Friday, April 23, 2010

D&T: Good news, bad news

Good news, bad news on the Death & Taxes front. The bad news first: The band is pretty much no more. No big surprises there, seeing how frontman Jeff Morris moved a thousand miles away from bandmates Mike Savitkas and Steve Toland about a year ago, making rehearsal, recording and a regular schedule, um, rather difficult. In fact, they were supposed to have played their last live show ever last week at the Brickhouse in Dover, N.H. Which we missed, unfortunately. Good news is that fans will be given a second — and maybe a third — chance to say their farewells. “Looking at booking one or two last shows in Boston and Dover by end of July,” Morse says, “then we will have to call it a day.” They’ll announce dates when they’re confirmed. Check out their Facebook page for details.

More good news is that they’ll be putting out a couple of songs. The first is a remastered version of the old Bruisers song “40 Miles of Bad Road,” which kicked off D&T’s “Back Alley of Broken Dreams,” the band’s 2005 demo. Not many of these puppies around any more — only 50 copies were made. They were given away to fans (and the press deadbeats, ‘natch) at local shows. It’s a completely different take from the original, which Morris wrote for the Bruisers’ “Up in Flames” album.  The second is a raw live track of D&T covering Hendrix’s “Roomful of Mirrors,” then sliding into the Bruisers’ “Gates of Hell.” Morris originally recorded “Roomful” for “The October Tapes,” a Zuni Fetish Experiment EP, which was released as that band morphed into Death & Taxes. The track, recorded last year at Gino’s in Portland, has an almost country opening. Definitely worth a listen.

Morris is also featured in ”Mutes in the Steeple: Stories from the Newburyport Music Scene,” a new film by Port native Joshua Pritchard. The film, which looks at the Port DIY scene back in the 1990s, debuts May 15 at the Burst & Bloom Festival at Buoy Gallery, 2 Government St., Kittery, Maine. 


Monday, April 5, 2010

Detouring into reggae

You never know, exactly, what you’re going to get when Gary Shane and the Detour pulls into town. The band, which scored several big hits in the power pop days of those lazy, crazy eighties, is a, um, constantly shifting musical paradigm propelled by a virtual musical kaleidoscope of local talent. So it should be no big surprise to anyone to see a couple of unfamiliar names on the roster for the Return of Gary Shane and the Detour show coming up at Stone Soup Cafe, an Ipswich venue that has seen more than its share of (re)incarnations. This time out, Shane will be backed up by Granite State guitarist Dennis Monroe, who has been a constant in the post-2000 revival of the band; drummer Peter Gordon, bassist Eric Bistany and Richard Pierce on harmonica. They’ll be doing “the same old rock and roll thing,” says Shane — playing hits like the reggae-tinged “Shadow World” and “Johnny’s Coaltrain,” both of which made huge splashes on local and national charts back in the day.

But the interesting thing about the show, which is being billed as “The Return of Gary Shane and the Detour,” is the fact that the Detour, in fact, is the opening act. At some point, and it’s still a little loosey-goosey at this point, the Detour will shift gears — and personalities — and become Imojah and the Skylight Band. That will happen just as soon as Jamaica-born singer Wade Dyce shows up. He’s the real deal, a singer who made his bones, musically, on the island with Cultural Roots, which released four albums in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Shane met Wade, now a Salem resident, in the Shadow World of real life, in the hallways of North Shore Community College — actually singing him a tune in the hallway — and “got a real education” and a “burning yearning” for reggae from him. Since then, they’ve done a couple of benefit concerts for Haiti relief efforts, at Great Scotts, in Allston and at Blackburn Performing Arts, and a fundraiser for Whole Foods.

Expect the old Luciano song “Sweep over my Soul,” expect a cover of the Road Apples hit “Let’s Live Together.” After that, well, who knows? The concert starts at 8 p.m. April 17 at Stone Soup Cafe, 141 High St., Ipswich. For more information, call 978.356.4222.