Damian Knapp

Damian Knapp

Warren, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1996 | SELF

Warren, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1996
Band Blues Industrial




"Damian Knapp-Decay In our Cities Album Review"

Damian Knapp – Decay In Our Cities


Fester Presley Records

14 songs time – 59:45

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Damian Knapp from Warren, Ohio breathes life into the blues with his energy and creativity. The perspective he takes is looking at slices of his everyday “work-a-day Johnnie” life and it’s many trials and tribulations. Working with a basic rhythm section, occasional harmonica players and background singer Damian’s over layered guitars including his awesome slide guitar skills create a full and exuberant sound. Damian wrote and/or co-wrote the twelve original songs found here. The two cover songs are given their due.

The title song “Decay In Our Cities” employs some of “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” for it’s music. This song along with much here is blues pertaining to the human condition. Political discord is the subject of “Nobody Wants To Budge”. Acoustic guitars power the upbeat sermon on peace and equality “The Answer”. “Ron’s Garage” is the perfect hanging out song. The listener is regaled with the pleasures of chillin’ with your buds against a hearty rockin’ attack.

Slide guitar and Jake Friel’s blazing harmonica battle it out on “Swimming Toward The Drain”, a song that expresses a sentiment similar to that of Freddie King’s “Going Down Slow”. “$3.99” laments the high cost living. The wickedly nervous slide guitar slashes through the ether. “Appreciate” is a positive life lesson set against sprightly acoustic twelve string and occasional electric.

The boisterous and nicely noisy “Late Night Rock And Roll Sideshow” paints an enticing picture of a kick ass good time. Pixie’s harmonica is added to this slide extravaganza. More first class slide and standard guitar on Roosevelt Skyes’s “Some Right, Some Wrong”. Damian picks up his twelve string acoustic again for the pensive “Change In Mind”. Peter Knapp delivers spoken word that includes a bit of “potty mouth” against a John Lee Hooker boogie beat on “Scary Dude”.

Watch out it’s a man on a mission “On My Way To Work”, best get outta his way pronto Tonto. The lengthy acoustic instrumental “Song For Jim” includes some Rolling Stones style “Street Fighting Man” sweeping guitar. This guy has acoustic playing covered along with his electric guitar skills. He reinvents “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, breathing new life into it with his zesty vocal and acoustic slide.

Current concerns and travails are set to solid traditional blues influences. This brother is truly shot full of blues. Nothing dull or borrowed here, just a real blues feel.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. - www.BluesBlastMagazine.com

"“Decay in Our Cities” has gotten a renovation."

“Decay in Our Cities” has gotten a renovation.

Warren blues rocker Damian Knapp originally released the album in 2010 with his five originals joined by covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Big Jack Johnson and Roosevelt Sykes.

Working on his 2018 album “Maui in the Sun” inspired Knapp to start writing again and revisit some of his past work.

“From working with Mike Talanca (at Tune Town Recording Studio in Newton Falls), I learned an ear for production,” he said. “I have a certain way I want things to sound. With the blues album, I took the five originals from the 2010 version, did some retracking and remixed it the way I thought it should sound. Then I added eight new original blues songs.

“Another goal of mine, the 2010 version was never released outside of this area. I wanted to do a full-length original blues album that I can shop.”

Knapp has dabbled in different styles over his career, but the blues have remained his primary passion. Making a blues album reflects that passion, but there are practical reasons as well. Blues fans are loyal — they go to the bars and clubs to hear the music they like and they buy CDs.

Knapp shows an affinity for a wide range of acoustic and electric blues musically, while being less of a traditionalist lyrically.

“I don’t write songs about picking cotton and riding trains. I never did that,” Knapp said. “The lyrics I write are stuff about my life here in the Rust Belt. All of these songs have Rust Belt themes. I’m more of an observational writer. I like to write about my experiences and my life. Dad (the late Peter Knapp, who was a member of the band I Don’t Care) was more of a philosophical writer. He’d write real abstract, sort of grandiose things. I just write what I see.”

