Meet…Dan London – Boston Gumbo

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From John, Paul, Ringo and George, to Paul, Gene, Ace, and Peter, it’s always been common for musicians in a band to head out on their own and record solo records. Whether it’s to record songs that may not fit with the musical style of the band, or to have control over the process, or maybe it’s just to see if they can – it is sometimes with varying results. By night Dan London is the bassist for Boston Americana/Pop/Indie darlings The Longwalls, a band with quite the lineage in the Beantown scene. The Longwalls also have a new record coming out in March, but that’s another post – we’re here to talk about Dan’s kick at the solo record can.

By day Dan cooks a mean gumbo, drinks bourbon and is a singer-songwriter. I may have those mixed up he may not drink bourbon and cook by day, but either way he’s a busy man. Released last year – I Will Take You Back, is a strong collection of mid-tempo rock with singer-songwriter ballads scattered throughout. I don’t know if it’s just the Boston connection, but I sense Dan’s musical gumbo recipe has hints of Buffalo Tom – particularly on the title track – and is seasoned with a tablespoon of Bob Mould, and dash of Vic Chesnutt served over a bed of Elvis Costello. It’s a nice recipe and you’ll go back for seconds.

We caught up with Dan to answer a few questions.

People say I sound like…

The Kinks, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello

I am originally from…

Cherry Hill, NJ – home to the nations first mall

Why did you decide to record solo material apart from your gig in The Longwalls?

Playing bass in a band with 3 other guys for years is a great experience – one that brings joy and communication and has taught me as much about playing as anything I’ve done or practiced, all that good stuff – still, writing and recording my own music and making all the decisions is another type experience – it’s fun being an auteur and if I’m being a control freak about something the only person I piss off is me – plus I write a lot of songs – if they don’t get recorded they tend to get cranky.

What music has had an influence on your sound?

Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, The big British 3: The Beatles, the Stones, the Who, plus the Kinks – Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, The Byrds, Randy Newman, Aimee Mann, Paul Simon, some country twang, some show tunes … I could go on

Tell us about the scene in Boston…

A lot of good bands, but the scene I know best is playing in a band with three other great songwriters – which is scene onto itself.

How does the city, or landscape influence your sound?

Living in a condo I’ve been drifting towards more acoustic based music because I can’t turn up my guitar amps

What influences you lyrically?

Besides the writers I mentioned – crime novels – Elmore Leonard and George Pelecanos, Bill Murray movies, Eddie Murphy’s 1st 3 movies, Scorsese and De Niro through Casino, Seinfeld, The Wire, the film version of West Side Story, the Godfather, early Chevy Chase movies

My most memorable gig ever was…

The Longwalls gig in NYC at the Bowery Electric as part of the Outlaw Roadshow, great gig, great energy, great weekend altogether

If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….

NYC, LA, or London – 1966-1968

Growing up, at home I listened to…

Dylan, Lou Reed, Grateful Dead, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, David Bowie

What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…

Freeway by Aimee Mann, Peace Like A River – Paul Simon, Nighttime by Josh Rouse, Making Pies – Patty Griffin, Outfit – Drive-By Truckers, Crowded in the Wings – The Jayhawks

If you could open for any band/artist right now who would that be and why?

Wilco – their crowd would like me and even if they didn’t – those guys can draw!

When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…

In the kitchen cooking, drinking bourbon, listening to Don Winslow audiobooks

The one thing I want you to remember while you’re listening to my music…

Dig yourself

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Stephen

Domestic now, but spent early to late 80s playing drums in a hair metal band in Toronto. Since then I've lost the hair and have found new ways to scratch the rock and roll itch.

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