Alex Dezen (of The Damnwells) & His Band

Resident Presents

Alex Dezen (of The Damnwells) & His Band

Mike Dunn, Jeff Caudill

Sat · May 13, 2017

6:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 21 and over

Alex Dezen
Alex Dezen
It’s official. The Damnwells are done. “It was an amazing run,” says Alex Dezen. “But it’s time to
move on.” 16 years, 5 albums, and countless miles later, Dezen is finally stepping out on his own
with his second solo album in two years. Truth be told, the tenuous formation which has carried
the Damnwells moniker over the last decade and a half has always featured Dezen’s voice and
songs front and center. Both 2007’s One Last Century 2010’s No One Listens to the Band Anymore
employed a wide net of musicians and friends, often without founding members Steven
Terry, Ted Hudson, and David Chernis. So, in many ways, II, the second solo album from Damnwells
frontman, is just a continuation of what Dezen has been doing his entire career. Only it isn’t
that at all.
From the fuzzed-out refrains of “When You Give Up” to the lush harmonies of “Everything’s Great
(Everything’s Terrible)” to the acoustic folkie life lessons of “The Boys of Bummer,” II showcases
the creative spark of an artist coming into his prime — a songwriter who has been able to deftly
thread the needle between his past, present, and future. II, which is being released on February 3,
2017 on Poor Man Records, remains undaunted, pushing artistic boundaries like never before.
“In many ways,” says Dezen, “the job of an artist is to re-examine what came before. That informs
what we do next.” Taken as a whole, II displays a penchant for blending both retro and modern
sounds to forge something new, yet still creating something catchy enough to hook the listener on
the very first spin. “My intention when I made this record was not to make an ’80s record,” Dezen
clarifies. “But as soon as I got the guitar in my hands and started messing around with chords and
getting further along into the production and the writing, it just went that way — and it felt very
natural to me.”
Songs like “Holding On to You (Holding On to Me)” builds on the Lindsey Buckingham-esq sonic
palette made famous on Fleetwood Mac’s magnum studio opus, 1979’s Tusk, and brings it into the
modern age. “That music has been in my mind and in my ears as long as I can remember,” Dezen
admits. “The late-’70s was an interesting time. Disco was dying, so there’s this weird combination
of disco and rock & roll happening together, which produced some really cool stuff.” Dezen is
pleased with the ways this album bridges the gap between then and now, and doesn’t shy away
from the obvious comparisons. “I’m well aware of it,” says Dezen. “I welcome it. I wish I had been
in that band! This song is the closest I’m going to get.”
Dezen, who wrote, performed, produced, and mixed this record almost entirely on his own, thoroughly
enjoyed the time he spent in a band. “The beauty of being in a band,” Dezen explains, “is
you’ve got all these different influences coming in. But when you’re making a record by yourself
and you’re producing it by yourself, you can chase down any and every idea to its most perfect
conclusion. You can really explore all the things and ideas you want.”

Dezen knows what lane he’s in as an artist — and he’s totally cool with it. “I’m not trying
to rewrite the history of music. I’m not Radiohead, and I’m not trying to do something
that has never been heard before,” he says. “I do very much like familiarity in my
music. It’s whatever originality you bring to it that ultimately makes your music special.”
One song Dezen expects will push a few hot buttons with listeners is “I Am a Racist,”
which also features backing vocals from one of the album’s key collaborators, Amber
Bollinger. “I think the most dangerous form of racism,” says Dezen, “is the racist who
doesn’t even realize what they are, that their racism is so systematically engrained, they
don’t see what a huge part of the problem they are.” For Dezen, change is something
that has to start from within. “Saying that the problem is me,” Dezen explains, “as opposed
to pointing a finger and saying that it’s something else, is a lot more powerful. I
guess I’m asking for a ‘Man in the Mirror’ moment. We need to look deeply at the way
we engage with each other. We need to start there.”
Though the first song on the album, “When You Give Up,” highlights the darker side
hope, Dezen himself has an internal drive that just won’t quit. “The only thing I feel
pretty confident about being able to do is write a song,” Dezen says. “Whether or not
that song is any good, who knows. But this is what I’ve been doing for so long. I do
know it brings me a tremendous amount of joy.”
That joy is what keeps him going. “Just when I thought everything had fallen apart,
something positive would appear in my life, inviting me to continue to do what I do,”
Dezen says. “I guess I just do it because I really, genuinely love it. It challenges me. It
keeps me sharp. I think that’s why the arts are so important. The arts ultimately make
you active, smart, and more aware and more empathetic towards the people in the
world around you.”
The overall takeaway from II is an artist forging ahead with an uncompromising, singular
vision. “You’ll get that I’m saying, ‘Here I am as me, and I’m now moving into this
phase.’ And you know what? That’s not a bad place to be.” It sure isn’t. If anything, II is
the clear sonic signpost for where the ever-searching singer/songwriter is headed next.
Come along for the ride.
Mike Dunn
In the fall of 2013, several years had passed since Mike Dunn released an album with his band Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England. He had taken time off from music and touring to “grow up.” You know, get a job and get married. And though he never stopped writing songs, nothing felt worth its weight in vinyl. With a dark cloud of self-doubt looming like an afternoon storm in summer, Dunn knew it was time for a new chapter. So he picked himself up by his bootstraps, rented a cabin in the woods and set out to write a record.

