Jed Davis
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Jed Davis

Band Alternative Pop


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"I Am Jed Davis!"

On his latest release, simply entitled I Am Jed Davis!, New Yorker Jed Davis sounds quite perky and uninhibited for a guy who's been playing in bands and building up solo material since the early '90s. Because of his exclamatory vocals and kiddishly clever wordplay, Davis could almost be mistaken for a comedy singer-songwriter. Granted, he's cheery and odd enough to have been covered by Wesley Willis and Daniel Johnston, but tunes like "I Hate All The People At My Party" and "For A Girl In Promotions" yearn for a more mature feel under the mildly silly, wry shtick. - The Onion AV Club

""And Now For Something Completely Different...""

"And Now For Something Completely Different - Arturo Vega turned me onto Jed Davis. He's a very unique artist....His songs are so lyrically clever and extremely off-beat, outrageous, musically infectious, diverse, and completely, adventurously refreshing - a very sick man with a truly warped and gifted imagination, a character. I think he's brilliant." - Joey Ramone - Joey Ramone

"Jed Davis: We're All Going to Jail!"

Jed Davis premiered many of We're All Going to Jail!'s 22 songs a few years back during his regular three-hour-long performance marathons at Mother Earth's Café. He recorded some three albums' worth of his Mother Earth's material at Latham's Scarlet East Studio, but shelved it all when his band Hanslick Rebellion began to make promising noises in the regional music scene. Fast forward to 1997: both Hanslick Rebellion and college behind him, Davis left SUNY Albany for Long Island (how could he tell the difference?) and finally decided to polish off the first can of his vintage Albany material for public consumption.

So you want the good news or the bad news first? Good news? Okay, these songs were gems to start with - and they've aged brilliantly. Davis is a psychotically clever wordsmith and conceptualist who creates some of the most entertaining and thought-provoking lyrics you're ever likely to hear, then warbles them charmingly over deliciously catchy, keyboard-based pop tunes. Think late King Missile (after Chris Xefos had started providing the organ magic and John S. Hall had actually figured out how to sing) - then remove all of that band's arch post-anti-folk smugness and you'll have the general Jed Davis picture. It's a nice one, huh?

Oh, and the bad news? Just the We're All Going to Jail! makes it very clear that the local music scene lost a big one when we allowed Jed Davis to head downstream on the Hudson. So have your nets and gill-hooks ready next time he visits, okay? - Metroland, Albany, NY

"Hey, Ho, We Miss You So"

The day Joey Ramone died, Jed Davis needed to walk down the Bowery to sort through his feelings about his punk rock hero.

"I was so down,” said Davis, lead singer for the band Collider. "It was raining out, a really, crappy night. I had just missed the F train home, so I walked around the neighborhood for hours. The city seemed different. I realized the city was going to be different without him.”

By the time Davis had finished walking around the East Village, he had finished a song about Ramone called "The Bowery Electric,” with such lines as, "I still get lost in thoughts of you/And in those moments, I know what to do/I put my headphones on/And you are never really gone.”

Davis -- like the millions of fans who mourned the death of Forest Hills native Jeffrey Hyman on April 15, 2001, of lymphoma -- felt a need to continue Ramone's legacy of championing the underdog and the punk rock aesthetic that music belonged to the fans. He never thought he would have such a large role in keeping Ramone's spirit alive.

However, Sunday night, Davis will debut "The Bowery Electric” at CBGB, as part of a celebration of what would have been Ramone's 51st birthday, and he will be backed by Tommy .Ramone, Marky Ramone, CJ Ramone and longtime Ramones producer Daniel Rey.

"I'm a little nervous about it,” Davis said. "I just want everybody to be happy. I want to put on a show that Joey would've liked. I want to be sure it is presented in the most appropriate way. This whole thing is amazing.”

For Davis, it's like a dream come true.

"The Ramones were a huge influence on my entire youth growing up in Farmingdale,” he said. "To go from being a fan -- and I was a hardcore fan, not like a passing fan of a pop thing that goes dancing across the radar screen -- to seeing your idol get into your real life, making good things happen for you is just unbelievable.”

Davis had met Ramone at a party in 1999 and Ramone took an interest in Collider. Ramone even introduced Davis to Rey, who is producing Collider's new album. "We had played some shows with him and he had been very cool to us,” Davis said. "He had kind of taken us under his wing.”

After he wrote "The Bowery Electric,” Davis thought Collider could record it, so he played it for Rey. This touched off a chain of events that still hasn't ended.

Rey played the song for Arturo Vega, the Ramones' longtime artistic director, who loved it. He played the song for CJ Ramone, who also loved it.

