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Sunday 16 March 2014

Dan Stuart: Ex Green On Red Founder Set To Offer His Fragmented Reflections @ Prince Albert Brighton

Dan Stuart, founder of seminal US alternative act Green On Red, has, according to some literary circles, written the rock 'n' roll sequel to William Burroughs' 'Junky' and 'Queer'.



The publication of The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings follows a hellish few years in the life of its author, after the break-up of Green on Red in the early 1990s.

Surely one of the most pathetic aspects of the American personality is the insistence on being liked. 

From the grinning president on down to the weepy beggar in the street, all simply want to be understood and accepted, hugged and forgiven. 

This childlike need filters through to all aspects of contemporary American life; but for a natural agitator like Dan Stuart, nice guys finish first goes down about as smooth as milk to a dipsomaniac.


Which is probably why he's been living a life of exile in Oaxaca, Mexico. 

How he got there might be surmised from this little dagger of a memoir which bares the same title as his 2012 musical return: The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings. 

Marlowe, it turns out, is Stuart's nom de guerre, a carry over from his days leading Green on Red, arguably one of the best American rock bands of the 80s. 

The band recorded some stellar albums and toured America and Europe extensively to critical acclaim, yet never made much of a dent commercial wise. 

After one epilogue solo record, Can O' Worms, (re-released recently by Cadiz Music as part of Dan Stuart: Arizona: 1993-95) Stuart pretty much left the creative life to become a father and regular Joe, only to eventually wind up in a mental ward on Staten Island. 


His literary debut seeks the question why, a series of vignettes, real and imagined, that lurch back and forth through time and sanity and it's not clear whether Stuart himself actually knows where terra firma lies. 

Lacking any moral certitude, but certainly intellectually admirable, is Stuart's insistence that redemption is for suckers and that being a well adjusted "productive member of society" is a sign of cowardice and capitulation. 

Adding to the intrigue, Stuart has accompanied his fictionalized musings with uncaptioned photographs of the actual people and places he describes (many shot by the gifted photographer and ex-Tucsonan Cliff Green) that further distorts Stuart's fragmented reflections. 

Lawyers could have a field day with this book but since Stuart mostly mines the spaces between the notes, trying to pin any sort of axe grinding or score settling would be a difficult task and is clearly not his motive. 

Indeed, Stuart clearly loves and admires his fellow bandmates, girlfriends, ex-wife and many of the famous and not-so-famous people he has worked with, he just won't tell you their real names or for that matter, that he is sorry for anything he has ever done to them, himself, or the world in general. 

For those who have grown weary of well adjusted types forcing their own past decadence and current salvation down the throats of audiences both private and public, Stuart's memoir comes as a most welcome and dare it be said?... happy surprise.

Catch Dan Stuart at The Prince Albert, Brighton, on 23rd April. CLICK HERE for more info.  


by: Mike Cobley




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