“Late Night Rock and Roll Sideshow” is about growing up going to see local bar band rockers Bill Scudier and Sideshow, “$3.99” is a blues lament about rising gas prices and “Nobody Wants to Budge” (co-written with Steve Acker) is about the current political divide.

“We’re very good friends and work together, but we argue all the time about politics. We decided, ‘Why don’t we write a song about it?'”

Knapp will celebrate the new “Decay in our Cities” with a CD release show on Saturday at the Little Wing Cafe, 2750 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren. It’s also his 45th birthday. Music runs from 7 to 10 p.m. There’s no cover charge and the CD will be available for $10.

Knapp will be backed by Bob Bacha on drums and Gary Mills on bass.

“We’re going to play an all-original show, acoustic and electric,” Knapp said. “I’ll play with the band and play solo acoustic. I’ll do songs from all my records — ‘Maui in the Sun,’ everything from ‘Decay,’ even a few Machine Gun Mary songs.

“I’m going to play a lot of material acoustic that no one’s ever heard before. I have a lot of songs I’ve been compiling for the last month or so. I’m really looking forward to putting on a show Saturday that showcases my originality.”

• The Covelli Centre is partnering with Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley to create a new club seat section at the downtown Youngstown arena.

Seats in sections 204 and 205 at the Covelli Centre will be designated as the Hollywood Gaming Club Seat Section, offering premium sightlines and VIP access to arena events.

According to Jordan Ryan, director of sales at the Covelli Centre, the partnership will enable some updates at the arena while showcasing a premium seating area.

Club seats will be available at a $50 discount through April 26.

• The new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater next to the Covelli Centre announced its first four shows last week and added a fifth (Gucci Mane on June 22) this week.

It hasn’t been announced yet, but the tour schedule for hard rock act Puddle of Mudd on its website has the band at the Youngstown amp on Aug. 11. According to Pollstar’s website, Puddle of Mudd will be joined by Sponge, Saliva, Tantric and Trapt.

Sometimes bands have bad information on their websites, so nothing is official until it’s official, but there could be an announcement within in the next few weeks.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at agray@tribto day.com


TICKET - Tribune Chronicle Ticket

"NYC's Elmore Magazine CD review"

Damian Knapp
Will You Cry When I Die?
(Fester Presley Records)

By Paul Aaronson, Elmore Magazine August 2007

Every record tells a story, don’t it? This one is the story of a son and a father recording an album together. Well, not really together, as father Peter Knapp died in 2003, over two years before his son Damian could record Will You Cry… But it’s really Peter’s words and music that permeate this CD and give the record its essence. Damian channeled his father’s spirit and created something quite moving with this release. Will You Cry When I Die is a “love letter” from a son to his father.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Damian Knapp is well-versed in the blues and plays a mean slide guitar. But this album is not so much a blues record as it is a mixture of musical styles, incorporating rock, jazz, and the blues into a subtle stew. There is a lightness to this record as Peter’s song forms take shape within Damian’s production. “My Lahaina” has a bouncy, “island” feel (Hawaii, not Jamaica), and recalls a trip Damian made to visit his father, who was living in Hawaii at the time. The title track and “Heaven?” both question where we’ll end up and how we’ll get there. Heavy subject matter, yes, but not done heavy-handedly. Peter played trumpet in the band I Don’t Care, which had a deal with Buddha Records in the mid-70’s. Horns are an integral part of Will You Cry… as Damian wanted to make sure Peter’s “voice” was heard throughout the record.
And so it is really two voices we hear, a son and his father. Damian, I’m sure you “cried when (he) died” and now it’s your time to live. Live long and well, young man.

- Suzanne Cadgene

""For Pete's Sake" by Anastasia Pantsios"

Volume 14, Issue 40
Published January 24th, 2007
Locals Only
Locals Only: For Pete's Sake
Singer-guitarist Damian Knapp Pays Tribute To His Late Father
By Anastasia Pantsios

Youngstown-based singer-guitarist Damian Knapp had a stormy relationship with his father, Pete Knapp. Longtime area music fans will remember the elder Knapp as vocalist and trumpeter with I Don't Care, a respected '70s jazz/rock ensemble based in Northeast Ohio. Thirty-year-old Damian was close to his father when he was young. But when Pete Knapp moved to Hawaii in 1988, where he lived until 2001, the two became estranged.

