Michael Ochs Archives An eclectic group of artists has been assembled for You…
- Posted on Jun 30th 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
As Escovedo explained Tuesday night at New York's City Winery, midway through the first of this week's three record-release shows, he wrote the tune in honor of the teenager, a sullen graffiti artist and punk-rock singer.
'He's six-foot two, size 13 shoe," Escovedo said Tuesday, describing his son for both the capacity crowd and community of fans listening live via WFUV, Fordham University's radio station. "He kind of reminds me of Joey Ramone."
Escovedo knows a thing or two about punk legends. Long before the San Antonio native reinvented himself as a roots-rock troubadour, he played guitar in the Nuns, the San Francisco group that opened for the original incarnation of the Sex Pistols at their final US gig. He later moved to New York City's Chelsea Hotel and hung with such gutter luminaries as Sid Vicious.
While Escovedo's punk past would seem to qualify him as a cooler-than-average dad, Paris Diego is not impressed. Asked recently what he thinks of his pop's music, the youngster held nothing back.
"He said, 'It's old man's music,'" a grinning Escovedo recalled Tuesday, adding that when he was 18, he probably would have said the same thing.
The extent to which Escovedo sees himself in his son explains the compassion behind 'Down in the Bowery,' a tender ballad in the tradition of Bob Dylan's 'Forever Young.' In the song, Escovedo tells the boy to be as loud and snotty as he wants, just as long as he stays true to himself.
Escovedo has done well following that advice. Tuesday night, even as he focused on songs from his two most recent albums -- 'Street Songs of Love' and 2008's 'Real Animal,' both guitar-heavy rock records produced by Tony Visconti -- he drew on various stages of his rich and varied life, referencing his Tex-Mex heritage, California glam-rock adolescence and eventual Austin alt-country renaissance.
On opener 'Always a Friend,' the leadoff track from 'Real Animal,' Escovedo settled into a hunched punk stance and chopped at his guitar like Joe Strummer. While he played the occasional solo, such as the squalling urban sandstorm he kicked up during 'Chelsea Hotel '78,' he mostly let his three-piece backing band, the Sensitive Boys, handle the intricate bits.
'Street Songs of Love' features guest vocals by Bruce Springsteen, who sadly did not make an appearance at City Winery, and Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter, who thankfully did. Hunter joined the band for an encore rendition of the 1973 Mott tune 'I Wish I Was Your Mother,' pairing his glorious wrung-dry croon with Escovedo's emotive everyman bark.
All these years later, if Escovedo is still looking to rock music for his sense of self, it's hard to imagine he feels unsatisfied.