From The Desk Of Holsapple & Stamey: Jimmy Descant’s Deluxe Rocketships

hp100bThere are many people who consider the first two albums by the dB’s to be just as influential as those revered early Velvet Underground releases. The singing/songwriting backbone of the dB’s was the tandem of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, whose simpatico musical attraction was strong enough to fuel Mavericks, an excellent 1991 album by the duo. Eighteen years later, the longtime friends have released the equally stirring Here And Now. The pair has also begun recording again with the dB’s, including original bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby. Holsapple and Stamey are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

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Peter: I was saddened to realize that the future didn’t end up looking very futuristic, like my Popular Science magazines had suggested it might when I was a kid. Disappointing to see cars turn into big, anonymous silver-grey thumbs with wheels. Technology like cellphones I’d hoped would be two-way wrist radio/TVs, possibly so they’d be a little harder to lose. What I was hoping for was streamlining and gadgetry and chrome and that crinkly metallic-grey lustre. That’s what I find in my old friend Jimmy Descant’s Deluxe Rocketships. Jimmy was a guitar tech for the dB’s and went on to work with the Indigo Girls and many other artists. When I met him, he was repairing and restoring old pinball machines in his second-floor walkup in Metairie, La. That and the proximity to audio gear moved his artistry into accessorized microphones with lights. Rocket ships were not far behind. The grand imagination, whimsy and love that go into each vessel is always preeminent—dare you not to chuckle. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the contents of his workshop, Jimmy and his wife relocated to the West, which is suiting his art well. Like Krazy Kat and the other George Herriman creations, Jimmy has landed there as if by UFO and has decided not to use his rockets to leave.

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