"I went out there to visit him twice and it didn't work out," recalls Damian. "We had a special relationship when I was kid; he didn't move to Hawaii until I was 13. Five or six years later when I went to visit him, it seemed like something was awry. We talked on the phone a lot, but then we'd go a year or two without speaking. But he was always a huge musical influence on me. That's probably what was underlying me wanting to start playing music. He was real inspiring. You'd get off the phone with him and you'd want to go write a song."

By the time Pete Knapp moved back home to Ohio in 2001, Damian had already established his musical career, playing in several bands and as a solo blues musician, influenced by players like Robert Johnson. He'd released two CDs under his own name. It wasn't until the spring of 2003 that the two reconnected.

"I knew he was living here again," Damian says. "I was kind of out of sorts so I went over to see him. We hit it off right off the bat. When we got along it was great. When we didn't it was really bad. So I went over there and we started playing immediately. He had these two notebooks he wrote while he was living in Maui that were filled with songs. After two failed attempts, we were able to work together and create musically without even talking."

Starting with Pete's notebooks, the two began to create a group of songs over the summer that dealt with Pete's and Damian's troubled relationship, as well as Pete's relationships with his other two children, Josh ("Letter to Josh") and Mary ("Mary Luvy"), as well as his efforts to find some meaning in his often confused life.

Then Pete Knapp died suddenly in the fall of 2003.

"We had talked about putting a band together and recording an album," says Damian. "We made it four months and we ended up having another of our famous fights. So I had his notebooks because I was working with them at home, too. He had called to come and talk about it and bring his notebooks back and I wouldn't do it because I was pissed. I think that was on a Wednesday and I think he died Thursday."

Damian devoted the next two and a half years to putting together a CD, Will You Cry When I Die?, with the songs he and his father worked on together, an effort that bears both Damian's raw blues/folk stamp and a tinge of jazz that reflects Pete's musical identity, underscoring poignant, soul-searching lyrics.

Since releasing the disc about a year ago, Damian has continued to play his own solo shows, but he's also occasionally put together full bands to play the music he and his father created. That show will make its Cleveland debut at the Beachland Ballroom on Saturday, January 27.

"At the last minute we came together musically," says Damian. "We would have made up again. We always fought and reunited. It was really inspiring to work with my dad. He opened my ears to a lot of things. He showed me a totally different way of looking at music, how to hear it differently. He was big on "Don't be afraid.'"
- Cleveland Free Times

"‘Maui in the Sun’ shines on father-son collaboration"

Damian Knapp spent most of his life apart from his father, Peter Knapp.

The one thing they shared is a love of music. The father played flugelhorn and sang some with I Don’t Care, a local horn-driven rock / soul / jazz band that was signed to Buddha Records in the mid ’70s. The son picked up the guitar instead of the horn and has fronted numerous bands over the years, from Fester Presley to Machine Gun Mary to the Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute act Testify, and he plays out regularly as a solo act.

“Maui in the Sun,” which Damian released this month, is their one collaboration, a collection of songs they wrote together before his father’s death in 2003.

“This is not a tribute album,” Knapp said. “My dad and I spent most of our lives here together estranged. He lived in Maui from 1987 to 2001. For 14 years he never left the island. I went out twice to visit him, and it didn’t really work out either time.”

“What’s special about this music is, where we connected, where we got along, where we could enjoy each other’s company was through music, our love of writing music and listening to music. We’re both pack rat music collectors.”

This is Knapp’s second attempt to do justice to their collaboration. A decade ago he released some of this material as “Will You Cry When I Die?,” but “Maui” reworks those tracks with the help of Mike Talanca at Tune Town recording studio in Newton Falls.

“This time around, I reinterpreted the music my dad and I wrote together from my perspective as a guitarist,” he said. “I got these songs to the essence of what they sounded like when my father and I wrote them together. They have been recorded for this album from scratch, and I deleted a few from the last album.”

