New Atlantis: New Orleans Music Rebuilds
New Orleans musicians have helped facilitate the city's recovery in numerous ways beyond merely restoring its culture in the wake of the 2005 flood. In New Atlantis: Musicians Fight for the Survival of New Orleans, moderator John Swenson offers a detailed account of this story. The HBO series Treme also deals with many of the same themes. Numerous New Orleans events are portrayed in both the book and the HBO series. New Orleans musicians, writers and actors discuss the events in question and try to work out the ill defined lines between journalism, history, drama and "real life."
Author of New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans.
John Swenson has been writing about popular music since 1967. He edited the award-winning website jazze.com for Knit Media and has worked as an editor at Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Circus, Rock World, OffBeat magazine and been published in virtually every popular music magazine of note over that time. He was a syndicated music columnist for more than 20 years at United Press International and Reuters. Swenson has written 14 published books including biographies of Bill Haley, the Who, Stevie Wonder and the Eagles and co-edited the original Rolling Stone Record Guide with Dave Marsh. He is also the editor of The Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide. In another role Swenson is a veteran sports writer who covered the New York Rangers for 30 years, writing pieces for outlets from Rolling Stone to the Associated Press. Swenson is also a veteran horseracing columnist and handicapper who covered the New York racing scene as a columnist for the New York Post and the New Orleans Fair Grounds meet for The Daily Racing Form. His profile on jockey Steve Cauthen, "Rise To Stardom, Fall From Grace" in Spur magazine was nominated for an Eclipse Award.
Swenson's account of musicians returning to New Orleans after Katrina, The Bands Played On, appeared in Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2007. His Every Accordionist a King won the 2008 Best Entertainment Feature award from the Press Club of New Orleans. Swenson's latest book, New Atlantis chronicles how musicians battled to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Bill Davis is a guitarist and songwriter. Dash Rip Rock is the legendary New Orleans-based rock band built around the songs of singer-guitarist Bill Davis. DRR is known for their unique roots music. In 2012 Dash Rip Rock was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and honored for their contribution to the state's music.
SPIN says Dash Rip Rock is "undeniably the South's greatest rock band." The New York Times calls Dash Rip Rock "the kind of band that provides a lesson in American rock-and-roll history...skillful musicians with a penchant for getting reliably wild...." No Depression raves that DRR's recent albums prove that Dash is "one of the greatest bands working today" and Houston Press recently deemed Dash Rip Rock one of the "Top 10 Louisiana Bands of All Time."
Dash Rip Rock has long been celebrated for tight musicianship, high energy live shows, and songs of raw insolence and longing that are sometimes cut with whimsy. Bill Davis, Dash Rip Rock's founder and frontman, is a songwriter known for his blistering guitar work. For over 25 years the band has amassed a loyal, diverse following.
Though Dash Rip Rock is an infamous live powerhouse who is often credited with founding the musical genre known as "Country Punk," Dash has always been a roots-based band inspired by a variety of styles, including rock, country, soul, and power pop. Influential in shaping genres of modern rock and alternative country acts, Dash has fans that span the globe. The wide tent of their cross-genre fan base includes aficionados of roots-rock and Americana as well as rockabilly, country, and punk fans.
DRR has released 15 records that have all been hailed as cult and underground classics. Bill Davis started the band in the mid '80s, and DRR was first signed to 688 and then Mammoth Records. In the '90s Dash Rip Rock scored a national radio hit, "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot." This tongue-in-cheek classic is still played religiously throughout the nation over FM airwaves on counterculture feast days and covered regularly by major rock acts. Recently the band joined forces with ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra and his Alternative Tentacles label to release a number of albums including the idiosyncratic Hee Haw Hell (2004), a country-punk-rock-opera based on Dante's Inferno. Other cult classics followed, including 2010's Call of the Wild.
In 2010 Dash Rip Rock's song "Johnny Ace" was featured in the hit video game Rock Band. Bill Davis also appears in the new documentary "Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW."
Dash Rip Rock has shared the stage with The Ramones, Jerry Lee Louis, Lou Reed, The Replacements, No Doubt, the Circle Jerks, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Black Crowes and countless others, at times playing up to 250 shows a year and touring with acts like the Cramps, The Reverend Horton Heat, and Mojo Nixon.
Don Bartholomew aka Don B, CEO and Executive Producer of Bang-N Records is the son of the Legendary Godfather of Rock & Roll Dave Bartholomew who as sole producer of Fats Domino is responsible for creating the original New Orleans sound. Continuing with a legacy of producing great music and great artist, Don B as a producer and owner of Purple Room Studio has worked with most of New Orleans local rap stars such as Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Mia X, the late Soulja Slim and Magnolia Shorty. As one of the longest running full service studios, the Purple Room Studio hosted first recording for Cash Money Records and No Limit Records prior to their national acclaim. As a true percussionist Don B can create any genre beat. As a producer he can develop any artist into a Supa Star!
Don along side his brother Ron B established Bartholomew Boyz Productions. This Production team has now expanded to Don B's sons Don “ Supa Dezzy” Bartholomew, Blake “Trakka” Bartholomew, Chris “ YC” McGhee, and Torial “Red Phoenix” Ladmirault.
Since the boom of Music videos in the 80's and 90's and now YouTube, Don has been able to exhibit his talents on film. His latest video “Born in the Country” featuring his father sparked the interest of the Producers of the HBO hit series “Treme”. Don B's experience in the industry launched his contribution to the series as Hip Hop Music Consultant. His cameo appearance in Season I as himself (Don B, music producer) landed him a recurring role in Season II and III. His knowledge and in depth involvement in New Orleans Music culture gained him a position behind the scenes as Hip Hop Music Director.
Alison Fensterstock is a New Orleans-based music and pop culture writer. Her work has appeared in Paste, Vibe, Spin.com, MOJO, Q, the Oxford American, the New Orleans alt-weekly Gambit (for whom she served as music critic from 2005-2009) and the New Orleans Times-Picayune (where she blogs stuff every single day now.)
In 2011, she co-wrote the book "The Definition of Bounce" with rapper 10th Ward Buck (who produced the famous Mr. Ghetto "Wal-Mart" bounce video.) Would you like a copy? You can get one at SXSW. In other bounce-related projects, she was the bounce consultant for season 2 of HBO's dramatic program "Treme" and co-curated the bounce and hip-hop documentary exhibition and oral history archive "Where They At," with the photographer Aubrey Edwards. You can look at it at www.wheretheyatnola.com.
She is also the programming director for the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, for whom she researched the Louisiana State Museum’s “Unsung Heroes” exhibit on Louisiana R&B, rock, garage and blues.