If you met Daria Johnson in the audience at a show you’d encounter a thousand watt smile, a bold, delightful laugh, and a warm demeanor that don’t in any way suggest the ferocious badass that emerges when this powerful, attention grabbing drummer jumps behind a kit. She often sports a wonderful expression when she’s working the sticks that’s equal measures steely determination and joy at bashing on things – a primal look and feel that grabs ya and doesn’t let go.
Johnson hits hard in the spirit of Keith Moon and The Black Crowes’ Steve Gorman, mingling strong groove sensibilities with gutbucket force. The Impound thinks she’s positively beautiful when she’s locked onto just the right beat and then drives it home. We’ve seen her swing power pop style with the Sean Leahy Trio, just murder Prince tunes (including taking the mic) with Guitarmageddon, and a variety of other settings that suggest there’s all kinds of powerful depths to this charming musician. One thing we know for sure, when DI sees Daria settle in behind the drums we know our rhythm needs will be well attended to.
Here’s what Daria had to say for the Impound’s bawdiest questionnaire.
bed bugs bite!
On June 15th, Dirty Impound will celebrate three years slingin’ prose, mixes, and perhaps a kernel of wisdom or two about rock ‘n’ roll with a shindig at San Francisco’s premiere speakeasy the Boom Boom Room [pick up tickets here and RSVP on Facebook here]. With DI’s resident house band, Seattle’s The Staxx Brothers, topping the bill, the party also features a special solo performance from John Murry and a pummeling rock set from one-off trio The Evil Sides, which is comprised of Jeremy Korpas (The Loyal Scam, former Big Light lead guitarist) and Sean Leahy and drummer extraordinaire Daria Johnson of SF’s blazing pop-rockers the Sean Leahy Trio. Throw in a DJ set from Righteous Trash and you’ve got a lineup that reflects the street level POV of the Impound and the high quality variety this site spotlights on a regular basis.
While Leahy will be trading his usual electric guitar for a bass for this performance, the evening brings together three of the most talented and promising young lead guitarists currently knocking rock around for its own good – it gets sluggish if not tested and prodded on the regular. Staxx’s Chris O’Connor is a descendent of the classic hard-edged Funkadelic shredders, where the heavy slap and groove whomp are obvious but closer inspection reveals a really thoughtful, song serving player who measures out his licks with a humility and intelligence rare amongst lead guitarists. Leahy is in the line of compact killers like Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Journey’s Neal Schon, a man able to make an impact with smartly carved succinctness. Korpas is a curious, always compelling mixture of classic rock shreddiness and post-Radiohead modernity, a guitarist one can rarely make predictions about and yet who always serves up sounds that draw one in and enliven the music. Each of these guys has knocked the Impound on their butt more than a few times, reminding us why rock remains such a guitar-centric genre and inspiring some of the most shameful public air guitar we’ve ever been a party to. Perhaps more than anything, DI loves how NOT by the numbers these three are. They clearly understand the mechanics of their craft but constantly seek to find inroads to fresh territory, trying just a bit harder than the next guys to infuse rock with vitality you can feel.
The Impound has invited the musicians of the 3rd Anniversary Party to get dirty in the lead up to this ultra-fun good time evening, and here’s what O’Connor [Nickname: The Butcher], Korpas and Leahy [Nickname: SLeahy] slung our way.
bed bugs bite!
John Murry and Friends will perform The Graceless Age album in its entirety this coming Sunday, April 14, at the Make-Out Room in San Francisco. This is a rare opportunity to experience an album DI called an instant classic that leaves one “more tender and aware of the perverse duality of love.” Murry returns to Europe and the UK in May for a string of dates before a special pair of shows in New York City on May 16 & 17. See full itinerary here.
