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Johnny Dowd

Johnny Dowd
“Cruel Words”
Irish Release March 10th 2006
Munich Records

This was an easy record to make. We had been playing the songs live for almost a year, so our plan was to go into the studio, cut the songs live with a minimum of overdubs or other studio trickery.

We recorded to tape at Pyramid Sound, a great local studio where I live in Ithaca, New York. My buddy Alex Perialas engineered. When you have players like Mike Stark and Brian Wilson, it's a matter of turning them loose to do their thing.

Mike has been playing with me for about a year and half. He and Brian have played together in other bands for years. Mike brings a bit of a jazz sensibility to the music that I really love. And, of course, Brian's drum and bass playing has always been the foundation of the band. I think the songs have the best grooves of any record I've done.

We also got Kim Sherwood-Caso back in the studio. She really put the icing on the cake. This was a group effort, and I'm proud to be a part of it. One other thing made this a special record for me: two of my favorite musicians, Sally Timms and Jon Langford, sang on "Drunk." We've toured twice with The Mekons, and it was always an education -- there isn't a better band out there. ---JD

Praise for previous releases:

"Psycho removals man makes another fine delivery. . .Wonderfully warped yet remarkably accessible." Mojo

"Watching Johnny Dowd in action, it is tempting to believe that these are pop's last days, and Dowd has been sent as a harbinger of the apocalypse." -- The Guardian

"There's intense and there's Johnny Dowd. He's Nick Cave with a hangover. Hank's lonesome whistle spat through Waits's grinder, with Beefheart on the side. . . ." -- Time Out London

"Dowd comes on like the bastard spawn of Aleister Crowley. - Uncut Dowd sings like a serial killer trapped in a vacuum cleaner". . . Mojo


March 29, 1948: Born in Fort Worth, Texas. My mother married my father because he was a good dancer. They grew up in the big band era — Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey. When my father was in the army, he had his picture taken with Frank Sinatra. I have four lovely and influential sisters.

1950: We moved to Memphis, Tennessee. My father worked at J. C. Penney in America's first shopping mall. I was bow-legged and wore corrective braces. By all accounts, I was a bad-tempered child.

1953: My father got angry at his boss and quit J. C. Penney. We moved back to his hometown of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. This is where my musical education took place.

1956: I got a record player for Christmas. The first record I bought was by the Ray Coniff Singers. Around this time, my mother taught me to dance. I had a pair of pointy shoes and a red shirt that I wore when I pretended to be James Brown. "Live at the Apollo" remains my all-time favorite record.

1965: My parents got divorced. We moved back to Memphis. The first Bob Dylan record was released. I was mystified. Something was happening, but I didn't know what. My mom bought me an acoustic guitar, but I was too lazy to practice.

1967: I threw away all my records in a futile attempt to break rock 'n' roll's hold on my imagination.

1970-1979: Can't remember much except that I met my future wife, Kat Dalton.

1980: Bought a green Italian electric hollow-body guitar and later sold it. I'd love to have it back.

1981-1986: My friend Dave Hinkle and I started a moving business called Zolar Moving Co. and also a band, The Jokers. We did songs like "Lucille" and "Harlem Nocturne." It was loads of fun.

1988-1993: Dave and I started a second band, Neon Baptist, with Jennifer Dowd (drums), Mike Edmondson and Max Ormand (guitars), and Cally Arthur and Kim Sherwood-Caso (vocals). I am related to most of these people. Again, we had loads of fun. More fun than is legal.

1998: The band members grow up and begin to lead adult lives. I persevere. My first album, "Wrong Side of Memphis," is released in Europe and the U.S. I put together a band with Brian Wilson (drums), Mike Edmondson (keyboards), and Kim Sherwood-Caso (vocals). We begin to tour.

1999: "Pictures from Life's Other Side" is released. More tours in U.S. and Europe. More guitars.

2000: Justin Asher joins the band. "Temporary Shelter" is released in Europe (and in 2001 in U.S.). More touring. Living the life most men only dream of.

2002: Yet another album, "The Pawnbroker's Wife," is released. The is the first album without a photo of me on the cover. Does this signify a change in direction? Not really. More tours.

2003: "Wire Flowers: More Songs from the Wrong Side of Memphis" released in Europe.

2004: "Cemetery Shoes" released. Basically, this album is just Johnny and Willie B. (Brian Wilson) doing their thing. Justin helped mix it. New band line-up is Mike Stark (keyboards) and Willie B. (drums, bass pedals, and keyboards). Toured with the Mekons, the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band, in March.

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  I was born on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1948, in Forth Worth Texas. I'm not the superstitious type, so I don't give the Easter date any special significance. I don't see myself as the saviour of rock-n-roll or anything like that. I do know that my birthday falls on Easter again in 2043 and hope between now and then to write some memorable songs and to entertain the multitudes. There isn't much of interest to say about myself. I grew up in Paul's Valley, a small town in Oklahoma. Listening to the radio, driving around in Daddy's car, falling in love, and listening to the radio. I left home when I was seventeen. Army, marraige, divorce -- the usual mixture of stupidity, glory and bad habits. The last 20 years or so I've spent as a furniture mover, songwriter and band leader. There have been some good times and some bad times and a few times I lost the faith, but I'm still a true believer in the power of music. Rock-n-Roll is my religion. It's all I know. Thanks for your time.

Johnny Dowd
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