Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Kids Are Alright. Heh.

So a few days ago, reader J. Lag posed the following question in comments:

I may be poking the bear here (and how I wish I could translate that phrase into French) but, Mr. Simels, is there a major rock act that's come onto the scene in the last six or seven years that you (or any of the contributors to this blog) actually LIKE, that might have a shot at having an estimable, influential career output?? Not trying to be a smart-ass here, I'm genuinely curious about people's opinions, opinions I may be able to learn (something) from.

To which my -- not snarky, trust me -- response is: At my age, I'm not really sure I'm the right person to ask about that sort of thing. I mean, for the last couple of years, every time I've seen some new band I'm unfamiliar with as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, my reaction tends to be, "what, is it open mic night at Folk City?"

That said, however, there is at least one new band, and a local one here in NYC at that, that I'm really nuts about.

Ladies and gentlement, please enjoy the incomparable Driven Mad.

These guys used to do business as King Hell, during which time they did to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" what always deserved to be done to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf"...

...but in this new incarnation they are louder, faster and if possible even funnier.

To paraphrase, as I'm fond of doing, Jack Nicholson on the subject of Bob Dylan -- these guys are a riot. Seriously. And if they're ever appearing at a venue near you, run do not walk.

You're welcome.


Anonymous said...

Steve, i think the question's emphasis was on "major", given the blog's tendency to slag anything that's popular among teens.

steve simels said...

you bastard kids get off my lawn!!!

Gummo said...

Never got into the metal, but these guys seem smart & funny. Smarter than their music, which just sounds like typical metal to me.

But they sound like really nice guys, so good luck to'em.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I'm rather fond of "Ballad Of Boogie Christ" by Joseph Arthur.


Jim H. said...

Wouldn't New Pornographers qualify?

What about Pains of Being Pure at Heart? Not major enuff?

Jai Guru Dave said...

Here's the group that has captured my attention like no one has in a long time: Dawes. Check out the albums "Stories Don't End" and "Norhing is Wrong"

Really smart songwriting, gorgeous harmonies, the whole package. They are a little ballad-heavy, and may not rock hard enough for some of you; but these two albums just kill me. Check them out.

Brooklyn Girl said...

I'll add my endorsement of Black Taxi, another local band.

But, to Gummo's point, there's also a difference between a band I would go see, a band I would listen to at home, and a band I would both go see and listen to at home.

Sam - Driven Mad said...

These guys, who've just gone triple platinum, are "majorly" a lot of things (dishonest, for one). Thank you for the plug-ola Steve! (The "Camel Series" of photos you were so preoccupied with are now burning in my fireplace.) For anyone who's interested in getting a clear listen to our music, you can check out the links below, and visit us online at

Sam, and Driven Mad

P.S. I maintain there is no smart rock music... well, maybe Queen.

Anonymous said...

1) Thanks for trying to answer my question and for not being snarky. I will check out Driven Mad, and the other stuff recommended in the comments section.
2) The Duran Duran reference reminded me of something: I thought you might be interested to know that for years Pursuit Of Happiness-front man/power-pop god Moe Berg, about whom you wrote (admiringly) a few months ago, has played in a side-project cover band. One of the songs they used to do regularly in their set was "Hungry Like The Wolf". They also used to do such (guilty pleasure?) items as George Michael's "I Want Your Sex", Poison's "Unskinny Bop" and the Bay City Rollers'"Saturday Night". The very first song they played at their very first gig was a guitar-heavy version of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach".
J. Lag

Anonymous said...

Driven Mad remind me of that earlier, funny, can't-miss NYC band, DGeneration. Is Jesse Malin still doing the singer songwriter thing?