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The Don Was Detroit Super Session - July 16th, 2008

Don Was no longer requires an introduction in these pages. One of Detroit’s most successful musical expatriates of the last two decades, the producer and Was (Not Was) co-leader returns this week to front an All-Star Detroit tribute at the Concert of Colors.

METRO TIMES: So tell us about the origins of the Don Was Detroit Super Session Show. We heard today that it looks like David [Was] isn’t going to make the show now.

DON WAS: Well, we’ll know when the plane leaves L.A. (laughs) He may; he may not – I don’t know for sure. But the whole thing really came about in a haphazard way. The Arab American Museum saw the Wasmopolitan site I’d done online, where we recorded and videotaped 11 Detroit artists. And they said “How about a live version of that?” I thought that’s a pretty cool idea, to do it as a revue, where everyone gets onstage and does one song. So, it’s basically an outgrowth of Wasmopolitan. But we’ve added the Detroit Cobras and the Dirt Bombs. Mitch Ryder, John Sinclair and Wayne Kramer. Lola Morales. But it’s most of the same people from the website —Black Bottom Collective, Black Merda, Sisters Lucas, the Go, the Ramrods, the Muldoons. Luis Resto. Hopefully David. (laughs).

Detroit Metro Times

Video – Walk The Dinosaur and Interview - July 2nd, 2008

Wonderful Was (Not Was) video (looking youthful from the 80’s) on YouTube. The lip-sync of ‘Walk The Dinosaur’ is as painful as anything from this era, but just wait for the interview at the end of the video – hilarious and brilliant. — Thanks to Mark.

Audio – Portland and Seattle, 17 May 2008 - June 2nd, 2008

Was (Not Was) recorded in Portland and Seattle, 17 May 2008, available as MP3, WAV and (soon) FLAC files.

Thanks to Ted.

Was (Not Was) returns to its roots - June 1st, 2008

Don Was positively flourished in the years following his band’s demise.
Was (Not Was), the open-ended musical collective with Detroit roots, had called it quits in 1992, launching Was into a career as one of music’s most in-demand studio producers. The roll call of names became towering: The Rolling Stones. Bob Dylan. Bonnie Raitt. Willie Nelson. Randy Newman.

But amid the creative flowering, the man born Don Fagenson found himself unable to muster the will to write. Daunted by the immense talent now surrounding him, Was caught himself thinking, “What’s the point? These guys are so much better at this.”

It was during a conversation with country icon Nelson that Was had his epiphany: Willie Nelson might be Willie Nelson, but Don Was was Detroit.

Interview with the “Brothers” at Gulf Coasting

Audio – May 13 Cabooze, Minneapolis - May 29th, 2008

Thanks to Dave (No, not that one) we now have a torrent of the Cabooze show in Minneapolis from 13 May 2008.

Check out the Traders Den.

Now available at The Archive without sign on.

Audience Review – Abbey Pub in Chicago - May 28th, 2008

“This is more like a party than a regular gig, Don Was told the audience early on, and he couldn’t have been more right.

Not having seen any version of Was (Not Was) since a late 1980s Club MTV Tour, I must say that I have been intrigued and puzzled by the wide range of appreciations of the current Wasperience, ranging from carping that the band doesn’t access it’s entire catalogue, to effusive praise for inspirational performances. This is good, mainly because it shows that, whether you’ve seen them 20 times or can’t tell Don Was from a roadie, the band is still as fascinating as ever.

For a group as meticulous in writing, recording and rehearsal as this one, the genius of a Was (Not Was) show isn’t in the element of suprise, but rather in witnessing this wild musical/cultural and intellectual amalgam come to vivid life right before your very eyes.

And that goes from the MTV show, where they were 4th or 5th on the bill to Ton Loc, Paula Abdul and the density-is-infamy Milli Vanilli (they were sharp, smooth and fun, and belonged on that bill as much as William Burroughs opening for the Osmonds at Branson), back to the very first Was show I witnessed, in Chicago with Wayne Kramer and the Brides of Funkenstein en was, on the tour for the first album.

The May 10, 2008 show in the intimate confines of the Abbey Pub in Chicago was teriffic — David Was and Sir Harry got up front and sang harmony, fercrissakes — and the band and the audience were clearly interested in exchanging electricity. The combination of musicianship and volume in front of 2-300 or so folks who 85-90% looked like the main floor of a Republican National Convention is like what one imagines it might be like to watch a 747 experly landed in a shoebox.

Thanks to Harmen

Video – Sunshine Superfly from the Boston show - May 26th, 2008

Thanks to Red.