“Maui in the Sun” has Knapp working with some of his father’s I Don’t Care bandmates — Roger Hatfield, Frank Bayzie, Bill Scudier — as well as John Sferra, Teddy Pantelas, Jeff Bremer, Gary Lee McKimmie, Chris Trzcinski, Kevin Mazey, Matt Petrarca, Darren Thompson and Talanca.

“I had more of an idea what I wanted sonically, and Talanca — being the collaborator that he is — allowed me to have final say on what we ended up with, and that was important,” Knapp said. “By working with Talanca, I developed an ear for what I want to hear production-wise. I like a more stripped-down feel. ‘Will You Cry When I Die?’ was over-produced. This is more intimate.”

Saturday’s show at the Holiday Bar will serve as both a CD release show and a Fester Presley reunion with Knapp playing with Tommy Bumbico, Gary Mills and Bob Bacha. The CD is available at Knapp’s gigs and the album is available as a digital download at www.cdbaby.com.

“Maui in the Sun” is the first of several CDs that Knapp could release before the end of the year. Knapp’s aunt gave him a cassette of his father reading some of his poetry in Maui. He and Talanca mixed those spoken word elements with instrumentals from I Don’t Care’s demo recordings. He also wants to release the I Don’t Care demos, which were recorded around 1974.

“These demos are what landed them their record deal,” Knapp said. “It’s more jazz oriented. It’s looser, more funk and R&B-influenced.”

Knapp, 43, also is revisiting his own catalog. “Decay in Our Cities,” released in 2010, has been remastered, and the five blues covers that made up the second half of the disc have been replaced by five new blues rock originals. He re-recorded all of the vocals for his Machine Gun Mary CD and wants to re-release that as well. He wants to focus attention on “Maui in the Sun” now, but all of those projects essentially are finished.

“The desire to bring my dad’s music back to life, that got me in the mood to start writing and recording again,” Knapp said. “It was a combination of my dad inspiring me again and Talanca. I met the right engineer, and we just started getting into all of this stuff.” - The Ticket

"Father’s death becomes his son’s muse"

Columbus, Ohio
by Karen E. Graves

Billed as a blues album, Damian Knapp’s new effort, Will You Cry When I Die?, is actually an unexpectedly eclectic blend of rootsy Americana, colorful hippie-ish jams and subtle blues.

It’s also a posthumous collaboration between Damian and his late father, Peter. A musician who rose to some level of fame in the ‘70s, Peter left behind notebooks of lyrics and song ideas that Damian has fleshed out for this album.

The pair had been estranged but reconciled shortly before Peter’s death. That troubled relationship dominates the album. The majority of the lyrics deal with regret and various forms of running away—from self, religion or family.

Taking a deeper meaning since Peter’s death, the album is peppered with questions about heaven and the afterlife.

Fortunately, those questions are approached with a sense of humor that keeps the album from being relentlessly depressing.

“What happens when we die?/ I sure hope I can fly/ We’ll need a way to get around/ And surely something to eat/ But don’t tell me it won’t feel funny not having any feet,” sings Damian on “Heaven.”

Even with its weighty title, “Will You Cry When I Die?” isn’t a traditional blues number. Lightly funky with talky vocals and subtle melodies, the song—and much of the album—is reminiscent of the laidback sounds of Jack Johnson.

Backed by guitars, drums, trumpet, trombone, piano and saxophone, Damian flirts with acoustic pop, folk and Sublime-esque reggae—but doesn’t settle into a proper blues riff until track six’s predictable boogie, “Pumpkin Boy.”

For the most part, the album is solid but overdone. Too many layers make the album sound sterile instead of vital. Damian is an able singer and player, but everything feels so restrained that it comes up flat.

Maybe he spent too much time second-guessing his musical instincts or trying to guess what his father would’ve wanted the album to sound like.

