The Deathray Davies Turn Back the Clock With Time Well Wasted

Plus, group mainstay John Dufiho reveals how the power pop faves got their name

The Deathray Davies (Art: Ron Hart)

Despite a name often prone to misinterpretation, The Deathray Davies are practitioners of pure pop, a tact inspired, at least in part, by the famous namesake who gives his surname to their handle. 

So too, the band’s mainstay, John Dufiho, has maintained a dizzying musical journey  that’s found each of the outfits he’s been involved with — I Love Math, the Clifffs, Apples in Stereo, and the like — given to left of center intents. Nevertheless, the band’s trajectory has been stilted at best; indeed, the title of Dufiho and company’s latest opus, Time Well Wasted, refers to the fact that it’s been more than a decade and a half since their last outing.

Fortunately then, the new album shows that the band, and Dufiho in particular, are none the worse for wear. “I’m In Love With Alexa,” “Medicine Head,” “Talking With Friends,” and “Don’t Let Me Fall” each manage to maintain the power pop trajectory the band has procured from early on, complete with the compelling choruses, catchy melodies and slightly irreverent attitude that typifies all that best rock and roll has represented over the course of its more than 60-something years of existence. 

The Deathray Davies Time Well Wasted, Glurp Records 2021

Indeed, it’s a musical mantra that’s always inspired the man who gave Dufiho’s band its name.

“I was listening a lot to The Village Green Preservation Society when I first came up with it,” Dufiho reflects when ask how he came up with the group’s handle early on.  “Honestly, I’m not sure where the ‘Deathray’ part came from. For the record, I named the band before I’d ever heard of the Dandy Warhols, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, or any of those bands. I’d hate for someone to ever think I was jumping on that vibe.”

Of course, no one could be blamed for being confused by the references. At least two of the song titles — “They Took Your Brains Tonight” and  “Lucas, I’m in Room 39” — eschew an obvious connection. However there’s vindication to be had in the fact that Dave Davies’ son Daniel once offered his own nod of affirmation

“He called me out of the blue once, asking about our two bands playing together,” Dufiho says proudly. “He said he’d heard about us ‘from his Uncle Ray.’  I’ve never met Ray myself, but one year, when we were playing SXSW, Ray was one of the guest speakers. Someone asked if he was planning on coming to see us. I’m told he joked, ‘I’m not sure I wanna seek out anyone who puts the word ‘death’ in front of my name.’ I found that pretty funny. I’m obviously a big fan, so hopefully someone will pass our new record on to him. I think he might like it.”

 

 

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Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman is a writer and columnist based in beautiful Maryville Tennessee. Over the past 20 years, his work has appeared in dozens of leading music publications. He is also the author of Americana Music: Voice, Visionaries, and Pioneers of an Honest Sound, which will be published by Texas A&M University Press early next year.

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