On the eve of the release of a new Danny and Dusty album, Cast Iron Soul on Blue Rose Records, I caught up with the enduring twosome (A.K.A Dan Stuart and Steve Wynn), who were happy to talk about their revitalized songwriting partnership, taking up the reins from "The Lost Weekend" way back in 1985. Chris Cacavas and Stephen McCarthy are still around on the scene, and joined Danny and Dusty for the recording sessions again, along with Johnny Hott and Bob Rupe. JD Foster produced.
What's the Danny and Dusty mood like on the eve of a European tour and a new album due to drop any day?
Danny: We're fairly confident that lift-off will occur, although we've had to get a US Congressman involved on our behalf. No shit.
Dusty: Las Vegas is taking odds on whether my ankle or Dan's hip will be the first to go. Me, I'm going for the long shot of perfect health, good music, and a lot of ham and cheese sandwiches.
Twenty years has passed since "The Lost Weekend" sessions, how was the recording process this time around?
Danny: Kinda spooky down there in Richmond with the fog coming out of the trees and all… lotta jinns flying around. The lord of the manor and engineer Bruce Olsen really knows how to set a mood, reminded me of crazy Memphis sessions I've enjoyed.
Dusty: Yeah, it was all pretty dreamlike. We just woke up at some point and the record was finished. There's something to be said for playing with such good musicians who share some kind of historical DNA with you.
Did you try anything different or new down at SoundDog in Richmond?
Danny: I sang with a finger in one ear just like Mike Love… or was it with a thumb up my ass?
Dusty: I gave up control.
Whose idea was it to write and record again?
Danny: It's been on the back burner for years but after Steve broke his ankle he was trapped…
Dusty: Yeah, Dan, but you had to come out of retirement like Michael Jordan.
Danny: Sure it wasn't like Jose Canseco? I'll settle for Larry Holmes.
How are the war wounds shaping up ? You`ve got a nice trawl round Europe in front of you coming up, right?
Danny: Dusty seems spry but I'm still a gimp, maybe I'll get me a cortisone shot before the tour… which street corner I wonder? Upper east side?
Dusty: It's come down to that. Cortisone? Ice packs? We used to find other ways to dull our pain but it was all emotional pain back then. I think I prefer the present situation.
Any plans to write more Danny and Dusty tunes?
Danny: We're thinking about Broadway…
Dusty: Or the Catskills.
What do you get out of touring these days?
Danny: A complimentary International Herald Tribune and a blowjob… well the paper's nice.
Dusty: Uh, Dan, I think you have a different rider out there. I knew I should have read it before I signed off.
What is on the Danny and Dusty rider for this tour?
Dusty: Beer, whiskey, wine, tequila, vodka — we don't actually drink any of it. Just sits there on the shelf and we pray to it like some kind of pagan ritual.
Danny: I say liquidate the whole shebang… a deli tray of banknotes, that would be dandy.
Who is playing with you on this tour?
Danny: The Richmond mafia with some cactushead from Germany… same as the record.
Did you have a special songwriting session for the album, or were these songs knocking around for a while?
Danny: It was mostly written last fall north of 96th Street in upper Manhattan.
Dusty: Yeah, at my place but also in diners, Riverside Park and the back room at Manny's. I think there was some guy in the corner paying "Dust In the Wind." He's hitting me up for co-writing credit, the bastard.
Danny: Lot's of pow-wows with JD Foster at Congee Village on Bowery as well. They finally chased us out of there.
When was the last time you two had an `artistic` conflict?
Danny: This morning? Let's see, Virginia or North Carolina BBQ? Zodiac or Son of Sam? Yankees or Mets? No one ever really wins these things…
Dusty: Yeah, choosing lunch is a pretty big issue.
If you could put the clock back 20 years, what would you do differently?
Danny: Drink less and fuck more… oh and learn French, naturellement.
Dusty: Why didn't I just make that same choice back in 1984? Well, there is a certain natural physical logic to the converse if you think about it.
What's new on other projects, solo or otherwise?
Danny: I've been asked to form a think tank on global worming… big problem for cats and dogs… and goats as well. No one ever cares about goats, except Mexicans when they're throwing a party… count me in.
Dusty: Don't look back, something might be gaining on you. Just like Satchel Paige said.
If you weren't doing this for a living, what would you be doing?
Danny: For a living? Paul, I happen to be an amateur in the classic sense… or maybe it's the modern definition? Where's that French dictionary? Merde.
Dusty: There's a big market for amateurs, Dan. This is the 21st Century, after all. I'm gonna teach my dog to play volleyball and then make a fortune when it gets on YouTube.
Danny: Make sure you clean up after him… it's the law.
As I trudge off wearily to find the mop, bucket and rubber gloves, the sun sets low over George Michaels stalled BMW. I am treading softly, I dont want to wake him. So, watch out for a Pan American Global Worming Policy and a Dog Volleyball Pre-Olympics Training Film, coming at you very soon. I`ve marked your cards, you have been warned. Thank you kindly fellas. The tour starts April 10th at The Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium, ending April 22nd at Knust, Hamburg, Germany. Cast Iron Soul is out on Blue Rose Records on April 5th.
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