Friday, December 28, 2012

Jeremiah - 21st Century Man: You Heard It Here First

Some things arrive on my desk so early that I can't even tell you where to find it yet, but sometimes stuff is so cool that I can't wait to talk about it. Jeremiah's 21st Century Man is one of these things.

Michael Jeremiah has been to more than a few rodeos. He spent over ten years in the trenches with X Davis, a New York City band who garnered a great reputation for great rock, and the ability to not be a pain in the ass - a value that was rewarded by opening slots for everyone from The Stray Cats, Big Country, Squeeze, and many others. Rolling Stone magazine described the band as "a cross between The Clash and Cream." X Davis were last seen recording their third long player, and being produced by Bowie main man Mick Ronson:

X Davis (1984)
X DavisX Davis hailed from New York City and started out as a quartet called Honey Davis consisting Joe Loretta (vocals), Michael Jeremiah (guitar), James Damone (bass) and Bruce Michael (drums). When Ken Parente replaced Joe Loretta, it prompted a name change to X Davis. The group recorded their first single in 1980 which attracted some radio play, and hooked up with booking agency ATI who placed them as the support act for the Stray Cats. When Parente left, the band stayed a trio with Jeremiah taking over the vocals. The group later hooked up with producer Glenn Rosenstein and manager David Hemming, and before long two LPs had been released: Dancing In The Dark (1983) and Summer of Fire (1984). In June 1984, the group hired Mick Ronson to produce their next sessions.
Michael Jeremiah, to Colin Blade: 'I remember seeing Mick's huge picture on the side of a NYC building for the Slaughter on 10th Avenue album, I was moved to pursue my musical career with that album. We found out through some mutual friends that Mick was going to be available for a few weeks in April, so we reached out and struck a deal with him. We rehearsed for a week, then recorded for another week or two in a studio on 48th Street in NYC. We started five songs, but only completed four ('Stillwell Avenue', 'Crossfire', 'Trust In Me', 'In The City').'
'Mick played guitar on 'Crossfire', and acoustic guitar on 'In the City' - which he loved, and asked me twice if I wrote it. Then, on 'Stillwell Avenue' he played acoustic guitar, piano and that cute little funky flute synth during the solo. He also schooled us on drum delay. On 'Stillwell Avenue' we had Kool and the Gang's trombone and trumpet players, and Sam and Dave's sax man. I had the right people working with me! There was a cat named Gary Corbet on keyboards, still a good friend who's played with everyone.'
'It was a good run and I got to London three times. Ronno got us drunk on one trip, took us to all the good spots where he and David Bowie got into trouble. We had drinks with Bowie one night at CBGB's when he came to see us. I stay in touch with Suzi, and go to watch Lisa's band in NYC, she looks so much like her Dad. Having had Mick in my life, even for a short time will always be a lifetime treasure. 'Stillwell Avenue' is the street that I grew up on and to have Mick give it the 'All The Young Dudes' feel is still warming to my heart, I just gave that track a good listen to and feel like I'm back in the studio with Mick.'

These last few years have seen Jeremiah in front of the camera more than on the stage, as he has become an in demand film actor, appearing in over fifty movies, and television appearances.

Now he's back in the recording studio, and the results so far are exemplary. He's just sent me the first CD single, a two song sampler that seems to pre-date his '80s output stylistically, while showing the maturity of his songwriting and singing chops.

21st Century Man instantly takes us back to 1973 in the best possible way. The guitars are sublime - acoustics ring out, and the electrics are ballsy bursts of Marshall grit. The song is very today, but the sounds are straight out of the '70s world of analog sweetness. Guitarist Mike DoCampo is a taste master, whether he's playing soaring distorted slide, rhythmic fills, or his solo work which is melodic in the extreme. Produced by Tony Ungaro, who has worked alongside Bowie, Joe Jackson, Marshall Crenshaw, and many others.

Jeremiah's vocals are not unlike his acting. The minute you hear him, you feel like you know him. He's one of those rare, instantly identifiable types. The single's second track sounds like a modern combination of early Zep, and Ten Years After - but with a very modern vocal sound. DoCampo's wah soaked solos and fills will have you grinning from ear to ear, as if you're being reunited with an old friend for the first time. This might put him back in front of the microphone for a while.

Jeremiah tells me that he's got another 8-10 songs just waiting to be finished up, and if they are on par with what I'm hearing here, 2013 will have another high water mark. Great songs, killer production, and musical integrity always find their place in the world, and Jeremiah has them in spades.

Like I said, I know this is early, but this single has got me excited enough to speak confidently about the prospects for a full album.

1 comment:

Joey Rattlesnake said...
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