Audience Review – Portland and Seattle - May 26th, 2008

Saw WNW in Portland and Seattle. The Portland show at Wonder Ballroom
was excellent, although the sound was a bit muddled at
times…especially the first two songs. Crowd was small and the critic
for the local rag was groovin’ like the rest of the crowd – all 150 of
us. His review can be found here.

The Seattle show was at a smaller venue and the sound and show was
even better – fantastic show.

I have posted one song from Seattle- From the Head to the Heart – in
both WAV and MP3 format. (Unfortunately, I munged the taping in
Seattle and don’t think I can salvage any other songs. I may post the
Portland show but that also is a bit muddled – will need to have a
discerning ear check it out before posting.)

Downloads – or redirects to another site for the material are and will
be available here.

Thanks to Ted.

Audience Review – Portland - May 19th, 2008

The Mrs. and I caught the Was (Not Was) show at the Wonder Ballroom tonight, and I pretty much got just one word: Wow.
Thanks to Jack


Music review: Alternative reality of Was (Not Was)

Edward Lorenz, the meteorology professor who helped develop chaos theory, died last month at age 90, having seen his intellectual breakthrough influence economics, ecology and numerous other fields.

It is doubtful that Lorenz noticed its application to R&B, but Saturday night’s Wonder Ballroom show by the band Was (Not Was) might have been an apt demonstration. ….

by Marty Hughley/The Oregonian

Was (Not Was): Work the dinosaur - May 17th, 2008

“Why do they even give you a “Do not disturb’ sign?,” asks David Was, while recounting a recent hotel staff invasion. “I could have had a dead chick in the room! I’m a rock star, dog!”

Interview with David in the Colorado Springs Independent

Was (Not Was) brings the funk at homecoming show - May 17th, 2008

Towards the end of the night Fagenson promised the Majestic crowd that “we’ll never forget this night — I mean that.” And it will most likely stick in the memory of anyone who was there, too.

Review of the Detroit show in the Oakland Press

Audience Review – Detroit - May 16th, 2008

Hey Everyone,
I was at the show last Friday at the Majestic in midtown Detroit. The
native Detroiters in the band were quite happy to be back home
playing for friends, relatives, and long time fans.
I’ve been following the group since around 82, when I played bass in
a band that featured JonJaz Weiss – Dave’s brother – on sax. He’s the
one that turned me on to them by giving me an advance copy cassette
of “Born to Laugh at Tornadoes”. I’ve been hooked ever since.
They played to a pretty well packed house, and a great reception.
It’s something about playing in the shadows of Wayne State University
and Cass Corridor – always down, but never out, always living in
despair of some kind or another, but always hopeful of a better
future – for some reason, the funky grooves and the strange
storytelling of their songs resonate to a lot of us. It’s Real
Detroit music, no doubt.
Standing in line, waiting for the doors to open & sharing stories of
how we came to dig the Was bros. Talking about the old haunts, mostly
gone now. Lots of graying hair in the crowd (including mine).
Sound quality was good where I was, right in front of the stage. I
couldn’t hear the main stacks, only the front fills and a lot of
stage monitors. Didn’t matter anyway-I was singing louder than the
Songs were similar to other stops on this tour, with the addition of
Mitch Ryder coming out to do Devil With the Blue Dress with them.
Sure was great to see them again. As I told Sir Harry after the gig,
it’s been way too long!! Don’t be strangers – come back and visit
again soon.
Steve “The Count”

Video – Was (Not Was) Backstage – Jools Holland - May 16th, 2008

Audience Review – MAY 9 MAJESTIC THEATER, DETROIT - May 15th, 2008

Sorry this is not a timely report but since I attended the show at the
Majestic last Friday I should offer some comments. (Despite the nice previews
given in both major Detroit newspapers, neither had a post-show article.)

Very good turnout for the Detroit gig, not standing-room only packed but
surely bigger than they’ve been drawing on other dates, at least that’s the
impression I have from what I’ve read. The show itself was the same setlist as
I’ve seen on the other US dates, with a couple of additions. Toward the end they
performed Somewhere In America…(honoring someone’s request during the
soundcheck, Dave said). And then they brought out Mitch Ryder who sang Devil
With The Blue Dress, in a slower, R&B style than his 60’s hit Detroit Wheels
version. That was fun, but I’d probably have rather seen some musicians sit in
(David McMurray for example). The guys definitely were pumped to be in Detroit
but other than these two songs I got the impression it could have been any
other date on the tour. I guess they’ve rehearsed what they’ve rehearsed and
that’s what people are gonna get this time around. I wasn’t disappointed, but
wasn’t blown away, either.

With thanks to Steve.

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