With an album cover that reminds us all of a certain age that we are all declining in some way. An aging rock star stares bemusedly away from the camera overseen by the fearsome clowns of our past looking over his shoulder.
At one time we were all fierce rock and roll warriors blazing a trail of glory through the seedy firmament of back street clubs and festivals. Time has however caught up with us with spreading waistlines and the creeping tiredness that happens when we contemplate standing in a sweaty club to listen to new music for hours. My friend and I laugh at the idea of having become the creepy guys swaying at the back to the latest band on the stage, able to appreciate but not truly immerse ourselves in the experience that at times seems exclusively reserved for the youthful. We have become what we rebelled against, the establishment. We can no longer join the union because we are now the man.
Dan Stuart in 2012 crawled out of his own creeping malaise to start making records again. He was inspired by the pain of a lost love and the thought of what that means to an older man. He followed it up with Marlowe’s Revenge in 2016. There is still the anger of loss but now the darkness of retribution. It’s a beautiful powerful angry fuck you of an album. It’s a wailing album that manages not to be self pitying, it’s like the conversation you may have at the bar with a friend years after the divorce, and six shots into the night. He is backed by the Twin Tones a young band of Mexican musicians that bring back bite and sneer to his music. He is the old uncle having a pull on the whiskey bottle and a bong hit before stepping unsteadily to the stage to show the young bucks how it was done back in the punk rock days.
It is not many an ex-punk that can muster a good record never mind several. Stuart has never been concerned about his image or people liking him. He describes himself in his fake memoir as:
“I’m not a particularly nice person and if you have to worry about whether you like me or not then we’re both wasting our time.”
And on songwriting:
“Songwriting is easy.
Don’t pick up that shitty old guitar until you have to. Be fucked up but with the clarity of a monk. Fear noodling and embrace the obvious. Keep the windows open, it’s just notes and shit.”
I’ve made it to page 25 and there is a quotable moment on every page, I may be a bit of a fan of Dan and his alter ego Marlowe Billings.