Either way, it’s an intense, personal album that serves as a moving final chapter for Peter—and a promising offering from Damian.
- The Other Paper

"Will You Cry When I Die? CD Review"

Peter Knapp was a composer and trumpet player interested in jazz. His son Damian, also a musician, was more influenced by the blues and roots rock. 'Will You Cry When I Die' is an unusual collaboration of these two estranged artists... The end result is a diverse blend of styles with a heavy dose of blues and horns. The songs are colorful and vibrant. Damian has an earthy, smokey voice and brings a certain swagger to each song along with some smoking guitar licks... Damian Knapp has done his daddy proud with 'Will You Cry When I Die?'- a CD full of life and history! Kweevak Featured Artist Issue#36 - Kweevak Music Magazine

"Will You Cry When I Die? CD Review"

The incredible story of Peter and Damian Knapp transforms Will You Cry When I Die? from just an aurally pleasing album, to an album that takes the listener on a head trip... The pair reunited in 2003 and despite a continued trying relationship, began working on an album together using Peter's reclusive lyrics. Not four months later, Peter Knapp unexpectedly passed. Hearing Damian sing his father's words on Will You Cry When I Die? makes the messages even more powerful... Highly recommended for those who enjoy psychoanalyzing lyrics or those who just enjoy well-crafted indie music. - Reviewyou.com by Kelly O' Neil

"Father, son meet again on area man's new release"

Peter Knapp always wanted to make an album with his son. That dream finally comes true, nearly two years after his death.

Damian Knapp will perform with a seven-piece band at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Horseshoe Bar in downtown Warren to celebrate the release of "Will You Cry When I Die?" a songwriting collaboration between father and son.

Peter Knapp played in several area bands in the 60's and 70's, most notably I Don't Care, which was signed to Buddha Records in the mid-70's and shared the bill with such acts as Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, Dr. John and King Crimson.

His son Damian also is a regular player on the local bar circuit, fronting such bands as Fester Presley and Machine Gun Mary and performing as a solo artist.

"Ever since I can remember, he wanted to make an album with me," Damian said. "He talked about it first when I was a little kid, before I was even a musician."

But the father and son had an estranged relationship. Peter Knapp dropped out of the music business and moved to Hawaii, where he lived from 1988 to 2001. Damian only visited him a couple of times there, and they frequently went months, sometimes years, not communicating.

"He wasn't the easiest guy to get along with," Damian said. "He was hard on those around him, but I learned by reading these notebooks that he was harder on himself."

Those notebooks helped bring the two together. When Damian finally went to see his father in 2003 after he returned from Hawaii, Peter showed him the composition books he filled with lyrics and musical ideas, even though he no longer was performing.

Those notebooks became the genesis of "Will You Cry When I Die?"

"Being a trumpet player, he was the guy with the melodies," Damian said. "I had my guitar and I would work with him, arranging and shaping the lyrics. I'd take a part from one song and put it with another. He could be writing about something meaningless, and then there would be this really deep thing in the middle of all of it."

Damian's music has leaned more toward blues, roots rock and folk in the past, but working with his father encouraged him to explore a more jazz-oriented approach.

He also played more slide guitar, trying to mimic the sound of a trumpet on the stringed instrument.

"He wasn't impressed with my old guitar acrobatics," Damian said. "He said, 'I'd rather see you be a s----y artist than a good copycat.'"

The two worked on the songs throughout the summer and finished writing before Knapp died Oct. 16, 2003, at age 54.

"Staying true to our routine, we were in a tift when he passed away," Damian said. "That's why I still have his notebooks with me. We had been arguing for a couple of weeks. He wanted me to bring the notebooks back to him, and I wouldn't do it."

His father's other possessions were taken by others after his death, so the notebooks are all Damian has.

"I think it was fate," he said.

Damian worked on the songs over 18 months marked by false starts and incompatible musical combinations, but he said the right musicians seemed to come together over the last six months.

Musicians on the record who will be performing with him Saturday include: Teddy Pantelas, bass; Darren Thompson, piano; Bob Bacha, drums; Christina Veneron, trombone and backing vocals; Matt Petrarca, rhythm guitar; and Jake Wynne, trumpet, with guest appearances by Dennis Drummond on guitar and Joe Toto on bass.

"A really nice cohesive group has come together," Damian said. "The reason I'm excited about the band is because they believe it it, too. They're there because they want to be. And I can't tell you how much it means for Teddy Pantelas to come on and play bass. He knew my father and went to visit him in Maui -- I studied guitar under Teddy and having him in the band is very inspiring."

