Yes, I know, it’s been quite awhile since the last article here on rock nyc. I have been very busy trying to get life situations in working order, plus, most of my recent paintings have been more about spirituality and otherworldliness influences in everyday living. So thank you for bearing with me in my explorations. Let’s rock again!
Greetings gates, this latest article is about Los Angeles based writer/musician/filmmaker/actor/producer Chris Desjardins, also known as Chris D. Chris is a very well known figure, especially here on the West Coast, and has played a major role in the history of punk rock. As the above sentence illustrates, Chris D. is a man of many hats. If a lot of you East Coast and Midwest folks think you don’t know the works of Chris, think again..ever hear of The Dream Syndicate?? The Lazy Cowgirls? Ok, then, read on folks. I will only touch briefly on the many talented facets of this artist that continues to contribute to the creative scene.
In the late ‘70’s, Chris was a writer for the punk L.A. based Slash magazine. Figuring he could do just as good a job or better as the peeps he was covering, he formed The Flesh Eaters. This band, at certain times, contained a virtual who’s who of legendary musicians including John Doe, Dave Alvin, Steve Berlin, Stan Ridgway, D.J. Bonebrake, Tito Larriva and Bill Bateman. The Flesh Eaters were a mix of rockabilly, roadhouse blues, country western and even a bit of jazz. Chris’s punk rock poetry tied everything together in a stew of street blues and cinematic visuals.
In the early 80’s Chris was an in-house producer for Slash and Ruby Records. He produced several influential bands such as The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red, The Gun Club and (my ex band before I was a member) The Lazy Cowgirls. A few years after this, Chris formed The Divine Horsemen with then wife Julie Christensen. I had the pleasure of seeing this band many times. The couple made for a great onstage team, Chris’s voice representing a bellowing from some deep well of sadness and grief, coming from a place where we, as humans, do not want to be or to hear, nor to share, was often responded and complimented by Julie’s incredibly beautiful, strong and melodic do-the-right-thing with a touch of devilry siren-esque vocals. Mix this with a crack band, insightful, gutty, no holds barred lyrics and promises and you had an incredible musical experience. Youtube “Past All Dishonor” for a great example of what went down.
In the late 80’s Chris acted in the independent film “Border Radio” directed by Allison Anders. He has also acted in the Kevin Costner vehicle “No Way Out”. Chris also wrote and directed “I Pass For Human” which was released in 2004.
Finally, Chris has written several books including “Double Snake Bourbon”, “A Minute to Pray a Second to Die”, “Mother’s Worry”, “Shallow Water”, “No Evil Star”, “Dragon Wheel Splendor & Other Love Stories of Violence and Dread”, “Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film” and finally a work that has taken nearly 20 years to complete, an encyclopedia of Japanese yakuza films titled, “Gun and Sword: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980. This man knows his stuff, peeps. His writing is very cinematic with nods to Jim Thompson and American pulp culture often diving headfirst into dark soulless waters. Many of his life experiences come out in his writings. Great stuff and I highly recommend his works.
I have always been a fan of Chris and his music. I have just recently gotten into his writings. I felt the need to let people that may not be aware of his talents to check him out. Plus I enjoy doing portraits of peeps that I dig…and it is truly an honor to present Chris with this piece. My portrait was based on a picture that I found on the internet. Unfortunately, I cannot find the photographer that took the photo. The Big Huerta always wants to leave a nod of appreciation for the nudge of creation. Chris is portrayed in his classic Levi jacket and black shirt. I used vibrant colors radiating from him to portray the creative genius and the emitting of otherwise unseen light rays that flow back and forth as he taps outside energies. I thought it would be a nice change because a lot of his pix and feelings in his work have a dark quality to them. The energies close to his body are of black and white but to have lived and survived in the darkness you must be able to see and live in the current light of color…and this is what Chris has done. I made one of his eyes red to symbolize the flag of Japan. Chris has written a couple books on Japanese cinema and is a huge historian of Japanese yakuza film….just my nod to his work in that area.
Folks, please do yourselves a favor and explore the musical and written works of Chris Desjardins. He is truly a renaissance man and a treasure to our generation.
weaving a fairy tale for us to get lost in
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1973 (Volume 5, Number 2)
“I don’t consider David (Bowie) to be even remotely big enough to be any competition.”
an old school New York feel
oedipal vulnerable and blue collar visceral
An emotional song with Miya’s acrobatic and vulnerable vocals
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1973 (Volume 4, Number 12)
From Robert Johnson to the Ramones – what a life!
one of the great top tens of the 2020
will mark their return to the road in early February, 2023 with a string of to-be-announced US arena dates
enjoyable and soulful romp
another full day of music