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."
"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
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
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
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
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
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.