"CJ asked me, ‘What do you want to do with that?' and I said I would probably do it for the Collider album and he got this look of disappointment on his face,” Davis said. "He said I should do it with him and Marky and Tommy.”

In March, Davis recorded the song with the three former Ramones, which was the first time CJ and Tommy ever played together and the first time Tommy and Marky ever recorded together. The song will be released as a single this summer, with the B-side to be chosen from the tributes that 10 bands also will perform at the birthday celebration. - Newsday, NY

"Jed Davis Wastes 8 Years Of His Life For Your Listening Pleasure"

With prior knowledge of his work due my attendance at a number of his live appearances with his band Collider, I finally got around to reviewing the massive musical chronicle of Mr. Jed Davis. A live performer of great power and personal magnetism, I was wondering how this set of songs would translate onto the CD/home listening without the spectacle of a live performance.

As with Collider, a band that is extremely difficult to pin down musically (especially when trying to describe with words or that which has very few parallels to compare them to) and that this CD features 23 songs! This testimonial starts off with a rip-roaring song entitled "Grub" which was recorded live and will give the listener what to expect from Jed Davis should they be that lucky to see him perform live. A fast, take-no-prisoners style is what the listener is being primed for by the number. An excellent track to open an excellent series of musical and philosophical illuminations from this very talented and creative soul.

Track number two, "Ground The Paper Planes," features interesting arrangements and orchestration as well as being a super kick-ass song! "The Shower" is an interesting and very enjoyable little number with a novel little delivery that has to be heard to be appreciated. The use of accordion is immediately reminiscent of They Might Be Giants or even Weird Al Yankovic but it is a nice, poignant song that will speak volumes to any male from Long Island who doesn't belong to the affluent middle to upper classes that permeate our island homeland.

The fourth track, "Step on Me," is more conventional yet satisfying. I was wondering what girl Mr. Davis wrote this number about. This features some real nice keyboard work reminiscent of the more experimental work of King Crimson or ELP. "Starlet" is another song that has great lyric quality. It is also recorded live.

"Ready for the World" is about the next girl and the wondering that goes with it. At least the protagonist is looking forward and not allowing his past to haunt him. It also sounds like it could be easily transformed into children's nursery rhyme, adding to its hopeful outlook with its little harpsichord melody tying the song together.

Track seven is a definite homage to the heavy keyboard and experimental bands like Klaatu, or early Yes or even early Boston outtakes. Powerful and unforgiving, "Symbiosis" is filled with excellent guitar and a hard-driving tempo.

"Seven and the Ragged Tiger" is a remarkable old time sounding rock-and-roller that Jed uses to take us back to his youth. Number nine, "Magnetic North," is another song that features an experimental, almost Middle Eastern or Asian-style tempo permeated with great lyrics delivered so fast you'll have to listen twice! But it is worth it.

"Little Tumors" follows and is a song that could fit our associate Mr. Timmins at Aural Island very well. "Leave Your Boyfriend" is self-explanatory in nature. It is recorded live so there shouldn't be much guessing when you listen to it what Mr. Davis is like live.

"Deep Deep Down," track number twelve for those counting, is another song driven by a strong lyric sense. When the guitar enters it might be likened to early Rush, sans the sci-fi element, or Deep Purple. This is a strong song with great execution and highlighting the ample writing talent once again.

The lengthily entitled "My Brother's on a One-Way Flight to Heaven" follows with a tragic/funny story and will make one wonder if there was an aircraft disaster in the past of Mr. Jed Davis. Filled with a live sounding background, and not unlike a song from church, Mr. Davis weaves a funny and sad tale revolving around the above-mentioned and unfortunate brother with the stolen frequent flyer miles.

"We Wait & We Wait" follows and is another song recorded live. Featuring some intricate guitar as well as percussion, this song is another bittersweet number. "Enlightenment" is the next track and features a very personal homage to his hometown. (Hell, there must be a Main and Conklin in every town on this island!)

Track number sixteen is a brilliant piece entitled "Only a Woman." With a hard-driving beat and a very rich tapestry of keyboard and guitar that are at times funky, from the very beginning this song starts the feet tapping. (What are those sounds? They are cool!) Along with these fantastic sounds is a very interesting series of arrangements including a kick ass guitar solo. If there is a best song on the CD this is it! Reminding this reviewer instantly of something found on Led Zeppelin's highly-polished Physical Graffiti album; this is a winner of the highest quality. "Fucking high-quality stuff!"

"Piece of Crap" follows but is hardly that, more like a brilliant bit of philosophy with some music thrown in.

Track number eighteen is "Pal." This song has a different feel and describes about every straight fourth guy out there that doesn't "hire some love" every once in a while. Yeah, Jed, give us some bitterness! "Silhouettes" follows and Jed Davis can do more than rock.

