I am a musician who used to do the music scene thing full time in my 20’s, but now works full time in public education and political organizing while moonlighting in music as much as time allows. This website is mostly focused on music, rather than on stuff I do as a teacher for Durham Public Schools and Treasurer of the Durham Association of Educators. So if you’re here cuz you like art-rock, trip hop, lo fi indie tapes, and sounds generally “Out” etc. – or if you’re curious about though unfamiliar with those things – read on.
Musically, I’m most known for having released a bunch of records in the ’90s under my own name and as half of a duo called the Folk Implosion that I co-founded with Lou Barlow in 1993 and left in 2000. I/we worked with both indie and major record labels, including Shrimper, Communion, London, Domino, Interscope, and BMG. Folk Implosion songs have been featured on various film soundtracks, (Kids, Adaptation,) soundtrack albums, (American Beauty,) and TV shows, (The People vs. OJ Simpson, NFL on Fox, 20/20, The Today Show.) We had a one-hit wonder Top 40 hit with Natural One off the Kids soundtrack, but were not formed or motivated by pursuing that kind of thing generally. It was just one spark that flew off the wheel of 8 years of burying ourselves in the process of creative reinvention through making records.
I did not release anything from 2000 – 2013 after FI broke up. After getting established in teaching, I came back with the album Spare Parts in October of 2013 on the Shrimper label. There is a separate page with more information about this album on this website. After that came an album called El Pulpo on October 20th of 2017 via Shrimper, Arbouse Recordings in France, and my own new label Inundation Records. I made the album with producer Scott Solter and a constantly morphing backing band called The Cicadas. The album received 9/10 stars in the December issue of Magnet Magazine. Bandcamp chose the record as Album of the Day in late November, calling it a “really, really catchy work of non-fiction.” You can buy it on my Bandcamp page, or stream it on the big box websites that shall remain nameless.
The Bandcamp page also features three albums of electronically remixed guitar improvisations that were released as small run side projects: We’ll Teach Them How to Privatize, (original cassette release on Unread Records, 2015,) Outside a Small City, (original LP release on Almost Halloween Time Records in April 2019), and Gnawing on the Bone, (original CD release on Inundation Records in July of 2019.)
Two releases are upcoming in the fall of 2020: Arches & Pathways, an LP that I recorded in July ’19 with longtime friend and Shrimper Records collaborator Dennis Callaci, and Pure Night Plus, a 2xCD compilation of early solo material that has not previously been available in the digital realm, (Pure Night, RIP DIY, Stars and Songs, Instress 7″). I’m also in the late stages of working an LP with the Cicadas about the 19th c. Western expansion of the United States. You can check out more details about those projects on the Upcoming Projects page of this website.
The Shows and Events page of the siteu has been dormant due to the pandemic, unfortunately. When (the USA gets its shit together and) that blockade lifts, I plan to return to our general pattern of touring when I have spring break and summer vacation, along with scattered & sporadic weekend shows during the school year when I am mostly busy with teaching and organizing.
I was born in Brattleboro, VT, grew up in Cambridge MA, and spent most of my life in Cambridge or Watertown until I moved to Durham NC in August of 2013. I have a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University and a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Lesley University. I have practiced Vipassana or Insight meditation since 1986.
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John H. Davis