Levon Helm was a renowned musician during the 70’s/80’s and most famed as the drummer for The Band. This past April he died due to a long battle with cancer. Shortly after, The Mint hosted a tribute concert for Helm entitled “An L.A. Ramble for Levon” which benefited Rocking Out Cancer and featured The Muddy Reds, The Dustbowl Revival, The Driftwood Singers, and The Dead Ships all performing covers of Helm’s songs. The show inspired The Dead Ships to add a full-time bass player (Alex Moore) and recorded some of the cover songs at a studio in Malibu. Here’s “When I Go Away”:
The garage blues-rock man-duo (now trio) is finally coming home to Echo Park after a five week tour. Free Bike Valet had the chance to interview Devlin McCluskey (vocals/guitar) and Christopher Spindelilus (drums) about the journey:
“Being surprised by small cities/local scenes is my favorite part. After a month in a van that smells like sweaty man-scrotum, driving hours with no sleep to play a weeknight show in a city you only recognize from Civil War source books or civil rights footage, it’s revitalizing to find that local hip kids are hell bent on having a good time almost everywhere. Winston-Salem in particular was eye-opening; we played to a packed underground venue on a Tuesday night. The folks came out to have a good time and rock out.”
“The entire tour went above and beyond our expectations. The short leg with Two Gallants and Papa was one of the best experiences for TDS so far. Amazing venues and they have rabid fans that drive for hours to see them. And in the Midwest, people actually go out to see the entire show, so we had plenty of new people hear us.”
“Five nights around the Midwest: Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Iowa City and Omaha. I think everyone wished we were able to do more. They’re great live, their new album is epic, and there was alot of time to hang out with them. Such good people. I hope we can do it again.”
And you played the CMJ Music Marathon?
“This was our second year playing CMJ and it’s a great festival. We played an ORG showcase at Fontana’s with Yellow Red Sparks as well as The Audio Perv showcase with bands like Sea Wolf, Jjamz, Filligar, and The Tontons.”
Any troubles occur?
“In Toronto our friend recommended that we park our van in a lot patrolled by an 85 year-old holocaust survivor security guard. He was a nice guy, told us stories about spiv-ing after WWII, but he must have clocked out the second we walked around the corner because half an hour later we returned to find our van window smashed and all of our stuff strewn about the car. They only took our pedal bags (which honestly that alone wouldve bankrupted the tour) but hidden in the shadows about ten yards away we found everything in tact.”
“The entire tour was fun. Getting the van broken into in Toronto was a total buzzkill but fortunately homeless people dont care much about equipment and only want money. Thank goodness we never have any of that stuff.”