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With a rock-n-roll attitude and a rock-n-soul vibe, The New York Lovebirds wow their cult following with songs of nitty-gritty hope and hard joy.

— Dembro Silasi

New York Is Forever
New York Is Forever
New York Is Forever
New York Is Forever
New York Is Forever
New York Is Forever
New York Is Forever
New York Is Forever

Buy the new album——New York Is Forever——now at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and other popular music vendors.

 

The New York Lovebirds
The New York Lovebirds
The New York Lovebirds
The New York Lovebirds
The New York Lovebirds
The New York Lovebirds
The New York Lovebirds
The New York Lovebirds

For bookings, queries or comments, contact the Lovebirds at ContactNYLB@gmail.com.

 

 

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The Lovebirds played the last gig of their Parkside Lounge (317 E. Houston St.) residency on Wednesday, July 13. The set list introduced two new rockers, “Devastating Love Affair” and “How the Mighty Have Fallen.”

Special thanks to Taylor—of Taylor and the Apes—for the long run. Thanks again, Taylor.

The Video

The Album

The Story of The New York Lovebirds

delp 128 (compressed)The Early Days

My first and only other band, Peter Sellers’ Girlfriend, made its first demo with producer Art Difuria in Philadelphia, in 1990. Hearing the tape, Brad Morrison (Spiral Jetty), the music-industry maverick who founded Whiskey A Go Go Records and discovered Phish, invited us, in 1993, to his farm in upstate New York to re-record the demo, with The Figgs’ Pete Donnelly on bass and Pete Hayes on drums. CMJ said, “This reminds us of everything we loved about Squeeze.” When all the major labels came a-calling, the band broke up. Co-founder Greg Annussek went on to release the well-received Little Palaces (2009). Rock on, Greg.

Why did it take me so long to write a song—the up-tempo gospel number “I Want To Sing in the Choir,” co-penned with Art Now (The Hanoi Swing Band), in April 2005—that stands up straight and looks you in the eye? One thing is clear: I wouldn’t have had the guts to throw away all my songs and change my style without the two years I spent in Bloomington, Ind., with the legendary song doctor Christian Fahlen. Rock on, Christian.

The Debut Gig

The New York Lovebirds debuted as a noise-blues band at the Black Betty in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in November 2005. The band—Dax van Aalten (lead guitar, Music for Cats), Evan Mazunik (keys, ZAHA, Sufjan Stevens), Kevin Lalley (bass, The Ravages) and Christina Rintoul (drums, Band Antenna), with background singers Jerron Harris and Jezrael (Hype of the States)—performed a five-song set: “They Gotta Lotta Soul Down in Minnesota,” “Please Please, Don’t Make Me Beg,” “The Underground Is Underground,” “Big-Hands Bud” and “Cry Down Your Tears.” When the standing-room-only crowd demanded an encore, we played the only other song I had finished since April: “New York Is Forever.”

For the next several years, the Lovebirds played shows with various jazz and rock-soul heads, including Mazunik, Mark Basilin (The Winos), Rory Walsh (Don Cherry, The Jackleg Preachers), Danny Meredith, Marx Njoroge, John Doyle (Science Dog), Josh Dougherty and Stan Killian. During this time, I introduced tunes such as “I’m a Slow Mover,” “Broken Hearts, Desperate Souls,” “Chained to a Mystery,” “The World Is Ever Near,” “How the Mighty Have Fallen,” “Lifetime Woman, Lifetime Man,” “Confidentially Yours” and “Why Can’t We Both Be Wrong?”

The Debut Album: New York Is Forever

In 2012, producer-engineer A.J. Tissian (Action Daddy) invited me to record some material to beta-test his then-yet-to-be-opened studio, The Wave Lab, Williamsburg. With Dougherty on lead guitar, Mazunik on keys, Rockin’ Rob Stoner (Bob Dylan, Robert Gordon) on bass, Rich Crescenti (Bugs in the Dark) on drums and Gina Fletcher (Frankie Paul, Carlene Davis) singing backup, the band serendipitously coalesced. Trusting in the magic of the studio, we recorded quickly. Yes, Stoner made everything better. On the last day of recording, we were lucky to have Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan, The Lounge Lizards) play double bass on the title track. Some tunes slipped through the cracks: “When You’re Leaving L.A.” and “Don’t Let Me Wither on the Vine,” among them. When I asked A.J. if he was using any special production techniques, he said, “I’m pressing the record button.”  Rock on, A.J.

The Right Now

The Lovebirds are now a rock-n-soul outfit—Lauren Kelly Benson on vocals, Jim Menard (The Ravages) on guitar, Lalley on bass and Mark Kirby (Spongehead) on drums—that performs around New York City with a revolving cast of players. Lately, we’ve been trying out tunes like “Contina La Rosa,” “Ain’t Nobody Callin’ Upon the Name of the Lord?” and “The Real Tweakers of Wonder Valley,” you know? We look forward to seeing you somewhere down the road. Tell a friend.