While Damian and his father has a less than ideal relationship, he was closer to his father than either of his other children, Mary Gabrielle and Josh Knapp. Two of the songs are about them, "Mary Luvy" and "Letter to Josh," and Damian dedicated the CD to them.

"Maybe someday they can get to know who their dad was by reading this and listening to it."
- By Andy Gray Warren Tribune

"CD Review"

Firstly, I love the cover of this CD. It is simple yet makes a point. This is a log or diary of Damian Knapp’s deceased father (who wrote many of the lyrics on this album before he died suddenly) with a picture of him as a baby. The irony of the title right above the picture Will You Cry When I Die? Makes you start thinking before you give the CD a spin.

Knapp’s appearance reminds me of John Belushi. He looks like he has the Blues Brothers swagger and attitude and when you listen to his music you can actually hear it at times, its just a quite a bit more understated and less animated than that style of music. There are 11 examples of his music and stories on this CD. Knapp’s vocal style creates a low-key smoky nightclub blues honky atmosphere combined with a rootsy Americana feel, kind of like a much smoother Tom Waits if you will. He also plays some fine licks on the six-string, both the acoustic and slide. This is not flat out blues, it is more blues influenced with a combination of the aforementioned genres.

Some of the best tracks are the opener, which is the title track. It sets a precedence and energy for the entire session. It is the theme of the entire project and so important that a more laid back reprise closes out the set. One of the best blues numbers is “Pumpkin Boy,” which features some dandy slide licks punctuated by horns with plenty of soul and funk. “My Lahania” has some reggae riffs that lead the song into a blues-rock foray with some interesting lyrical content that mentions how he never liked Jimmy Buffet for some reason. “Heaven?” is an introspective track and that asks the question what happens after we die. The powerful lyrical prose and lazy trumpet lure you into your own heaven and state of mind while pushing you to think about life and mortality.

I must tip my hat to Damian, this is not your typical album in the lyrical sense, and it is about real life from the perspective of an every day guy. The best part about it is that the music is great and Knapp knows how to get a song over with feeling and honesty that you can rarely find in daily life. This is good album and one that grew on me suddenly and without warning. I get it, and not only that, I really enjoy it more with each listen.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-http://www.muzikreviews.com

April 4, 2006
- Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck


Machine Gun Mary- 2001

Final Justice-2002

Hellhounds and Hot Foot Powder-2003

Will You Cry when I Die?- 2006 (Out of Print)

Live From Realsville-2017

Last Messages- The Spoken Word Art of Peter Knapp-2018

Decay In Our Cities-2019

Maui In The Sun- 2020 (TBA)



Damian Knapp writes new themes for the blues that reflect his life growing up and living in the heart of the Rustbelt of Northeast Ohio. He sings no songs about riding freight trains and picking cotton because he’s never lived those experiences. Blues Blast Magazine recently reviewed Damian's new CD ‘Decay In Our Cities’ writing, "Current concerns and travails are set to solid traditional blues influences. This brother is truly shot full of Blues. Nothing dull or borrowed here, just a real Blues feel." The tracks are a grand tour of blues styles, acoustic and electric, including Delta, Piedmont, Swing/Jazz, Chicago, and Blues-Rock slide guitar. Lyrically, Damian fuses the micro perspective with the macro. Life in the rust-belt is mixed with the social and political struggles we all face living in modern America.

For twenty-four years Damian has been sharing his music as a performer and recording artist. Elmore Magazine (NYC) said "Damian is well-versed in the blues and plays a mean slide guitar". Also, over the years he had the opportunity to play with many national recording acts including Magic Slim, Devon Allman, Tab Benoit, Tinsley Ellis, Davy Knowles, and John Hammond. Throughout his home state Damian has performed extensively at blues festivals and concert events as both a Solo Acoustic act and with his with his trio, The Damian Knapp Band Currently, he continues to write, record, and perform new material. Recently, he won the Columbus Blues Challenge in the Solo Category and is looking forward to participating at the 2020 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.