Inside every recovering New Wave frontman there beats the soul of a fingerpoppin’ lounge singer — and Don Dazzo has reconciled these competing impulses as well as anyone, as will be witnessed when Everlounge meets LANGOSTA Lounge on July 29.
Alright, we’ve been told repeatedly that “there are no second acts in American lives” — something that was pretty much only true of the burned-out rummy who coined the quote. For the rest of us, there’s existence in a constant state of morph and reinvention that ranges from superficial tweaks to sex changes; stage names and screen names; Botox to body-mod teflon implants — even Second Life if you’re so inclined.
If you frequented NJ/NY rock clubs throughout the 1980s and into the 90s; if you listened to the old “modern rock” WHTG-FM or tuned into some of the more obscure corners of national TV, you surely had a run-in with the band called Whirling Dervishes. Fronted by gangly, baritone-voiced Don Dazzo and boasting a virtuosic, genre-bending musical attack, the Dervishes put out several essential EPs (including the surprise, still-up-on-iTunes Yuletide perennial Grinch), made it onto MTV’s 120 Minutes, did the theme song to the short-lived NBC proto-reality series The Adventures of Mark and Brian, and generally fit quite well within that smart, satirical/sophisticated strain of NJ-spawned alterna-rock vanguarded by Dramarama, The Smithereens, and The Groceries.
They also made a rather infamous movie, about which more in a moment.
Still, when the band reluctantly called it a career back in the early 1990s, they disdained the path by which veteran combos continue to embarrass themselves through neverending reunions, personnel reconfigurations and desperate rehashing of what “sells” in any current crazy climate. Instead, Dazzo and likeminded Dervs Billy Siegel and Bob Ardrey gazed deep into their collective navel, and what they saw gleamed back at them in a fever-dream of novelty shot glasses, table lighters and velour smoking jackets. They had gotten in touch with their inner Lounge.
Everlounge is the name under which the Dervish imprimatur has survived and thrived into the grave new millennium; a project (dedicated to “good humor, analog reverb and good Russian Vodka”) that’s employed the trappings of vintage lounge-lizard, generation-gap pop to stake out a place that’s nothing short of The Nexus of all Possible Musics. With two snappy, savvy, full length CDs under their no-doubt reversible belts (Vodka Context and Nice Set of Maracas), these frequent visitors to the Upper Wet Side of NJ most recently ished the sampler disc Everlounge Recommends Wine Women, Rock — a set recorded in part during a live gig at Asbury’s Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel.
It’s to Asbury that Dazzo, Siegel and the 2011 edition of Everlounge return on Friday night, July 29, when they rock ‘n fingerpop the modestly scaled stage (and expansively visioned Permanent Staycation) of Marilyn Schlossbach’s Langosta Lounge — a setting that the singer notes is “Asbury! On a Friday night in July! Just brilliant!”