Genres:Gospel/Religious, Electronic - Pop, Electronic - Big Beat, Pop Rock, Pop - Electronic, Alternative Pop, Specialty - Soundtrack Alternatives, Rock - Pop Rock, Rock - Indie Rock, Rock - Experimental/Post-Rock, Rock - Alternative Rock, Rock - Alternative Pop , Latin - Reggaeton
“I can see what Jed Davis was trying to say to me.”
So sings Daniel Johnston in his cover of Jed’s “Enlightenment.”
What Johnston sees, what Jed shows through his immense catalog of songs, is: Life is like passion fruit, its bitterness inseparable from sweetness. To have joy and love you must also have loneliness; but with loneliness you will also have joy and love.
Jed tells us: Cherish your friends because they must someday leave you (I’ll “Hold ya, brother, [at] Denny’s 3 am” because life is fleeting; every late-night meal together could be our last). (Or, for that matter, “I squint to see it as it was when this neighborhood was yours,” as Jed wrote in “The Bowery Electric”).
Cherish your friends because someday you will leave them. (“Now we pass on the street and pretend we never met,” as Jed sings in “Silhouettes”).
Cherish your friends because we’re all assholes. Life hurts and we’re here together, so love me though I’m an asshole. After all, I love you for being one. (“You’ve got seven little tumors but they’re all benign, so it’s OK to start smoking again,” you self-destructive fucker).
I suspect the members of King Missile chose to cover Jed’s “Step On Me” because they’ve known what it’s like to obsessively and joyfully want someone who only wants you to go away. And they saw how genuinely and un-sappily the song conveys that experience.
My personal favorite snapshot of the way Jed views and captures life is in the above-mentioned “The Bowery Electric,” a tribute to the late Joey Ramone. And what a tribute: After hearing it, the surviving Ramones – Tommy, Marky and CJ, and their longtime producer and stunt-guitarist Daniel Rey – reunited for a bittersweet recording session. And Jed, lucky bastard, did the singing.
Over the years we’ve known Jed, what has not changed about him is that no genre can contain him; and there is no genre he will not conquer. He has done doo-wop, electroclash, goth, madrigal, mëtal, prog-rock, pop, punk, rockabilly, ska, techno, zydeco and some ancient thing my dad used to call “rock and roll.” All with a light touch, a love of found sounds, and a knack for unexpected pauses and impossible changes in rhythm.
If there is heaven, or the buddhafield, or the summerland, it will include a cozy piano bar where Jed knocks out his tunes and we, all of us, the fallen homies for whom the dead pour out beer upon the floor, sing along:
“Ya know there are a million better places for both of us to be. Tell me, when you’re ready for the world, would ya mind being seen with me?”
Listen to his music and realize you are Jed Davis; I am Jed Davis; we are all Jed Davis.