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First/Last-Stuart Davis

June 5, 2013

Stuart Davis
The Park House

Friday, June 7, 2013
Northside
“Stuart Davis is all about the hyphens: Writer-Director-Actor-Comedian-Songwriter. Naturally, Stu’s debut television series Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll allows him to play in myriad ways. His day job has always been rock ‘n roll. Having performed thousands of shows and released 14 albums, Davis is a pillar of the showbiz carnival. But in the past few years he’s been branching out into other forms of fun. Combining original songs, comedy sketches, and monologues, Stu’s tv show is a mosaic of mediums that suits his multi-faceted passion.”

Check out Stuart at his official Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and SoundCloud. Stuart returns to Pittsburgh to The Park House this Friday in support of his latest release, “Music for Mortals“. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?

Not 100% certain what the first album I ever bought was, but the first album I remember owning was Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Second Helping”. I also vividly recall my brother coming home with Queen, “News Of The World” and being terrified by the image. My first traumatic rock ‘n roll experience was visual, not auditory.

Your last album bought?

The last album I bought was Morrissey, “Years Of Refusal” which I have rabidly devoured over and over. About 95% of that album is perfection.

Favorite album of all time?

Probably a tie between XTC’s “Oranges & Lemons” and Rostropovich’s recording of Bach’s “Unaccompanied Cello Suites” (which I suppose is more than one album, but I’m sneaking them in). “Oranges & Lemons” had a massive impact on me as a writer – as did nearly everything released by XTC. But Rostropovich’s recordings of Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites are what I go to over and over to recharge and center myself musically. They de-frag my musical hard drive, so to speak.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

I don’t tend to think in negative terms about other people’s albums, but the honest answer to this would be one of my own recordings. I generally abhor my earlier creations, although I try to do so with compassion, because I did my best at that time. But it’s painful to hear my first four or five albums, and even after that there are lots of moments that I don’t feel came to fruition. No doubt some equivalent is occurring now as well, undetected. That just comes with working for decades as a recording artist. You change, the technology morphs, and it is inescapable you end up involved in your own ‘periods’ as well as the culture’s, etc. I have tried to grow and hopefully develop as an artist, often the results of particular stages are not satisfying in retrospect, but they were necessary and honest. Probably the first 100 songs I wrote and recorded were more about learning songwriting as a craft.

First concert attended?

I believe it was Bob Seger. Huge stadium in Minneapolis. It was loud, the sound was terrible, and all I remember is the t-shirt I bought and getting caught smoking cigarettes by my friend’s mom. So began an enduring ritual 😉

Last concert?

I think the last legit concert I saw was Eddie Kowalczyk (who is from Pittsburgh,I think?). He was great. This is awful to admit, but I rarely attend concerts. Doing 100+ concerts a year at this point, and when I’m not performing I tend to want to see work in other fields (film, theater, books). Last week I saw the Kubrick installation at LACMA and it was spectacular. Still reverberating from it.

Favorite concert ever?

Andres Segovia. I saw him perform (solo) in Minneapolis not long before he died. He was 96, and had to be helped onto stage by two handlers. Yet, as soon as he played, it was transporting. I studied classical guitar in high school and college. Experiencing this legendary figure, who had single-handedly taken the guitar from a lowly status to a place of respect and prominence in the classical world. It was unforgettable.

Least favorite concert?

Again, probably one of my own. Those rare occasions when my performance or conditions do not allow for something moving to transpire between the audience and performer – those are my least favorite. It’s much easier for me to understand or forgive a “bad” concert I’ve attended than one I’ve performed. Fortunately those nights are few and far between.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

My wife is from Pittsburgh, so I have a high regard for it 😉 I played several shows at Rosebud before it closed, and always loved it, but it’s been a while since I’ve been back, so I am excited. I remember the green rolling hills around the river, and the beautiful stretches along the river, so yeah, I have a fairly romantic conception of Pittsburgh. I am eager to return.

Thanks, Stuart. Man, I miss Rosebud. That will always remain as my favorite Pittsburgh venue ever.