Following the ode to 1950's street-corner rock and roll, "Conform" brings us back to more modern music. If this track has a serious fault is the low recording levels. However, it is a good rock song. "The Knowing Ones" is a soulful little piano song about the loss of personal past identity. It is another bittersweet and poignant song from the mind of a genius.

"It's Always Christmas in Siberia" is the next-to-last song, and another song that draws from the heavy keyboard bands from the past. But make no mistake, this isn't a dinosaur rock song. No, this is something different, like its creator. This is a new-evolved creature taking shape that defies description. Bold, brash, hard and damn good can only weakly describe this song and the style of Jed Davis in general.

The final (and 23rd) song is entitled "Despite." If it has a fault it is the wrong song to end this body of work, with it's all too abrupt ending. A ballad or an ass-kicker would have been better. However, this song features an excellent delivery, competent guitar and arrangements.

All in all, the 8-year aural chronicle of Mr. Jed Davis highlights his ample songwriting ability as well as his ample skills as a vocalist as well as master of the keys. Of the numerous highlights on this jewel, "Only a Woman," "Starlet," "It's Always Christmas in Siberia," and the tragic and funny revival-tent tune "My Brother's on a One-Way Flight to Heaven" are those that standout in the mind of this reviewer. Those experimental, brilliantly arranged, confusing, or comical numbers hit the spot. Jed Davis weaves an intricate tapestry of songs that encapsulate these highlighted 8 years of his life with a wry wit. That he can do so and maintain such quality in song as well as in verse, and fit it all on a single CD, is outstanding. That he can also maintain the quality in his arrangements and by adding some material recorded live he gives the listener a taste of what the live Jed Davis is like. This is a brilliant move, a veritable smorgasbord of Jed Davis. And like a good meal, Jed Davis will leave you feeling very satisfied. A very, very strong B+ for these 8 years and my strong buy it recommendation. Man, I wish it came with a lyric sheet! Bravo Jed Davis! - Aural Fix, Long Island, NY


I Am Jed Davis! (solo, 2009)
Ramones: The Family Tree (with The Ramones, 2008)
The Deli Of Life (with The Hanslick Rebellion, 2007)
the rebellion is here. (with The Hanslick Rebellion, 2007)
WCYF (with Collider, 2003)
Talked Out (solo, 2001)
Jed Davis Wastes 8 Years Of His Life For Your Listening Pleasure (solo, 2000)
Physics (with Collider, 1999)
Blowing Shit Up (with Collider, 1998)
We're All Going To Jail! (solo, 1997)



“I can see what Jed Davis was trying to say to me.”

So ad-libs Daniel Johnston during his cover of Jed’s “Enlightenment.”

What Johnston sees, what Jed shows through his immense catalog of songs, is: Life is like passion fruit, its bitterness inseparable from sweetness. To have joy and love you must also have loneliness; but with loneliness you will also have joy and love.

Jed began recording demos and giving them away at solo coffeehouse performances in the mid-1990s. The demo cassettes traveled far and wide, finding their way into the hands of artists like Johnston, King Missile, Anal C*nt, Agnostic Front and Brian Dewan, all of whom recorded covers of Jed's tunes.

Moving to New York City, Jed put out two albums of techno-punk as programmer for the Electroclash-pioneering band Collider. He also began to collaborate with the legends of the punk rock scene, particularly the Ramones. Joey Ramone invited Jed to open for him at his final CBGB performance; when Jed wrote "The Bowery Electric" in posthumous tribute to Joey, the surviving Ramones reunited to record it as a single and perform it live.

After releasing two albums as a member of The Hanslick Rebellion (whose video for the song "You Are Boring The Shit Out Of Me" was a YouTube smash - and the Jed-penned guitar hook from that tune was called "The years most undeniable riff" by Spin magazine), Jed has returned to solo duty. His latest album, "The Cutting Room Floor", was executive produced by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT) and mixed by Fridmann and Tony Doogan (Belle and Sebastian, Super Furry Animals).

On the live front, Jed has performed with the Ramones, and as keyboardist for both Jessica Simpson and the Deuce Project. He has comfortably opened for The Misfits, A Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth, The Strokes, Joey Ramone, Ronnie Spector, Living Colour, and Blondie. In 2008, Jed and Michael Bassett embarked on the month-long "Soft Verges" tour, each taking a solo acoustic set at 20-plus stops throughout the American Northeast and Midwest and the south of England. And in the summer of 2009, Jed put together a top-notch live band (guitarist Reeves Gabrels, bassist Mike Keaney and drummer Matt Johnson) to begin playing out in earnest.