Interview with David J: Cabaret and Vampires Tonight at El Cid
Tonight at El Cid, David J and friends, billed as The David J Ensemble, will be performing "Bouquets, Wreaths and Laurels," a set of love songs, death songs and "one song of glory." The former member of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets describes the one-off event as "jazz-tinged punk rock cabaret" that incorporates songs from throughout his career along with a mix of cover tunes, including some that date back to the 1920s.
"I wanted something more than a regular show, something special," he explains. "I came up with this idea so I came up with that idea and that theme. I can swap the songs around, there are all different songs that fit into those three categories."
Tonight's gig, which will feature guest performances from Abby Travis and Michael Berg, is just one of J's many recent projects that span all media. In the past few years, he wrote and directed the theatrical production "Silver for Gold," based on the life of Edie Sedgwick, partook in the "Juju Shit" show at Melissa Morgan Fine Arts in Palm Desert, produced local artists like Berg and still drops in on L.A. clubs to spin the occasional set. He's set to DJ at Club Vicious on May 29.
"It's one of my favorite things to do, spinning records," says J, who first took to the turntables upon his wife's suggestion.
"This was the early '90s and my concept of a DJ was mixing and matching beats and I'm not that. I'm more of a selector," he explains. "I didn't think it would fly, but then I thought maybe I could do this and get it away with it. I called up The Viper Room and offered my services. That's where I started. It was great fun. Now I do a bit of mixing and beat matching, to a degree, but it's still basic selecting."
But, making music is still J's main gig. In addition to The David J Ensemble, he has been working on an upcoming project with Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde), Jill Tracy and L.A.-based producer Shok (My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult). The theme: vampires.
"It's sort of adult material in a way," he says. "It's quite sophisticated, really. It's sexy."
J recently offered a live preview of the new tunes at DraculaCon, a new convention held in a 1920s movie theater in Windber, Pennsylvania. The release will be available as downloads as well as a three-track CD. He estimates that the tracks will be available in a little over a month, coinciding with Napolitano's tour with Concrete Blonde.
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