Saturday, August 8, 2009

Willy DeVille

I read this morning Willy DeVille died at 58- DeVille was an unappreciated Artist whose sensibilities were akin to my own and others of my ilk. Those of us who in our pre and post adolescent longing for true love and truth stashed the transistor radio underneath our pillow and wet dreamed of the lead singer in the Shangrilas. Mink DeVille had more in common with the Brill revivalism of Springsteen and others rather than the CBGB screamers posers and "artistes". No disrespect to the necessary revolutionaries who along with the romantics tore down the pretentious pomposity of corporate rock that Lee Abrams hustled into FM radio with the dreaded
AOR format. Here the word "format" becomes an obscenity because it is in the formatting, this genre specificity, that artists and musicians who are eclectic and substantial get lost, overlooked and underrated. Willy DeVille's abject romanticism and appreciation for all musics was a boon to all those who paid attention. Eclecticism, which many critics confuse with confusion, overreaching and pretension is a important factor in an artists duty to substantiate his work and grow. Where would pop music be without these writers and artists who will try any style that interests them. We have to ask how is it that it is truly discouraged in most forms of art and music that cross collateralize with commercial pop culture. Adieu Willy the mariachis, castanets, violins and Cadillacs await you in a better place.


  1. great post Billy...Willie DeVille was as underappreciated as he was talented...

  2. Loved his version of 'slave to love'.
    I used to see 'Mink Deville' Lps in the record stores all the time, back when bin diving was a major pastime, and used to think "what the heck is up with this?". Alas, I never made the leap and bought one. If I ever come across one of their albums again I'll be taking it home.