Disaffected Prep

Monday, September 5, 2011


Dave Kusworth is Cooler Than You

Dave Kusworth

My friend and bandmate Mike has been instrumental in the development of my rock 'n roll knowledge. He was the first person to introduce me to Johnny Thunders, Jesse Malin and Paul Westerberg's solo stuff. Mike's kinda like that cooler older brother with that killer vinyl collection and who'll let you constantly bum his menthols and never give you shit about about it.

Another one of those bands he introduced me to was the Jacobites, led by Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth, who tragically wrote the best rock music in the vein of the Faces, the Stones and Neil Young ten years after those bands enjoyed the apex of their commercial success with a general audience.

Dave Kusworth (left) and Nikki Sudden (RIP Nikki)

I was immediately hooked on Kusworth's songs and especially his look. He just looked so fucking cool in that strange paradoxical melding of devil-may-care attitude with heart-on-the-sleeve romanticism. Here's AllMusic describing Kusworth's solo release, Wives, Weddings and Roses: A tear-stained meeting of Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory," the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses," and Neil Young's "Down by the River" wrapped in scarves, bound up in leather pants, and shrouded by cigarette smoke.


Kusworth is influenced by Keith Richards in his looks as well as the music he creates, no doubt. In fact I've seen some pictures of Kusworth on the web mistakenly tagged as Keith Richards. That said, Kusworth lands more solidly on the "tragic Byronic romantic hero" end of the rock spectrum. How tragically under appreciated is Kusworth? Dude doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

Can't remember where I got this - if it's your pic let me know

A major component to Kusworth's look are his myriad of scarves that he wraps around his head (Lord Byron rocked head scarves too). Here's an email conversation between Mike and I on the subject of Kusworth's scarves:
Dan: Where do you think Kusworth gets all his scarves from?
Mike: You can get that type of scarf from girls you've had meaningful but doomed relationships with, so that every time you wear it, you can still smell her perfume and remember the time you got stuck in a downpour walking with her by the old church yard.
Dan: Haha, the line is so thin between Romantics and Goths. If it were midnight at the church graveyard it would be Goth.
Mike: Yeah this happens definitely during the day. The streets at night are no place for a British dandy.
Dan: ...carrying a copy of Rimbauld's collected poems.
Mike: ...while mentally comparing love and flowers
Dan: ...while holding an umbrella to shield you from the sun so as not to alter your visage's deathly pallor
Mike: Haha, I bet he was terrible at sports
Dan: Exactly, in high school instead of playing sports he wrote poetry underneath the bleachers while smoking clove cigarettes, pining after the popular girls in English class he couldn't muster the courage to talk to.   

Awesome photo of Kusworth (right) from this Flickr page

Of course though, image is nothing without good music to back it up. This is one of Kusworth's more recent tunes, "It Comes and it Goes." There's barely 100 views of this video. That's criminal! It's one of the best rock songs I've ever listened to!

It's acoustic and electric; heartfelt and cocky; loving and forlorn; new yet timeless. In other words, it's a great rock 'n roll song.

Here's another from the Jacobites era with Nikki Sudden:

"So she waits there on the stairs at four o'clock / I'll buy her some roses but I'm scared of what it costs / And then she promises she'll buy me everything / but all I want for her is to pin her heart to me"

Isn't that what the best songs and poems are about, whether it's Andrew Marvell or Keith Richards writing them? Wanting someone to pin their heart to you, to tether their dreams to your own?

I think so.

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