& the Pink Hearts
A 2010 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Stooges, James Williamson is now set to make his most stylistically diverse musical statement to date with his new group, JAMES WILLIAMSON & THE PINK HEARTS. Fronted by Los Angeles-based vocalists Frank Meyer (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs) and Petra Haden (That Dog, The Haden Triplets), the Pink Hearts’ repertoire encompasses everything from feral rockers to soul-searching balladry. Behind the Shade by James Williamson & the Pink Hearts will be released on LP+CD, standalone CD, and digitally by Leopard Lady Records on Friday, June 22, 2018.
Recorded last year in Berkeley (instrumentation) and Los Angeles (vocals), Behind the Shade is a thoroughly modern rock album which also evokes the most stirring elements of Seventies rock ‘n’ roll. “You Send Me Down” is an exuberant party starter with keyboards funky enough to have been lifted from the Billy Preston songbook, while “Pink Hearts Across the Sky” (a sure-fire favorite at AAA Radio) is resilient Americana with a crystal clear vocal performance by Haden worthy of Linda Ronstadt. The lonely, late-night afterglow of Alejandro Escovedo’s “Died a Little Today” (the album’s sole cover and a CD-only bonus track) features a plaintive vocal by Haden accompanied by swooning lap steel. “Destiny Now” pairs melodic rock guitar with vocals reminiscent of ‘90s college rock favorites Madder Rose and Bettie Seveert. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Meyer’s raw, rabble-rousing vocals throw kerosene on the riff-driven assault of “Riot on the Strip” and “The Revolution Stomp.” Meyer also has room to get contemplative on the buzzing underground strut of “Miss Misery” and the tough-as-nails rocker “Judith Christ.” “This Garden Lies” is another standout as Meyer’s passionate tale of love gone wrong is propelled by violin, sax, and a blazing Spanish trumpet.
Meyer, a consistently impressive songwriting force on the album, penned all of the lyrics and co-shares the lead vocals. Haden’s violin graces five tracks and her voice appears throughout the album, either singing lead, on duets with Meyer, or providing harmonies. Williamson supplies all of the riffs, guitar parts, and most bass parts. In addition, Behind the Shade features a wide array of talented accompanists. Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth, Bourgeois Tagg, Todd Rundgren, John Hiatt) provides inventive percussion and driving drum patterns. Gregg Foreman, Hervé Salters, Paul Roessler, Nick Hart, and Audrey Vera guest on keyboards and piano. Additional musicians on the sessions are Jason Carmer (bass), Don Rooke (lap steel), Geoff Yeaton (saxophone), Tony Peebles (saxophone), and Steffen Kuehn (trumpets).
James Williamson is best known for co-writing with Iggy Pop, and playing all the guitars on, 1973’s seminal Raw Power album by Iggy & the Stooges. That album’s lead track, “Search and Destroy,” has become a rite of passage for any self-respecting rocker and has been covered by Pearl Jam with Mudhoney, Def Leppard, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sid Vicious, The Dead Boys, and countless others. Dropped by CBS Records, The Stooges disbanded in February, 1974, although Williamson continued to work with Pop, off and on, throughout the 1970s. This period yielded the demo collection Kill City (1977), the infamous live album Metallic K.O. (1977), and produced a pair of Pop solo albums, New Values (1979) and Soldier (1980, pre-production). After a long break during which Williamson lived in Silicon Valley and worked as a technological developer, he reunited with Pop, in a version of the Raw Power lineup of The Stooges, in 2009. Following several tours which played on multiple continents, The Stooges released a final studio album, Ready to Die (2013), produced and co-written by Williamson. Although The Stooges played their final live dates in September 2013, it wasn’t until June of 2016 that Williamson released an official statement on behalf of the band saying that The Stooges were no more.
Long Island Pulse (interview w/ James about Iggy & Bowie)
Rolling Stone (exclusive album announcement)
GuitarWorld.com (album announcement)
Guitar Player (album announcement)
Blabbermouth.net (album announcement)
Ten-Midnight.com (album announcement)
Magnet Magazine (album announcement)
California Rocker (James Williamson interview)
PunkNews.org (album announcement)
James Williamson and the Pink Hearts
Teaser trailer for Behind the Shade (Leopard Lady Records, 2018)
'Guitar Moves' with James Williamson
Pitchfork Liner Notes:
'Iggy and the Stooges: Raw Power in 5 Minutes'
James Williamson & friends live in Los Angeles
at the Bootleg Theatre, January 19, 2015