBI ultimately caught Israel Keyes and trying to understand what it means for a killer like Keyes to exist. A killer who left a path of monstrous randomly committed crimes in his wake–many of which remain unsolved to this day. Norman B talks with Maureen about American Predator – The Hunt For The Most Meticulous Serial Killer Of The 21st Century. “The most horrific book I have ever read!” He tells Ms. Callahan, adding, “But, I loved every page!”

David J & Rose McGowan

David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets fame has released a digital-only single, The Auteur (Redux / The Starlet’s Cut) featuring actress and activist, Rose McGowan. This release serves as a taster for his forthcoming double album Missive To An Angel From The Halls Of Infamy And Allure, which is set for release on in the autumn. The track features a stellar line up of musicians, including Paul Wallfisch (Swans), Larry Mullins AKA Toby Dammit (Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), Sean Eden (Luna) and Emily Jane White (backing vocals). “The original version of The Auteur was released as part of an EP in 2002, an old song that tells a much older story but one which in light of the whole #metoo movement now has an addendum,” says David J. “The most vocal proponent of that righteous call for respect and culpability, Rose McGowan, makes a fitting and emotional appearance on this brand new version’s reprise”. David continues,Rose told me that she related to the lyrics on a very personal level and, because of this, she is also considering recording her own version of the song.”

Christopher Castellani

“I always think, less is more, when it comes to writing about sex.” Says Christopher Castellani, when the subject of physical intimacy comes up.  And, erotic descriptions of gay sex do come up, in Leading Men, Castellani’s sumptuous new novel. The author gently leads the reader through exquisitely realized scenarios that are full of passion; of lust; of yes – sex in a world of agreeable young gay men who appear to swan around languidly from one late night after another to nattering effortlessly as they lay photo-ready in the Mediterranean sun. Christopher paints his beautiful vistas of Portofino, or Rome or wherever he chooses so realistically, you have to remind yourself – often – that is a work of fiction. The clever title, Leading Men, perfectly announces the complexity and essence of this book – relationships. Christopher Castellani bases his gorgeous novel on the relationship between Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo, who were together from roughly 1947 to 1963, a stretch during which the playwright composed some of the American theater’s enduring classics, including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Suddenly Last Summer” and “The Rose Tattoo.” When they met, Tennessee Williams was already flush from the success of “A Streetcar Named Desire” From the first sentence, Castellani wows the reader with an almost unnoticed assertiveness, “Truman was throwing a party in Portofino, and Frank wanted to go.” No last name is given and just like his scenes of intimacy, Christopher allows us, the reader to fill in the unspoken words. It is this brilliant writing-gift that makes Leading Men so wonderful. Castellani conjures up a beautiful, haunting story. He introduces characters who are not only believable, you’ll be thumbing through John Lahr’s biography of Williams to find out how you could have missed them. In Leading Men, the author questions our idea, if not our ideal of what a relationship is – or could be. Make sure you don’t miss Christopher Castellani’s spirited conversation about his book in the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

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Life Elsewhere Music airs:
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Show #331

 

A Conversation With David J

David J modestly says on his Facebook page, “Founding member of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets now flying solo with the help of talented friends.” In conversation with Norman B, the man who wrote the lyrics for Bela Lugosi’s Dead is equally humble. “He graciously chatted openly, and shared his thoughts on all manner of topics without hesitation.” Says the Life Elsewhere host. David recalls how he and the other members of Bauhaus began to have their doubts about the length of the song until the forward-thinking boss of Small Wonder records insisted they release the track in all its original glory. He goes on to talk about how the band was frustrated by the Goth moniker, how he would often initiate a track by taking the lead with his bass. David tells of the musicians he has worked with and who he has always wanted to work with. A poignant story about buying his first David Bowie album leads David J to remember being mocked for liking the gender-bending star and getting beat up in the process. He doesn’t flinch from talking about the hoary old rock ’n’ roll prerequisites of sex and drugs, nor does he shy away from mentioning the personality difficulties all bands seem to have at one time or another. It’s a one-of-a-kind conversation, typical of Norman B’s ability to move beyond the interviewer role by inviting us to eavesdrop on a private dialogue between friends.

The Podcast is available at NPR One & iTunes

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3
Sundays 10.00am ET at WNRM The Root
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On-Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Sundays 11.00am ET at WNRM The Root
Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

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