 

Rock on,
David Delp

Covers

“Bad Moon Rising” (John Fogerty)
“Come Fly With Me” (Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen)
“Day After Day” (Pete Ham)
“Hey Julia” (Robert Palmer)
“Horse With No Name” (Dewey Bunnell)
“In the Evening” (Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham)
“Let’s Dance” (David Bowie)
“Many Rivers To Cross” (Jimmy Cliff)
“One Fine Day” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)
“Sunshine of Your Love” (Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, Pete Brown)
“Where Are You Tonight?” (Bob Dylan)
“Girlfriend” (Matthew Sweet)
“Mellow Mood” (Bob Marley)
“September Gurls” (Alex Chilton)
“Pictures of Matchstick Men” (Status Quo)

Reading List

Favorite Quotes

Give me the four drums I know and love.
—Ringo Starr

You should paint like a man coming over the top of the hill singing.
—Robert Henri

In my world, Chuck Berry is irreplaceable. His presence is everywhere, but you never know it. The world treated him so nasty. But, in the end, it was the world that got beat.
—Bob Dylan

I’m a songwriter, and I can write about anything I want to.
—Jimmy Webb

I just want the world to know that God is present—that He’s alive forevermore.
—Jerry Lee Lewis

A great show creates an atmosphere of curiosity.
—Al Green

Ben Johnson used to say he had rather have been the author of the old song “Chevy Chase” than all of his works.
The Spectator, No. 70

I make up [knowledge] by the same method I make up cartoons and stories and dramatic scenes: by committing myself without any sure sense of what comes next—until it comes next and keeps on coming, right or wrong. One thought or idea follows another, leading I-don’t-know-where until, moments later, it dawns on me I know where I’m headed, and it’s the right place.
—Jules Feiffer

Pretty often … you’ve got to have a bad line so that the next one’ll look good. It’s planting, you know.
—Cole Porter

[Dean Martin] returned to the MGM Grand in September [1974]. By now, he had managed to work the word fuck into the lyrics of “Tie a Yellow Ribbon (Round the Old Oak Tree).”
—Nick Tosches, Dino

Songs are just thoughts heroic enough to give the illusion of stopping time.
—Bob Dylan

After years of being in the music business, I finally figured out it’s not about the music—it’s about the attitude behind the music.
—Todd Rundgren

Well, actually, for titles and the purpose of it, [I like my nickname] The Godfather of Soul because it means that I stayed with the music and never left the music. I don’t want to bring America no old sins back. I wanna bring her new blessings. When you see the show, you’ll see there’s one man that stood by his guns.
—James Brown

Well, I can’t get away from the people who created different dimensions—Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Mozart. But if you want the people from today, the people who were able to stay around and do good through a lot of eras, I would say Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Maynard Ferguson. For song styling, I would say Sinatra. I would say Peggy Lee, Aretha. But if you’re talking about really heavy people—heavy, heavy, heavy—I’d say Burt Bacharach.
—James Brown

Fun fact: When travelling, Peggy Lee always took along The Sandpiper by Johnny Mandel and Delius’ “On Hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring.”

Lyrics

“The Underground Is Underground”
(Delp)

Miss Clams Casino slapped my face and she cried,
She said, “There’s all these insiders, baby, but there’s no inside.
Some do it for money, some do it for fame,
Some do it for the love of the game—
Everybody and their guru’s trading up in this town,
But the underground is underground.”

The patron saint of the Gowanus Canal,
Well, she rolled me first, then she showed me how
Enlightenment  comes easy, enlightenment comes cheap:
You can find it on a mountain, you can find it on the street—
You can dig a hole all the way down,
But the underground is underground.

If you are free, be sure to be brave
Or your freedom will make you a slave.
Is there no idea arrayed in majesty?
I say, bring back the duel, bring back the travesty.

Down narrow streets and ever after,
You  follow the music of your angel’s laughter;
Well, she’s gone for good—that much is clear,
But when you turn around she re-appears,
But when she speaks you can’t hear a sound—
The underground is underground.

“The Williamsburg Waltz”
(Delp, Art Now)

There’s a band on the roof, there’s a joke on the stairs,
But Havemeyer makes no sound.
We slide down a rope to the car in the alley
And pass the bottle around.
Fell asleep in a cocktail, woke up in an ashtray,
It’s time to start drinking at last—
I  can hear the angels singing,
at the bottom of my shot glass.

Bring on the whiskey, bring on the beer,
Break out the smelling salts,
And watch us stagger down the street,
Doing the Williamsburg Waltz.

There’s only one gunshot, there’s only one scream:
Your big break is calling your bluff.
One drop of this nectar surely will floor you,
But all the way’s not far enough.
You live by your wits, so you’re starving to death—
For a price that’s nice, it’s free.
If the cops and the robbers can take what they like,
Well, then, tell me, why can’t we?

The pandemonium’s spreading,
As we raid the kingpin’s vaults:
Our getaway’s clean as we duck the scene,
Doing the Williamsburg Waltz.

There’s rats in the walls, there’s a wolf at the door,
There’s a cathedral in your skull—
Oh, the past, it happens so quickly,
In this infinite lull.
Save your heartbreak for Broadway, save your tears for the bridge,
Save yourself, if you can, in the end.
Oh, these dreams, they never die,
Not like your junkie friends.

“Run, Little Sheba”
(Delp)

Run, run, run, run, run, Little Sheba,
Run, run, run, run, run away.
Run, run, run, run, run, Little Sheba,
Well, I know you’ll come back to me someday.

If the kid drops out of school, well, who can blame him?
Spend a night in jail, you’ll get a real education.
On Hope and Havemeyer, strip a Chevy to its tires—
What  a young man can’t accomplish with a crowbar and some pliers.

Patiently waiting for your change of heart.
Patiently waiting, I’ll play my part.

“Killing the Game”
(Delp, Dougherty)

I’ve been in your mansions,
I’ve been in your shack.
I made small talk
With the gamblers in back,
But I was killing the game.

When Lady Luck left me,
Without an excuse—
Lucky for me,
I know how to lose,
Cuz I’ve been killing the game.

I never will play,
Unless I can win.
Do you ever wonder, baby,
Where I’ve been?
I’ve been killing the game.

When I lost a million,
They said I was needy.
When I doubled it back,
They said I was greedy—
But I was killing the game.

What am I doing,
What do I know?
How  could I be lost
When there’s nowhere to go?
I was killing the game,
Yes, killing the game.