Davey and the Trainwreck are a Hoboken band that formed in 2010 lead by Dave Calamoneri. The Latest Noise sat down with Davey to discuss their show at White Eagle Hall,talk about the songwriting process and about the various 'Trainwrecks' that have graced the stage over the years.
Kuz: Hey Davey! How did Davey & The Trainwreck band come about?
Davey: I had been playing solo acoustic, I was itching for a band behind me. At the time, I was playing bass in Bill Hamilton’s band Nipsey and he had just recorded with Jim D and Tommy Costagliola. I told Bill then I was going to steal his band because those were two guys I wanted to play with. I always had a good chemistry with them. We formed Davey about seven years ago. Jim D is the one who came up with the name Trainwreck, because we are all train wrecks, even as other members come into certain gigs, they tend to be train wrecks. We are all good friends and have a chemistry outside of just the music. I’m not a huge fan of hired guns for gigs. When we started out we had Jeremy Beck on keys and I always liked the organ on recordings and that vibe. When he have had substitutes or additions it’s been from a circle of friends. When David Ribyat filled in for Jim D, they both were friends for a long time. I believe in friendship and our pasts works for the Trainwreck and works for me. For me it's a social thing, our band's bio is almost always 'good friends, good music, good times' and that's it.
Kuz: The Trainwreck is a band that seems to be able to grow and evolve depending on the gig and performance. Seven years into the band are you trying to keep the classic Trainwreck sound or change the songs/personnel to evolve it?
Davey: I wanted to do something in the same vain as we did at The Latest Noise Spring show. Doing the songs differently, I went to see Willie Nelson at the Stone Pony Summer Stage and checked out his setup. Willie's acoustic is the only guitar on stage, there's a bass player, the drummer is only playing a snare, there's a harmonica player and a piano. It brought back that idea that I wanted to do that anyway, I call it a hobo band. There's an old Genesis video, they are dressed like hobos singing around a fire. Doing the Latest Noise thing, brought the sound of a mandolin that I never had before and I really liked. So this time I didn't ask Ribyat to fill in for bass, I wanted him to play both accordion and mandolin because I liked how that worked so much in the acoustic set-up and it helps fill out the sound.
Kuz: Your bass player and original Trainwreck member, The Reverend Jim D, passed away earlier this year. Jim D was such a huge presence on stage. How do you overcome something like that?
Davey: I love everybody who plays with us, when we first started and were guns a blazing, it was a bad-ass sound, we were tight and we were trainwrecks, full steam a head. So it's tough to get that again. As time went on I was working on other music and other projects, towards the end we didn't play too many gigs, that chapter was ending. After Jim passed away I wasn't sure if it was going to be the same or just be a Davey and friends kind of thing. It's sounding better than ever, hopefully he won't strike me down from downstairs. So doing this keeps the fire burning.
Kuz: Getting to the songs, they are cut from a political cloth, thinking of the people, the community, do you feel re-invigored based our current political situation?
Davey: There's a couple new ones in the hopper, sometimes I have a theme, when I write sometimes it's like babble and edit. It's harder when I try to work it, I have the first 2 verses come out of my head and I try to work the third the same way and it can't because I'm not letting it happen. Sometimes I'm writing a song because there is a phrase or melody in my head and it's what ever comes out, I'm a political animal, so what's coming out of my head is usually a commentary on what I'm annoyed with and not what I'm happy about when it comes to government and society. I've written songs and have gone back to edit so there isn't a time-stamp on it. In 'Reunion' I still sing Sadoku, and I don't think anyone plays Sudoku anymore, I've been trying to work Candy Crush into that lyric (laughs). So I'm conscious of that, I didn't used to be so conscious of that, trying to get the concept out and detailed enough but can't be nailed down to when I wrote it.
A lot of what I write about unfortunately keeps on happening. A lot of the political songs I wrote when W. Bush was president. Some of the songs are about woman or how I was feeling about woman at the time. They weren't all love songs. With this guy in the White House and this whole crew and the people that seem to support him, I can't stop thinking about it, so that's what comes out when I sit down and I have a melody in my head, a lot of times now that is political.
Kuz: Let's talk a bit about White Eagle Hall a bit, what are you looking forward to playing that venue?
Davey: I'm psyched, and I'm psyched for the reaction too. There's been a ton of local musicians that are psyched that they are having local musicians open up. And it's humbling to be one of the first local musicians to open up. I'm excited for everyone being excited for me. That helps to keep the excitement and nervousness equal, and not overly nervous...well, at least until there's load in and I walk in there. I opened for some big names at Maxwell's over the years. The first time I opened for someone big was for Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets) and it was a solo project for him. This was early on for me, I realized during the soundcheck that Curt Kirkwood was doing to be doing the same thing I was doing, acoustic guitar. It made me nervous. The sound woman Diane Farris, told me that my set has nothing to do with his set, to just focus on my own thing. So that helped take the pressure off. So for this gig I want to be excited and happy that we are there but also feel like we are supposed to be here, we have a real sound.