Today’s Feature – August 21-22: Michael Dean Damron

August 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm (Today's Feature)

No sugar coating here, Michael Dean Damron gets to the point. He isn’t one to mince his words or play to a specific agenda – he simply tells the truth the way he sees it whether it’s about love, money, life or death. Just check out the band he fronted once upon a time, the crew called: I can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House. There you’ll find some blunt examples of Damron’s no bullshit style – “he spent the first half of this decade cutting his teeth on the finer points of delivering sermon-like epithets and exposing his own personal demons that has resulted not only in an impressive body of work but the art of truth telling, for better or worse.”

Damron already has several albums to his credit, the latest being “Bad Days Ahead,” the first record that collaborates with his new backing band, Thee Loyal Bastards. Just as the title suggests, this isn’t an album bent on cheering you up. It’s “an avalanche of brash truths and dark stories,” all describing what could eventually be the downfall of man as a whole. While his collections play to an Americana/roots/classic rock style, all Damron knows is that he gets his message across best while just sitting alone with his guitar.

As you might expect, Damron’s performances are intense, so be sure you can handle it. Don’t be surprised if he tries to loosen things up once in a while though – he may even bring a homeless harmonica player on stage with him for a set (true story!). Damron and the Bastards will be out supporting the record, so check the schedule for some shows. Get into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards (PEV): How did you first get interested and started in the music business? Was being a singer/songwriter something you always aspired to be?

Michael Dean Damron (MD): I never aspired to be in the “music biz” or be a rockstar or anything of that nature…I just loved playing guitar,drums,bass etc. I hate the business part of all this..I leave that up to others who do that thing well.

I only started writing songs about 8 years ago and am not even close to being what I hope to be.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby?

MD: From the time I was 15 it was a part of me. It saved my life. Thin Lizzy saved my life. Its never been just a hobby… there has always been a spiritual peice attached.

PEV: What kind of music were you listening to growing up? Does it differ from the kind of music you play now?

MD:I grew up in the 70s, so Skynyrd, Zep, Thin Lizzy, The Ramones, Dead Boys and The Sex Pistols. From my father I got healthy doses Of Hank, George Jones, Waylon,Willie…all the outlaw stuff.

Does it differ than my stuff now? Not really. I may write in a whisper…but I still feel Stiv Bators when I sing it.

PEV: Tell us about your take on breaking into the music business. What was it like for you to hop on stage for the first time?

MD: Again I don’t care much for the business end of music. The first time I ever played for people was at a party in high school.

My 1st band played Kiss Alive one, front to back and a bunch of Frampton. I think I sang a Bad Company song as well.

The hottest girl in school made out with me that night!! I was hooked.

PEV: Having played in both solo and group atmospheres, is there one that you find to be more challenging? Are there any down sides to each?

MD: I find more reward playing by myself with just a guitar and a voice.

Nothing to hide behind, I love the boys I play with now, but man I love going alone. I think it’s the whole “we all gotta die alone” thing. I just feel like I’m getting ready for it when I go solo.

PEV: Which artist would you like to collaborate with that you have not had a chance to? Why?

MD: I’ve pretty much toured or played with everyone I admire.I wouldn’t mind sitting down with Springsteen for a hour or two and bend his ear.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music? Do you have a favorite one as well?

MD: I love Seattle and Portland. I feel blessed to have two fine cities to play for so close to each other.

I really have a fondness for New York as well. Shittiest, most souless place on Earth? Las vegas, Nev.

PEV: How has “life on the road” been for you? Good parts? Bad parts?

MD: Life on the road is awesome! The only bad things are gas prices right now and I never sleep… but I’ve never really slept my whole life anyway.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

MD: I don’t know if any of these guys are up and comers. They are already famous and awsome in my eyes: Drag the River, Rocky Votolato, Two Cow Garage, Lucero, Kleveland, Storm and the Balls. All of them heroes and friends to me.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest album “Bad Days Ahead”?

MD: It’s my thoughts on the end-times, which I feel are upon us. I don’t have much hope for our speices. Its a downer record for sure.

PEV: How is “Bad Days Ahead” different from your 2005 solo album, “Perfect Day For A Funeral”?

MD: “Perfect Day” was a personal hate-note to an ex-wife. Bad days is… well it all has to do with death. So in alot of respects they are cousin pieces.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Michael Dean Damron and the members of the Thee Loyal Bastards?

MD: I have a personal trainer. The Bastards all are into a bunch of weird shit. I don’t want to speak for them. Suffice it to say, they are whoremongers and fornicaters all.

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in? Do you prefer to collaborate with people or more of an alone process?

MD: I like to write alone. My good stuff comes at 3am to 7am. I would love to find someone to write with. I just never had chemistry to write with another person. I did write a song on “Bad Days” with my wife, though.

PEV: Ten years from now, where will Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards be?

MD: If humanity and I make it 10 years, I’ll be playing to 20 or 30 people at a time, touring and waiting around to die.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time? Does the band spend a lot of time together outside of performing?

MD: I spend time with my wife, daugther and my dog. They are my tribe. Me and the fellas dont spend enough time together outside of playing. I love my bassist like a brother.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards performance?

MD: They can expect us to go balls deep! Raw nerves everytime.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is it to just go out there and perform?

MD: I always shoot a whiskey and pray by myself.

PEV: Any embarrassing or funny live performance stories?

MD: In S.F. I pulled a homeless harmonica player off the street to play with me. We did a bunch of Motown and shit. He passed his hat and made about a 100 bucks. After, we did six songs and he hauled ass out the door, not giving me a dime and sticking me with his bar tab. Which was more than what I made that night.

PEV: In one word, describe Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards.

MD: Raw.

PEV: So, what is next for Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards?

MD:New record, heavy touring in the region, maybe national if I can jump on a tour.

For more information on Michael Dean Damron and the Thee Loyal Bastards, check out


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