The co-founder of the Jigsaw Seen 25 years ago (alongside ace guitarist Jonathan Lea), former all-Maryland high-school soccer player Dennis Davison gets his exercise these days as a professional dog-walker. Strolling L.A.’s concrete canyons gives him ample time to do what he does best: write distinctively original lyrics and melodies that give off the mere whiff of former heroes such as the Bee Gees, Who and Love. Unlike previous albums, Old Man Reverb, Jigsaw’s fourth set of originals in the past four years, has a unified sound running throughout. Davison and Lea will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on the Jigsaw Seen.
Davison: The bowl haircut! The bangs! The lack of respect for society! The physicality! The artlessness! The primal violence! Yes, Moe Howard had all of these attributes going for him, and so did Iggy Pop. The fact that they both ran with gangs called the Stooges is no coincidence.
The musical hoodlums from Michigan took their name from the slapstick nihilists. Stooges guitarist Ron Ashton even used to visit Larry Fine while he was a resident at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital. There’s something about declaring yourself a “Stooge” that appeals to my self-deprecating nature.
While rummaging through the used record bin of a store in Baltimore in 1975, I came up with gold in the form of the first two Stooges albums on Elektra records. At that moment, Bowie and Lou Reed were joined by the Stooges to complete my unholy trinity of musical influences. The Stooges in particular would guide me into the life-changing world of punk, where I would ultimately form my own band.
A few years later, a couple of friends of mine were trying to convince me that Shemp was better than Curly. I was pretty resistant to this premise, but eventually I saw the light and Shemp has been “the man” ever since. Three years ago while driving to a Jigsaw Seen gig on the East Coast, we were listening to Bob Dylan’s radio show. These words came from the mouth of the prophet; “Nothing wrong with Curly, but for my money, I’m a Shemp man.”
Amen, Zimmy! Long live the Stooges!