He rigged up a little studio in the two-bedroom shack on a lake. He read Flannery O'Connor, ate rare steak, drank good whiskey, took naps and, lo and behold, wrote a song. When the week was up, so was his song count; he left with five songs and the roots of what would become the sprawling Hard Luck Soft Rock. The ten song album shows Dunn as a veteran of the music scene, a songwriter enjoying his art without worrying about success. Instead of chasing an ever-moving finish line, his heartfelt lyrics and rock melodies prove he is finally enjoying the run.

In describing the album, it’s best to lean on one of Dunn’s favorite quotes from Paul Westerberg: “We weren’t invited to the party, so we threw our own.” Reuniting with producer Louis DeFabrizio (Gasoline Heart), who produced Dunn’s first record in 2007, made it easy to pave this new musical path. And fortunately for the rest of us, this is a rock ’n roll party with Americana grit and power pop hooks we’re all welcome to attend.
Jeff Caudill
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Not many artists stay relevant to their fan-base over a sustained period of time, but Californian singer-songwriter, Jeff Caudill, is one such rarity. Shooting to prominence with punk-pop band, Gameface, in the early 1990s, his irrepressible knack for a memorable hook and melody quickly established a dedicated following. Never standing still, he led the band around the globe, gradually shedding the youthful exuberance for a string of increasingly mature releases, before finally abandoning the tour van in 2003.

Music is in his blood and it wasn't long before Caudill reappeared, acoustic guitar in hand. Rather than signalling a new direction, the new, earthier sound was a logical progression from his punk roots. The release of acclaimed debut album, ‘Here’s What You Should Do’, confirmed this was an artist equally comfortable mixing up pop, indie and alt-country to create something fresh. Never one to shy away from putting the hard yards in, a steady stream of releases followed...

Still wearing his heart on his sleeve and fiercely independent, the release of new album, ‘Try to be Here’ promises to win over a new raft of fans, as well as provide a convenient jumping on point for any who may have lapsed. The trademark pop sensibility burns as bright as ever, but the lyrics are sure to connect with his loyal fan-base, confirming him as a man in thrall to his family and comfortable in his own skin. Upbeat and warm, ‘Try to be Here’ represents another urgent step forward. Back with a band once again and showcasing his strongest material yet, this is the sound of Jeff Caudill in his natural environment and at the top of his game.
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“If you’re a fan of American bands such as The Replacements, REM and The Lemonheads, you’ll find something here for you” – Whisperin’ and Hollerin’

“Some of our best singer-songwriters come from long-standing rock bands, Caudill’s career is just starting” – Mean Street Magazine

"Caudill comes through with winning, heart-on-sleeve urgency and sincerity" – Los Angeles Times

“Caudill's trump-card is his ability to craft instantly memorable songs that swing with an outrageously catchy hook.” – Joyzine

“The second coming of [Michael] Stipe.” – San Diego Troubadour

“He just takes a simple song, gives it the right vocal treatment, leaves out the superfluous and serves up a fine performance time after time.” – Americana U.K.
Venue Information:
Resident
428 S Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90013
http://www.residentdtla.com/