Thomas D’Amour–I recently chatted with Thomas D’Amour about music. He said that the words need to be first. “Imperfect” vocal quality and guitar skills can be corrected, but to him, if the lyrics aren’t right, there is no place to hide.
Not that he claims to be the best musician in the world. D’Amour considers himself an outsider musician. He just does what he does without having the burden of a lot of theory behind him. “I really don’t know much about music.”
D’Amour told me about the time he was working with a session guy, who asked what key he was playing in. Ever the quick wit, he shrugged his shoulders. “J sharp perhaps?”
Thomas D’Amour–About the Words
“I think that Thomas D’Amour Band is about words”. D’Amour said that as far as he is concerned, it’s not about being the best singer or guitar player. “You gotta have the right lyrics.”
As a grade schooler, D’Amour would listen to the 50’s station on a small transistor radio, that he had smuggled into his pillow at night when he was supposed to be going to sleep. “I liked Del Shannon’s Runaway, and Freddy Canon’s Palisades Park.”
When he was eleven or twelve years old, his relatives helped introduce him to new music. “Yeah, I had cool older cousins who were listening to Elton John, David Bowie, Pink Floyd.” As D’Amour got into his teens, he was discovering other important music. For his 15th birthday, he was gifted vinyl recordings of Kiss Alive II, Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, and Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps.
That was about the time he went to his first punk show, and had his first experience with hallucinogens. “5 Balls of Power, 7 Seconds, and G.G. Allin!” ‘Nuff said.
Thomas D’Amour–New Sounds and Influences
D’Amour talked about finding out about bands like the Violent Femmes, Bad Brains, and the Cramps, when he was in high school, So much of the music he and his friends were exposed to were on the cd compilations that came with Maximumrocknroll magazine.
D’Amour started playing guitar and writing songs after reading a biography of Woody Guthrie. Soon after, a friend gave him a copy of a Johnny Thunders record. That did it. He said his music changed forever. “Thunders, you damned junkie” he added. Some of his other major influences include Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and David Bowie.
Thomas D’Amour–Live Music and Studio Recordings
D’Amour said that the recording process taught him a lot about other aspects of song writing and creating music in general. He says that people seem to like what he is doing, This is a good thing. “Becuse it’s all i know how to do”.
D’Amour said he loves doing live performances about best. He told me that the recording process was always a little weird. So they recorded the bulk of the record live, just vocals, guitar, and drums “Steve and I played the songs together and that really helped me. No click track”. Bass was added later.
After playing music in various bands for 20 years, D’Amour still remembers the first song he ever wrote, a song called Mrs. Clean. “It was about a girl I wanted to go out with. She wouldn’t because I was a dirty hippy.”
Although D’Amour has generally played as a solo artist, he had been part of a New Mexico band called the Velvet Camel Toe before he started the Thomas D’Amour Band.
D’Amour said that if it needed to be categorized, his music could best be described as old timey and angry. Listen to it, see what you think.
Check out the Thomas D’Amour Band —
The Thomas D’Amour band is Thomas D’Amour on guitar and vocals, Jim Tierney on bass, and Steve Toland on drums.