On the 1st stretch of their trip, the 5 members of James Jackson Toth's touring band are still adjusting to being crammed with their gear into a little modern family van they rented in San Fransisco.
Fiddling with pedals, cables and batteries, the big sweet teddy bear of a guy, James Jackson, patiently goes through a list out loud of ways to streamline their set-up in the 40-odd days that will follow.
This easygoing attitude is an unexpected surprise. The press picture we saw before meeting James depicted him as potentially psycho-scary ... like, lock up your women, booze and anything that could be construed as a weapon. And although his demeanor is of true penetrating warmth, curiously James is still a guy you get the feeling you just wouldn't want to tangle with.
James Jackson Toth - Aquarium Drunkard Sessions at ChessVolt Studios - "My Paint" from Aquarium Drunkard on Vimeo.
It's in the mood of his songs. Killer, killer songs that are fluid yet tightly coordinated at the same time. James Jackson Toth and his band, the Type A Negatives, sound like old Stones on edge in a big bad way.
Toth mock-jesting offers that his songs are "all about evil.....and the redemption that follows".
The darkness of his music intrigues. Toth invites you to swim around in a languid, perhaps dangerous, inner realm with his music where it feels murky good, like a mud bath from the inside out. He delivers the goods reminiscent of Jagger circa 1968: both sexy and haunting, wild and exhilirating while simultaneously sedative.
It takes a few good listens to make out the lyrics to his energetic My Paint, a compellingly badass tune referencing a horse. Do What You Can urges earthy passion. And Look In On Me, with the harmonies of his wife and bandmate, Jessie Lynn, has a Little Feat feeling thrown in to this visceral love song in which he delivers the line, "...sometimes I think I'd rather go blind if I can't be yours and you can't be mine...".
The band is: James Jackson Toth on guitar and lead vocals; Jexie Lynn Toth on vocals and keys;
Shayde Sartin on bass (his traveling funky Vox Teardrop ala Fat Dog in Berkeley) and vocals; Wymond Miles on Fender Jaguar, keys and vocals; and Richard Gowen on drums and vocals.
Listen to/download the Tracks:
Do What You Can
Look In On Me
James Jacskson Toth's record, Waiting in Vain, is out on Ryko.
James Jackson Toth on Myspace