Friday, February 6, 2015

The Damnwells original lineup records new music

Indie rock band The Damnwells will be releasing a new, self-titled album featuring the original four band members on April 14 (Rock Ridge Music).

This is the first album since 2006 to include the original band lineup: Alex Dezen [lead vocals, guitar, piano], David Chernis [lead guitar], Ted Hudson [bass] and Steven Terry [drums/percussion].

Since 2006, Dezen continued to make Damnwells records with a cast of talented musicians to fill in the blanks. But for the forthcoming self-titled album, he and his former comrades decided to “get the band back together” for real and joined producer Salim Nourallah (Old 97's) in the studio to capture the magic. They recorded at the intimate Tree Fort Studios in Austin, TX, where they sought, as Dezen says, to “capture as much live as possible.”

In early 2013, Dezen was keen to make another record. He’d spent two years writing and co-writing songs for and with others (Justin Bieber, the Dixie Chicks, Dave Grohl, Gary Louris of The Jayhawks, Jason Derulo, Christina Perri, Genevieve Schatz of Company of Thieves, and Kelly Clarkson, to name a few).

“Writing songs for other people definitely made me pretty hungry for going out and writing some songs for myself,” Dezen says. To kick-off work on a new album, for the first time in The Damnwells’ career Dezen enlisted the help of some of the other songwriters he had met and worked with. Most notable was Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, Switchfoot) with whom he wrote the song “Wreck You,” as well as “Heavy Heart,” which was co-written with Eric Rosse (Tori Amos, Sara Bareilles). Nine additional songs round out the musical offerings on The Damnwells.

“What this record represents is four guys, 15 years, a few defeats, and a ton of tiny victories,” says Dezen. “What this record means to me is more than what you hear carved into the wax. This is about coming together. It's about brotherhood. It's about making music together. We have never been more excited to share anything with the fans.” The band plans to tour in support of the forthcoming album (see tour schedule below).

The first stirrings of what would become The Damnwells occurred when Dezen and Hudson met at Bard College in 1996 and played in a string of college bands together before they both moved to Brooklyn in 2000. There they met Terry (who was fresh off a stint playing with Ryan Adams’ former band, Whiskeytown) and started jamming together. The trio began playing shows at now-defunct clubs throughout Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, sometimes with various guitar players and sometimes as a three-piece.

At the end of 2000, Chernis joined them and they christened themselves The Damnwells. The band released its first EP (PMR) in 2001, then signed to Epic Records and released Bastards of the Beat in 2003. The follow-up, Air Stereo (which was the last album featuring the original line-up), was recorded for release on Epic but was instead picked up and released by Rounder Records in 2006. “Golden Days,” the single from Air Stereo, was a top 20 Triple A charting song and was also the name of a documentary film about the band released in 2007. Over the years, The Damnwells toured relentlessly, sharing stages with The Fray, the Dixie Chicks, Old 97s, Cheap Trick, and Bob Dylan, to name a few.

The Damnwells’ next release, One Last Century (2009), featured Hudson and Dezen and was given away for free via Paste magazine’s website. It was followed by the fan-funded record, No One Listens to the Band Anymore, which came out in 2011. Dezen also released four solo EPs via Bandcamp ( in 2014 to whet fans’ appetites for the forthcoming new Damnwells music.

Tour Dates:

5/8 – New York, NY / Irving Plaza (ticket link)
5/10 – Atlanta, GA / Shaky Knees Festival (ticket link)
5/14 – St. Louis, MO / The Firebird (ticket link)
5/15 – Chicago, IL / Double Door (ticket link)
5/16 – St. Paul, MN / Turf Club (ticket link)
6/26 – Washington, DC / Howard Theatre (ticket link)
6/27 – Boston, MA / Brighton Music Hall (ticket link)

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