Michael Des Barres – Carnaby Street (2012)

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Michael Des Barres has seen a lot of rock ‘n’ roll highway pass by. But he’s still itching to explore new sideroads.

A veteran of bands that included Tony Kaye of Yes, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Nigel Harrison of Blondie and Tony Sales of Todd Rundgren and Tin Machine fame, Des Barres’s narrative goes back some four decades. Ever adaptive, he later fronted the touring edition of the Power Station, a Duran Duran/Chic spinoff from the mid-1980s, and even penned a No. 1 new wave hit for Animotion, called “Obsession.”

Yet Carnaby Street — due July 10, 2012, from Gonzo MultiMedia — is not hampered by any longing looks back. Instead, he’s returned fit, forceful and full of piss and vinegar amid bright blasts of gruff, old-school white blues.

Of course, the B3-soaked, first-take, race-record-inflected sounds on Carnaby Street are, in some ways, as “new” sounding as they can be in these days of pre-fab auto-tunery. But it wouldn’t be enough if Des Barres wasn’t smartly building upon those roots, and keeping his gaze steadily fixed on the future. While others of his vintage have turned to the gauzy safety of lounge music, Des Barres has a steel-toed boot absolutely flooring it. Carnaby Street serves up smart, below-the-waist groovers where there’s no irony, no winking — and no apologizing.

Tough, gravel-rough and honest, this is. And a template for growing old without growing soft, too.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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  • HEY NICK MICHAEL DES BARRES HERE.I WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR REVIEW OF OUR MUSIC.WE ARE SO PLEASED THAT YOU HAVE DESCRIBED US THE WAY WE DESCRIBE OURSELVES!….ROCK AND ROLL, IT SEEMS, NEEDS SOME BALLS,GROOVE AND JOY TO SWIVEL AND GRIND ONCE AGAIN, SINCERELY..MDB/BAND

    • Nick DeRiso

      “Balls, groove … and joy.” You should write record reviews, Mr. Des Barres. I couldn’t have (hell, I didn’t) say it better!

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