The great Dan Stuart is among us again. The voice of Green On Red and one half of the fabled bar band Danny and Dusty Stuart barnstormed and howled his way into our consciousness as part of the burgeoning California post punk roots movement back in the eighties. A bunch of young bucks, Green On Red crawled from Tucson to L. A. and released a crop of albums that owed as much to the sixties sound of The Seeds as it did to Hank Williams. Always teetering on the edge they fell over it when the band imploded with Stuart keeping a low profile for several years afterwards. Successful reunions of Green On Red and Danny and Dusty around 2006-7 saw him in fine fettle but again he retired from sight until now. Teaming up with Sacri Cuori who are very simpatico Stuart returns in the guise of Marlowe Billings on his latest release. Delivering a set of songs that may be autobiographical (although as with much of his mythology it’s cloaked in layers of mystery) his voice remains strained and compelling, second only to Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Who is Marlowe Billings and what is his relationship with the mysterious author of the Treasure of The Sierra Madre? We don’t know but Dan was kind enough to take the time to respond by email to a couple of questions we threw his way just before his Glasgow gig..
So who is Marlowe Billings and where do you fit in?
Me and Marlowe Billings? We try to accommodate one another, although we have competing narratives. He thinks he’s smarter than me… there’s a book as well with the same title for those that still can read. I’m lucky now cause I get to play a lot with a great band (Sacri Cuori) but I’m not actually in one. Bands are replacements for one’s family of origin which seldom are happy… bands are often worse.
What are your biggest influences and your most significant moment?
I could reply with a laundry list of the agreed upon canon but really “Blonde on Blonde” ain’t that big of a deal… or “Pet Sounds” for that matter. Of course I love Dylan and Brian but musicians are generally completely full of shit when it comes to what’s “good” or “bad”. Jimmy Cliff recently told an interviewer that he had been listening to Katy Perry… I thought that was hilarious. As for a significant moment, surviving when my brain broke…
What venue/gig do you most want to play?
The old places I used to play filled with sullen kids who hate the world. Now I have to play some roots venue with clean bathrooms of all things. How the mighty have fallen…
What is your favourite song you have written?
There’s a couple I’m proud of… Vivian Girls covering “Sixteen Ways” was a special treat.
What does the next six months have in store for you?
Playing Europe this fall, enjoying life and writing in Oaxaca, a west coast swing in the USA, maybe I’ll even get laid…
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Either walking the streets of San Felipe Del Agua or resting in its panteón… whatever Juquila decides.
Any recent sounds you might want to recommend that would gladden our ears?
Both my old compadre Chuck Prophet and his buddy John Murry have released great records recently… Sacri Cuori has a record coming out next month called “Rosario” that is fantastic. “Venice Dawn” by Adrian Younge is intriguing…
And intriguing is one way of describing The Deliverance Of Marlowe Billings, Dan’s new album. Backed by the Italian band Sacri Cuori Stuart is in fine voice while the songs are for the most part superb with a couple of killers inside. I’ve reviewed the album at Americana UK while you can check out Dan’s website