John Murry by Dara Munnis
John Murry has witnessed more than his share of humanity’s dark side. He’s known the same little coloured balloons that took out ol’ Tim Hardin, though like Tim he probably sought such inflation because of the sad, lonely things his eyes have seen and his heart understands. Murry’s songs don’t sugarcoat the “mean old world,” and even a lover’s closeness can be tinged with violence and trepidation, as in the opening line of “If I’m To Blame” off his luminously honest The Graceless Age: “A pistol in my pocket, a hand down the front of your pants, and you say, ‘Love only makes me bleed.’” This is Mamet in miniature, all the pheromone thick danger we pose to one another distilled into a single sentence.
At times, his truth-telling can be tiring, but wise tricksters like Murry always dance on the edge of wry entertainer and painful messenger, the mixture of laughter and tears the only delivery system that ever really gets what we need into the buried, desiccated parts of us that hunger for uncut reality even as we fight against it in our conscious lives. Spend a little time with John Murry, the man not the musician, and it’s not all doom ‘n’ gloom. His chuckle comes from his belly, and he seems distinctly aware of the cosmic laugh track running beneath all human activity. He swears wonderfully and abidess fools and schemers with the same ill temper as the Impound. An hour with Murry is a chance to see the humor in things others miss or are afraid to laugh at. And this guy lurks in the crannies of what is a predominantly heavy catalogue – you just have to listen closely to see his smile in the shadows. What’s so cool is how all the dirt he’s sifted through – the kind you can never fully wash away – is also a reminder that it’s in tilled and tended soil that new things grow and it’s worth getting your nails black trying to raise shoots up into sunlight.
John graciously accepted DI’s invitation to stir our compost bin around, and as usual the man worked up a sweat giving us the good stuff.
Dearly Beloved kicks off their Spring 2013 tour on April 10 in Ottawa. Check out the current list of dates and stops below!
While Dearly Beloved’s sound shares little with Prince there’s an underlying carnality in common, where one wouldn’t be totally surprised to see vocalists Rob Higgins and Niva Chow grinding a stage or amp stack while snarling porny glossolalia. An animal intensity ripples in their music, tamed for the time being but always tugging at the leash and sniffing the air for pheromones and passing cars. It’s a beasty-ness that’s been homogenized out of much modern rock, particularly the mainstream variety, or alternately let run rampant in juvenile underground noise. Neither is especially appealing, which makes Toronto-based Dearly Beloved’s tussling yin-yang so immediate and lustily enjoyable. Pop on latest long-player Hawk vs Pigeon (one of DI’s Favorite Albums of 2012) and the beak ‘n’ claw conflict of the title plays out in subtle and unsubtle ways – grabbing lizard brain instinct sometimes kicks like a hands on a third rail power line. Dearly Beloved wrestles in the arena where basic urges and higher reasoning interact, and it’s a damn exciting spot to inhabit.
Rob Higgins (bass, co-vocalist, bandleader) graciously agreed to get knee deep in the Impound’s saucy seven, and we’re sure we’ve given the job to the right man.
bed bugs bite!
The Stone Foxes by Staci DeGagne
Feel – the vibe in the muscles and bones – of rock is WAY more important than is often acknowledged. It’s the essential intangible that separates the real deals from the wannabes, and San Francisco’s The Stone Foxes have got feel to spare. Drop the needle on their fan-tab-u-lous third album, Small Fires (released February 12), and a musk that’s right and a lil’ rough pours from the speakers. This is music with a hunter’s eye and a lover’s hip roll, though it’s tussling and tangling that absorbs the lads on this latest slab more than tail chasing and good times. Makes sense in these divided, fractious times that the thoughts of even young men such as these should turn to denser, thornier topics. Captured with producer Doug Boehm (Girls, The Vines, Dr. Dog), Small Fires is a tipping point in the band’s evolution, a melding of the exceeding charm of their earlier work with something deeper and ultimately even more promising for what waits in the future, a wider range of emotions and moods on display and all of it handled with increasing skill and quality instincts. Really, nothing but good things to say about this band.
However, these Foxes have been as carnal as they come, so we asked drummer, singer, harmonica player and all around bundle of energy Shannon Koehler – whose nicknames include Mr. Marmot, Paddy, Charlie Meatloaf, and Big Thumb – to tackle the Impound’s saucy seven.
one tooth sweater puppets!