Gary Lucas   reviews  

East Coast Romper, Posted: 2/1/2007 5:22:53 PM

Mighty Quinn Productions

Like I’ve said in the past, being a part of ECR has turned me on to many great bands / artists which I may have otherwise never known. Gary Lucas is one of those artists. Mr. Lucas has had a long career with his most notable stint being the guitarist for Captain Beefheart while also collaborating with the likes of Nick Cave, thrash jazz assassin John Zorn and folk rock legend Joan Osborne to name a few. On most of the tracks on Coming Clean he dives into both the singer and song writer role and does a masterful job weaving in and out of various genres from the mellow Follow to the seductive Skin Diving to the heavy reverb rockabilly cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Ain’t Got You to the full on blues of Under My Wing. Phish fans should dig Hurly Burly while the vocals of Richard Barone give Land’s End a major hook that grabs on the first listen. Another notable track is One Man’s Meat which features New York Dolls vocalist David Johansen and has a saxophone freakout that would win solid marks from the aforementioned Mr. Zorn. This CD is a keeper.

written by: Samuel Adams

Variety, Posted: Sun., Jan. 21, 2007, 8:00pm PT

Gary Lucas' Gods and Monsters

(Knitting Factory; 400 capacity; $25) Presented by Winter Jazzfest.

Band: Gary Lucas, Ernie Brooks, Jason Candler, Billy Ficca. Special guest: Roswell Rudd. Henry Grimes' Spaceship on the Highway also performed. Reviewed Jan. 20, 2007.

Although calling their one-night gathering a "festival" might be stretching the definition of the term a bit, the organizers of Gotham's third annual Winter Jazzfest did an admirable job of spanning the genre's reaches to bring together some of the current scene's more intriguing, just-under-the-radar performers—like guitarist Gary Lucas' estimable Gods and Monsters.

On this night, Lucas' regular combo was augmented by trombonist Roswell Rudd—a pioneering free-jazz player who worked closely with musicologist Alan Lomax on myriad world music recording ventures. Rudd didn't call upon those experiences here, instead harkening back to his days as a Dixieland bawler—all the better to spice up the roadhouse gumbo of Arthur Russell's "Let's Go Swimmin."

Lucas obligingly made room for Rudd's visceral, borderline pugilistic playing, but he certainly avoided fading into the background himself. His fleetness—vividly displayed in the bluesy "One Man's Meat," culled from the new Mighty Quinn release "Coming Clean"—was bracing: Taken in conjunction with his deft use of effects that imparted voices both surreally spacey and woozily woodsy, it was positively intoxicating.

Lucas has an uncanny ability to transmogrify source material, finding twisted roots and unexpected back allies that most performers would either pass over or simply not recognize. That knack allowed him to find the inner Duane Eddy swing in Abdullah Ibrahim's "Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro" and to divine a common thread between Miles Davis' "Right Off" and Suicide's "Ghost Rider," which he wove into a medley that— thanks in part to the skittering rhythms of erstwhile Television drummer Billy Ficca—stung like a swarm of bees.

HITS, January 19, 2007

Gary Lucas – Gods & Monsters, Coming Clean (Mighty Quinn)

“Evolving so unique and autonomous/That it almost appears to be a separate universe,” sings collaborator David Johansen on the co-written, myth-making “One Man’s Meat” and he could almost be referring to the progress of noted guitar muso Lucas himself. As one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, Gary’s major claims to fame include membership in Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band circa his early ‘80s Virgin albums and founding Gods & Monsters, the late ‘80s N.Y. outfit where he first worked with the late Jeff Buckley, co-authoring classics like “Grace” and “Mojo Pin,” a version of which is included here. Unlike most axe wizards, the eclectic Lucas doesn’t allow his guitar pyrotechnics—which range from Leo Kottke-Jerry Garcia-style bluegrass vamping on songs like “Fata Morgana” and the dobro-esque delta strum in his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ain’t Got You” to the searing solo in the title track or the spot-on British Invasion psychedelia of “Land’s End”—to get in the way of his lush melodies. A true believer that music is a vehicle for transcendence as well as climax, the Yale English lit major balances metaphysics in the Byrds/Eagles/R.E.M.-like “Follow” (“And when the feeling flows/From your head down to your toes/And the light within you shows/There’s a way beyond this woe”) with pure physicality, as in the oozing sensuality of “Skin Diving,” where French singing star Elli Medeiros echoes his twangy, percolating guitar lines by cooing seductively in the language of lovers. His three-piece band’s take on Bernard Hermann’s “Psycho” theme is yet another highlight, turning the famed Hitchcock riff into a miniature, Wire-like punk epic. Aside from Johansen, Lucas is joined by his original Gods & Monsters bassist, Harvard grad and former Modern Lover Ernie Brooks, Television drummer Billy Ficca and Bongos’ lead singer Richard Barone, creating a band of new wave all-stars in the tradition of his legendary group with Buckley. And if you doubt that Lucas was Buckley’s finest collaborator, dig the version of their “Mojo Pin” here, featuring vocals by N.Y. singer-songwriter Michael Schoen. He may have Ivy League credentials, but Gary Lucas isn’t afraid to get down and dirty.

—Roy Trakin,

Time Out New York, January 4, 2007

Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters offers rootsy, hard-groovin' rock goosed by the leader's eclectic guitar virtuosity. The band's latest, "Coming Clean" (Mighty Quinn) features the usual art-rock all-stars—Modern Lovers bassist Ernie Brooks, Swans drummer Jonathan Kane, and Television's Billy Ficca—plus plenty of Lucas's smoky crooning and fiery strums.

Issue of 2007-01-08


Gary Lucas, the thinking man's guitar hero, spent time in Taipei when he was young, went on to back Captain Beefheart, and has had a solo career that embraces the avant-garde and alternative rock in equal measures. His band Gods and Monsters plays slightly psychedelic rock with an edge of Americana, and he brings them to the Bowery Poetry Club for an early-January workout.

308 Bowery, at Bleecker St. (212-614-0505)—Jan. 5: Gods and Monsters is the rock outlet for the maverick ex-Captain Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas. While the ever-shifting ensemble has featured such names as Matthew Sweet and the late Jeff Buckley (Lucas co-wrote his hit “Grace”), the current incarnation includes the former Television drummer, Billy Ficca, and the onetime Modern Lovers bassist, Ernie Brooks, making the band an underground-rock fan’s dream team.