“More down to the ground than even Dylan achieved in his talking blues days . . . Darius is a fresh new breed of folkie, proud of but not stuck on tradition.”
Kurt Wolf, San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Every once in a while an album comes along with lyrics so wondrous, so vital, that they should be scripted on parchment, bound in fine leather and handed out . . . Darius – songwriter or poet?”
Robert J. Hawkins, San Diego Union Tribune
CARDBOARD CONFESSIONAL was released when Darius was a feature of the vital Los Angeles music scene of the late ‘80s, which included so many great roots revival artists like Lucinda and Victoria Williams and Rosie Flores. The CD received radio airplay in numerous American cities, and the video for the song "White Boy Raving" was aired on MTV and other music video shows. It made Billboard Magazine's Top Twenty Video List that year. See it on at Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76rGHf1ljTM. The CD came out on Gold Castle/Capitol Records, the same folk music label that at that time featured ‘60s and ‘70s renaissance artists like Bruce Cockburn, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Don McLean.
Over the years, Darius has performed at some of the USA’s most important folk and rock music venues: CBGB, the Speakeasy, the Whiskey, the Roxy, the Continental Club in Austin, not to mention other venues like the South By Southwest Music Conference, New York City's New Music Seminar, and the Shrine Auditorium. He has played on bills with Don McClean, Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos, and Guy Clark, to name just a few.
Darius also played sitar on "Bad Karma" on the late Warren Zevon’s Sentimental Hygiene CD, along with the members of REM.
Over the years Darius has released four CDs. More recently he was the singer and songwriter in Burning Bridges of Malmoe, Sweden, where he currently lives. Their CD Poor Man’s Vacation (and other Tales of the Wild and the Weary) was released in 2004. The band performed at numerous festivals and clubs around Sweden from 2000 to 2005, opening shows for the likes of Sixteen Horsepower and Dr. John, among others.
Darius is also a poet (poetry without musical accompaniment), and his work has appeared in numerous UK and US poetry journals. If you’re interested in poetry, please visit his poetry only site: www.dariusdegher.blogspot.com
FROM OTHER REVIEWS OF CARDBOARD CONFESSIONAL
”Hearing Hollywood’s poet laureate in concert is always a treat . . . his lyrical abilities are still unsurpassed.” Rich Robinson, Los Angeles Reader”
”Cardboard Confessional is a veritable cornucopia of bright, lyrical wit and intelligently crafted songs . . . Darius is a unique talent.”
Richard Foss, L.A. Reader and Bam Magazine
”Five fingers” (highest rating) “ . . . a breath of fresh air in a sea of smog, an LP that would surely ‘hit’ if less of us were so into the ‘me’ generation, though it still might.”
In Concert Magazine
DARIUS' OWN NOTES ON CARDBOARD CONFESSIONAL
The few examples of the album that are for sale here on CDBaby are the last ones remaining from the original pressing by Capitol Records. Once these are gone, we’ll have to print up some new ones, probably with new artwork. So, if you’re a collector, this may be the last chance saloon. Here are a few of my own thoughts on the CD.
WHITE BOY RAVING is a talking blues, but it’s a 21st century talking blues. When it appeared on college radio and MTV in the early 1990s, it was fairly unique, and this is something I’m a little proud of, I must admit. It’s a comic political tune powered by my anger at Reagan America. If you see the video, you’ll notice the many references to old Ronaldo and his pals Oliver North, Tammy Faye Baker and company.
On drums is Chet McCracken of the Doobie Brothers. The bassist is my oldest musical compadre, and one of the great unsung bassists, Oliver McFalls. In fact, he and I played in our first band together as kids (after I talked him into trading in his cello for an electric bass). That first band of ours also featured another dear musical friend, Todd Jasmin, who is also here on White Boy Raving playing keyboards. Everything else on the track is me, including the icy blues leads in the outro.
SHADOWS OF THE FREEWAY was my love song for Los Angeles. It’s all about the diversity of L.A., and the central metaphor is that pervasive L.A. symbol, the freeway. As the song travels from Hopis and Palestinians to Chinatown to lost parakeets to Dodger Stadium in ten verses or so, it tries (I was trying) to document the bizarre creative energy of that sprawling city on the edge of the Western world.
The song opens with a description of something I saw one day after getting off the 101 freeway in Hollywood: a woman standing on top of a skyscraper at Sunset and Gower, maybe Western, threatening suicide. Traffic was stopped on all of the surface streets surrounding the building, as we all inched our way around the spectacle. I didn’t find out what happened to her that day. But a few years later I met a guy who had been a friend of hers. He’d heard the song and explained to me that she didn’t jump the day I saw her. She did, however, go back up to the top of the same building two tears later. The second time she jumped.
Shadows of the Freeway has Danny Gayol (aka Rafael Gayol) on drums. Rafael went on to play in the Bodeans and Charlie Sexton’s band down in Austin, Texas.
On THE CHOSEN ONES you’ll hear the very same sitar (and sitarist, and satirist) that’s also to be found on Warren Zevon’s great Sentimental Hygiene record. On Warren’s record, I played, along with the guys in REM, on the song “Bad Karma.” On The Chosen Ones it’s just me accompanying myself. In the song, a complaint against organized religion, I feel I caught one of my very best opening lines: “Under crescent, cross or star I feel I haven’t got a prayer.”
DOROTHY J. AND BENJAMIN B. SMITH PARK is a wacky story song that takes place at the tiniest park in Los Angeles, the tiniest park with the longest name. This recording features the beautiful piano work of my dear friend Carl Byron, who has played with loads of cool L.A. acts. Carl is also a journalist and composer of “serious” music. A live version of the song was also released on the Breakaway compilation CD, made to document the nightclub that was one of the centers of the L.A. acoustic music scene of the time.
TO BE FREE is a multi-verse folk song that includes some of my best lyrical moments. It’s the ballad of a wayward everyman: “a wastrel and a loser and a father gone astray/
a selfless saint, a guileless giver and a stowaway/ a typical human being in almost every way.”
THERE IS NO CURE was my entré into the world of country music, no depression style, but before that term existed. Singing harmony with me is Gerry Giddens of Walking Wounded. Some say it’s the best song on the record, as far as songs go, and I always wished someone like Willy Nelson woulda’ covered it, or George Jones. Can’t you hear one of them singing: “We’ve come to see/ that our dreams can get away from us/
when once we were so sure./ We tell ourselves that it doesn’t really matter/ because we know there is no cure.”
ISTANBUL is another talking blues and features the lovely fiddle work of Don Teschner, who played in my Special Deluxe Combo, the band that toured in support of Cardboard Confessional. Don, a talented multi-instrumentalist, went on to play in Rod Stewart’s touring bands. He also plays the whining lap steel you hear on Ruminations, the very personal song I wrote for my soon-to-be wife. I’ve written hundreds of songs, and it’s one of the few love songs among them.
BEFORE I START TO THINK is a drinking song, plain and simple. It’s fun and nothing else. It also features my good friend Phil Leavitt on drums. Phil, who was also in the Special Deluxe Combo and went on to play with Peter Himmelman and then Dada, is a fine musician who I’ve collaborated with on many other projects.
HAPPY SONG came about because I couldn’t resist writing a song about depression called “Happy Song.” It’s probably one of the most depressing tunes you’ll ever hear It documents another real-life L.A. moment: a man asking to pray for me at a bus stop. Of course, I accepted.
Cardboard Confessional was co-produced by my Zen pal Duncan “Jim” Aldrich, another undiscovered genius whose life still connects with mine. The CD was recorded at my brother Denis Degher’s great old Red Zone Studios in Burbank, California.