The Damwell Betters are coming in hot
I suppose you want to know what this headline means, as in, what is a Damwell Better and why are they coming in hot? It’s a perfectly acceptable question and one we’ll address in the words ahead.
First off, the Damwell Betters are a real-live, all-original rock band from Springfield, Ill., who, interestingly enough, also reside here. Some of you may already know that, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that a majority of our readers, if they have heard of them, have not heard them. The group doesn’t make a habit of playing every weekend in town and when they do perform, their mostly original set list doesn’t present recognizably familiar songs to the average listener. But what the Damwell Betters do is what most bands only dream of: they play their own music, make their own recordings and set their own rules for how it all gets done.
That leads us to the second half of our headline. The group recently finished CD
number two, titled Coming in Hot. According to Josh Catalano, singer, songwriter, guitarist and catalyst for the
band, the original CD concept called for a stripped-down recording, featuring
the back-to-the-basics rock music that originally inspired the band. They began
production in March this year, intending the project as a purposeful move away
from the more-produced sounds of their 2007 release, Make Love not Babies. But after the basic tracks were finished, the band stayed in the studio a
little longer and more stuff got added. Soon electronic beats, string sections,
horn parts and other un-raw-like ingredients appeared that pushed the record
into new territory. As Catalano put it, the recording “morphed into a completely different album of sexual danger and vagabond love
jams.” Yeah, right. I think I understand it all now.
Since the group’s conception in 2005, the members always considered Catalano as the primary songwriter, but during this recording the quintet came together as a collective, both in the writing and producing areas. Bassist Marc Broomby, a Liverpool, England, transplant, owns and operates a local recording studio where the Damwell Betters learned to turn stripped-down recordings into lush productions. Other band members include lead guitarist Joe Caladrino, Patrick Miller on drums, and Jordan Laier playing piano, pedal steel and guitar.
Last year the group played all over the Midwest, toured the East Coast, and
slipped in a couple of showcases while in New York City. Plans for 2009 include
more tours in the spring and summer and more recordings after that. After all,
they are a real-live, honest-to-goodness, rock band, playing songs, recording
albums and touring the country. What else do you want them to do?
The Damwell Betters celebrate the release of Coming in Hot at Bar None (5th and Monroe) on Friday, Dec. 19, with a 7 p.m. show (for the early birds) and a 10 p.m. show (for those with a later bedtime).Find out more at www.myspace.com/thedamwellbetters.