Update on Daddy Long Legs: Norton Records’ Men In Black
New York City’s Daddy Long Legs play the kind of punk-infused roots-rock and roll that slaps its palm on your forehead till you’re speaking in tongues on the dance floor.
The trio is named after their own blues harp wunderkind Daddy Long Legs (DLL), whom you’ll find on retro-mic’d vocals, harmonica, and resonator guitar. Josh Styles holds the band’s heart in his hands with his percussion set – a maraca, a mallet, kick drum, floor tom, and snare – forget cymbals. They’re for sissies. Murat Akturk, meanwhile, impressively holds the stage with show-stopping rhythm and open-tuned slide guitar.
The group recently toured Ireland, UK, and the Netherlands, and it looks like 2016 has generally been an intense year for the drain-piped men in black. They finished their previous European tour in early March and hit the old country again only weeks later. It was a long touring period that started for them last autumn.
“We’re just trying to stay on the road and keep the momentum going,” DLL explained. “The first Irish tour was a smash … I feel like [Irish audiences] really appreciate American roots music and the approach we have to it. They’re also lot of fun to hang out and drink with after shows.”
I wondered if they were meeting that phenomenon that so many US bands encounter, where they‘re bigger in Europe than they are at home. “Yeah,” he admitted, “I would say so. European audiences were the first to embrace us but now that has reverberated back to the states where things take a bit longer to sink in.”
In the spring, the band returned to the US in time for South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. “SXSW was a blast” DLL recalled. “We feel really at home in Texas and a lot of our American fans that don’t get to see us as much in the states count on us being there every year. A few bands I saw this year I would recommend would be the Defibrillators, Apache, and the Sloths!”
Guitarist Akturk adds, “This year we had the pleasure of seeing Brian [DLL] blow some harp with Sylvain Sylvain [of New York Dolls] and Bushwick Bill. [It was] legendary.”
On the group’s return home, they planned to stay Stateside for a while. “After this, we will start to write and record what will be our 3rd studio album,” explained DLL. His group is signed to renowned New York label Norton Records — a set-up with its own very special history that places the band in the perfect position to focus on retro rock and roll, rockabilly, garage punk, etc. Norton issues most of it on vinyl, and the label’s history and track record is not lost on DLL. “It’s a New York institution,” he said, “and we’re honoured to be a part of it. [Label heads] Billy Miller and Miriam Linna are the most dedicated rock and rollers I’ve ever known. We’ve been able to play alongside a lot of our label mates like the Sonics and Andre Williams and collaborate with T. Valentine, Bloodshot Bill, and the Flamin’ Groovies.”
It’s been slow going, but — gig by gig, record by record — Daddy Long Legs is gathering more followers. “It’s a roller coaster ride,” frontman DLL says, “and being based in New York, with the cost of living, it’s really tough. Sometimes we come out all right, other times not so good; but we’re getting to where we’ve always wanted to be and having a damn good time doing it!”
Daddy Long Legs has just released a new single, “The Stranger Rides Tonight,” and DLL notes, “We recorded [it] last year in Spain. … We’re really excited about it and the music video we made for it.” Indeed, with all that filthy Southern blues harmonica and back-beat honky-tonk piano, it calls to mind Chuck Berry jamming with Wilko Johnson on the set of a Beatles film. No complaints here.
Originally posted on CultureHub Magazine