The Doughboys—Fort Dix—Live! Aug. 8
A famous troubadour once said, “You don’t get older, you just get better,” and this definitely applies to this longest lasting group on the planet. The Doughboys got their start in 1964 and have played bills with such acts as The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Grand Funk Railroad, Question Mark & The Mysterians, and The Buckinghams, among many others. They were also the house band at the legendary Cafe Wha in the summer of 1968.
And with that long-standing history comes interesting side notes such as Myke Scavone going on after the Doughboys to front cult faves Ram Jam, famous for their remake of Leadbelly’s “Black Betty.” Richard Heyman’s name is associated with Brian Wilson, Ben E. King and Peter Noone in these parts and Mike Caruso worked with Tommy James, producers Bo Gentry and Kenny Laguna, and jammed with Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles. And of course Gar Francis played on several Billy Idol hits. Francis also replaced deceased member Willy Kirchofer on guitar.
The Doughboys were at Fort Dix to entertain troops and their families on this bearable summer day. The Army’s field was a cool setup for parties and had these huge tents, refreshments and food on hand for attendees. A brand new PA system and mobile stage were also brought in for the show. No one parties like the Army and I wish to thank Fort Dix’s own Jenn McCarthy for making things easy.
Opening the show was Plainfield Slim and The Groundhawgs. Playing songs from their CD, When The Devil Hits Home, the band laid down greasy hot blues complete with harmonica, ala Myke Scavone, and fretwork by Gar Francis and ace slide king Lee Fink. Tunes like “Dirty Girl” and the Mississippi shuffle of “Rattle That Box” were standouts, as was title track “When The Devil Hits Home.” These guys are equally at home in the delta blues as they are in American roots rock.
Up next, The Doughboys jumped through decades of material, bringing us the stripped down gems from their latest CD, Is It Now? Songs such as “Black Sheep” a raw and gutsy garage blues creation that turned Little Steven’s head and straight out of New York’s ‘60s scene with remnants of The Seeds and The Stooges. Legendary Richard Heymans “Trouble Too Late” is a cool combination of Stax-meets-The Stones.
As I watched these guys I realized the incredible phenomenon that they have been able to remain passionate about for over four decades while releasing a great new disc and getting back to playing live. New Jersey might be the house that Bruce built, but the Doughboys are definitely the landlords. The Doughboys will be appearing at the legendary Stone Pony for Kyle’s birthday on Oct. 2. Go check ‘em out at thedoughboysnj.com.
The Easy Outs—Main Man Records
The Easy Outs are no-nonsense band born from the gnarly union of Kiss, The Dead Boys, Tommy Shondell and The Replacements. Utilizing simple chord structures and creative guitar attacks ala Bobby “The K” Kennedy, the Easy Outs hang 10 in the garage pop rip curls like nobody’s business. Lead singer Bruce Ferguson has been a Brighton Bar regular since the early ‘80s, playing with a multitude of well-known bands and continuing into the new decade with Trench, another one of a kind oddity that went the way of the Albatross. Bobby Kennedy is a founding member of The Chronic Sick as well as a studio rat, piling up movie soundtracks and studio production credits from New York to Los Angeles with bands like The Damned and Captain Sensible.
The pair brings 10 tunes to the table, ranging from topical digs at emo, ego and revenge, and they use tongue-in-cheek mockery like a sharp rusty weapon. “Emo Boys” pokes at the obvious with old school lines like, “there you go shooting off your mouth, you’re a dirty old man who wears a blouse, your life’s a circus and you’re a clown.”
Other cool tunes are “Ego Trip,” a song that grinds filthy guitars and Godfathers’ soul. Campbell’s “working man” viewpoint doesn’t waste time on pedantic sentiments as he tells you like it is. Other favorable tunes are “I Walk Alone,” “Shandi” and “Get Some.” In the words of Bruce himself, “This is what we call New York rock and roll. Music today has gotten to la-de-da for me. It’s too safe and nobody takes chances anymore. If you got the balls use them, that’s what they’re there for, rock ‘n roll comes from the gut. A little dirt is good.”
And The Easy Outs are dirty indeed. If you’re into ‘70s punk like The Sex Pistols or The Stooges, check these guys out tonight, Sept. 9, at the Brighton Bar with Hugh Cornwall of The Stranglers. myspace.com/theeasyouts.