Saturday 20 July 2019

Why keeping up with rocker Jesse Malin is no easy task

Ed Power

On stage and off, the New York troubadour is a force of nature, thoughts and asides tumbling out in an unending deluge.

He’s about to depart Manhattan, where he was born and to which he remains fiercely attached, for a short Irish tour. It’s a busy period for the hard-bitten 47-year-old, shortly to release his second album within six months.

“I didn’t make a record for five years. When it was time to make a new album, I did two. The new one is called Outsiders. It’s a little darker, a little hardier, with a heavier vibe. It’s about f***ed up people – characters who don't fit in and are trying to make their way somehow on this planet.”

Malin could be speaking about himself. He came up in the early 2000s, some of his initial prominence owed, arguably, to his friendship with Ryan Adams. But he didn’t necessarily enjoy the spotlight and has followed his whims and wayward heart ever since.

“Making Outsiders I was going through a really weird time,” he says. “I’d kind of stopped talking to my friends. I had a falling out with a lot of people I played with. I was having a quiet time. I went up to the woods in Pennsylvania and made this record pretty quick, in just a couple of weeks. Stayed off the interweb and the cell phones.”

The singer is perceived as a creature of New York – a street rat harking back to the golden era of Manhattan music and bands such as The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie. He’s not sure if it is that simple.

“New York is still my home. I live in Manhattan, on the island here. But I travel around the world - for me, rock and roll and the ideology behind it is a global thing, a connection that binds us together. I travel all the time and am always looking for that needle in the haystack. That record I haven’t heard before which is going to turn me on.”

Jesse Malin plays Academy 2, Dublin tonight, Roisin Dubh Galway tomorrow, Cyprus Avenue, Cork Friday.

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