Willy DeVille Birthday Celebration Show [Aug. 23th 2010]


The Mac Wire Mini Review: by Anne M. Raso - THE MAC WIRE

I had one reason and one reason only to go to the Willy DeVille Birthday Celebration held at BB King’s in Times Square this past Monday night (only two nights from what would have been the legendary singer-songwriter’s 60th birthday): I wanted to see the original Mink DeVille back together and I wanted to see them jam with some of Willy’s later sidemen. I actually lost track of Willy and the boys after I interviewed them backstage at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ in Spring 1978 (and had actually hung out with the band sans Willy circa Summer 1977 in Franklin Lakes…their manager’s mom was friends with my mom in Franklin Lakes, NJ, now made famous as the setting for Real Housewives Of New Jersey). The original band seemed to get unceremoniously dumped while in LA to record the third Mink DeVille album (rumor has it the producer was at fault) and as purveyors of the punk scene will tell you, they were phenomenally talented but kept it more raw and pure rock ‘n’ roll than Willy’s later ensembles. I thought bassist Ruben Siguenza was an especially down-to-earth person and I remember his wallet disappearing from the Capitol Theater dressing room and when I talked to him after the BB King show on Monday night, he didn’t seem to remember this. But that was my main memory from that night other than Willy’s gold tooth and his wife Toots’ piercings (I had never seen either of those things before, to be perfectly honest). As for Monday night’s show, put together by DeVille’s multi-instrumental sidekick David Keyes, it provided some great blasts from the past and to see the original Mink DeVille group do “Gunslinger” (with a few of Willie’s later partners in crime nearby) was a very special moment, possibly not ever to be repeated. Special guests included “mad scientist” axeman Richard Lloyd of Television fame (who played with Willy on several occasions), guitar slayer Steve Conte who did extensive touring with Willy and J. Geils crazyman howler Peter Wolf (who was basically just a Willy uber-fan).


Original Mink DeVille axeman Louie X. Erlanger (who recently brought his bandmates back together for a phone-in conference on his radio show to discuss the old days), probably summed up Willy best by saying, “I admired Willy because he always stuck to his guns” before he and the rest of the “old Minks” performed (appropriately enough) “Gunslinger” from the Cabretta album. The encore featured “Spanish Stroll,” probably one of DeVille’s Top Five most famous songs and it was touching to see so many talented people together who had played behind this misunderstood and tragic musical genius (about 25 great musicians seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely as they fought for just enough space to play on the small BB King’s stage). Willy DeVille said he never would be fully appreciated until after he was gone, and this crowd’s reaction to this show might just be an omen of things to come in terms of Willy reaching “legend” status (many die-hard fans are circulating petitions online to get him nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as well). THE MAC WIRE RATING: 4.5 OUT OF FIVE STARS.
Een verslag in het Ned/Eng door Gurrie ‘Hurdy’ staat op het Willy DeVille Int. Fans blog.

Musicians on stage at BB Kings’ NYC August 23rd 2010 to honour Willy DeVille:

The Original Mink DeVille
[Time period: Cabretta, Return To Magenta, Le Chat Bleu]
Louis X Erlanger (guitar), Ruben Sequenza (bass), Manfred TR Allen (drums), Bobby Leonard (keyboards)

The Mink DeVille Band 1982
[Time period: Coup de Grace, Where Angels Fear To Tread, Live At Montreux 1982 dvd]
Ricky Borgia (guitar), Joey Vasta (bass), Thommy Price (drums), Kenny Margolis (keyboards), Crispin Cioe (sax)

Willy/Mink DeVille Band 1987-1992
[Time period: Miracle, Victory Mixture, Backstreets]
Bobby Curiano (bass), Shawn Murray (drums), Boris Kinberg (percussion), others joined them.

Willy/Mink DeVille Band 1993-1994
[Time period: Live, Live At Montreux 1994 dvd]
David J. Keyes (bass), Shawn Murray (drums), Boris Kinberg (percussion), Seth Farber (keyboards), others joined them. And… YaDonna Wise (unfortunately her sister Doreen wasn’t there).

Willy/Mink DeVille Band 2002-2008
[Time period: Crow Jane Alley, Pistola, Berlin dvd, Lowlands dvd]
Mark Newman (guitar), Darin Brown (keyboards), Bob Curiano (bass), David J. Keyes (bass), Shawn Murray (drums), Boris Kinberg (percussion), Kenny Margolis (keyboards).

Special Guests: Peter Wolf (J. Geil’s Band), Richard Lloyd (Television), Steve Conte (DeVille Band ‘03/New York Dolls/The Crazy Truth). Freddy Koella (who had other liabilities this memorial day, went to join Bob Dylan for a couple of tours in ‘03/’04, so Steve replaced him). And of course his last wife Nina (who got the flowers handed). All the musicians joined at the encore ‘Spanish Stroll’.

Thanks to initiator of the Wdv B-day celeb. show ánd bassplayer David J. Keys (who had to leave the band due to cancer diagnosis at fall 2006. But Willy and Dave worked together at Willy’s place on the album Pistola despite the heavy treatments, he’s a real surviver! Thanks Dave).

The splashy encore of “Spanish Stroll” undoubtedly had enough “savoir faire” to have Willy smiling from the rock and roll heavens above.
Mink Deville - BB King’s, NYC 8/23/10 [photo ©: Dino Perrucci]

Quote by Joseph Vasta jr. [Mink DeVille, played Bass on the albums Coup De Grâce 1981 and Where Angels Fear To Tread 1983]
“It really was a great night to play. Only hope that Willy heard us I miss this man. You should only know the guys played there heart out last night. Sounded freakin’ great! Every one who took part played very well. Did you know that it was recorded and filmed too? Soon to be put out, as far as I know. Mink might be back, keep your fingers crossed okay. I think for a band that only played twice in the last week we did fine! I will put up some pictures from backstage for you when I get the time. Playing around takes up so much time you know. But we all were very glad the turnout we had. We might be doing this again with a smaller band, key guys from Mink DeVille with Peter Wolf singing for the frontman! Let’s see what happens, hang in there okay?! I will let you know from time to time to let you in what’s going on. Till then, peace out world and all you Minkers out there. Love to you. Joey V. jr. And hi there Gillespy, that’s right! I also played with Billy Idol too. I didn’t do the album at the time, I did Willy’s album instead. No I was not at the lowlands gig. We are making a new record now with Thommy Price, his own record, look for it soon. We are still working on it in New York City. It will be done most likely by the end of the year, but what I could do is send you a song off the album if Thommy agrees with that. So you could hear what we are doing, okay? I will let you know when it is a good time or when we get back recording it. Thommy Price is out with Joan Jets’ Black Hearts right now in Canada. Thanks hun, talk later okay have to go tonight, see you tomorow. Joey V. jr. Mink-on!!”

Request To Consider Willy DeVille For Induction In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Petition

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