I remember when I was a boy my Grandfather used to refer
to his couch as a Davenport, and I never asked why he didn’t just use
couch or sofa like everyone else. To this day he is the only person I’ve
ever known to use that word, then along came The Davenports. Their current line-up
led by Scott Klass drives their sound to one steeped in pop/rock Weezer meets
Ben Folds meets The Hold Steady leading you to sing along to songs that you’re
hearing for the first time while stories unfold of relationships gone awry and
all too familiar feelings. If you investigate their back catalog your will find
that although their sound has gotten a little edgier and electric guitars are
play a more prominent role, the conciseness and sharpness of the songwriting
still abounds. There are no extraneous frills here, just tight solid songwriting,
which is no doubt the reason why the A & E network picked up one of their
songs “Five Steps” for their Emmy nominated show Intervention. Currently
finishing their third full length they’ll be playing a show at Joe’s
Pub April 29th sharing the bill with Chris Collingwood from Fountains of Wayne
whom Scott also collaborates with. Scott took some time to answer a few questions
before heading out of town.
It seems like your sound has changed a bit since the
last time I saw you guys a few years back at Joe’s Pub. At that gig you
mostly played piano with a band and had a string section, now you’re working
with a smaller group, tell me about your current line-up and how it came to
There is a core lineup now—Tom Ward, who’s been in since 2000 (bass),
Angela Webster drumming, Tommy Borscheid guitaring, and me—but we still
like to embellish the live show and will have the strings (Claudia Chopek and
Eleanor Norton), as well as percussionist Rob Draghi, at Joe’s Pub on
the 29th. Tommy is the newest add—both he and Angela were part of the
Rhett Miller band on his last tour and are incredible. Plus they’re cute,
though maybe not as cute as Rhett.
Your sound has also changed a bit since I last saw
you. There is definitely more of rock/pop thing going on, is that due to the
musicians you are playing with or do you write the songs knowing full well how
you want them to sound?
Probably a combo. I wanted to make a punchier sounding record this time—I
think I was listening to more aggressive stuff as I was writing the bulk of
this batch, so the new songs lent themselves to that (this all depends, of course,
on where you put the Dirty Sock Funtime Band on the aggressive scale). Some
string-drenched ballads are there too, as always. But the band is definitely
adding to the punch. Angela scares me a little bit—if you see her play,
you’ll know why.
How much does your environment effect the type of songs
you write and do you think living in NYC causes you to write one way rather
Never really thought about that but I guess there could be an influence. There’s
the stress and alcohol thing, but I guess we don’t have an exclusive on
that. This record is really about this couple and a handful of particularly
crappy situations that they don’t navigate so effectively. I knew a few
people going through divorce over the past couple years and some pretty unbelievable
stories came out of it.
How long have you been living in NYC and how long have
you actively been out performing?
I’ve been in NYC since (in Brooklyn now—It’s like
the country). Probably started performing more actively in the mid-90’s,
but our playing out sort of goes in waves. I feel a wave coming on in support
of this new record. No, wait, I think I just have to go to the bathroom. This
band is certainly making it more fun. Not going to the bathroom. Performing.
What have been some of the highpoints of living/performing
in NYC as a musician?
Love the Living Room—we play there a lot. Good hang, nice people, great
sound people. We were also fortunate enough to open for They Might Be Giants
at the Bowery Ballroom a few years ago. That was fun, though I forgot to tell
the screaming crowd the name of our band. Joe’s Pub is a great place to
play too—gotta love a good rehearsal room, and a bathroom attendant. And
of course, the best thing about living in the vicinity of all of these places
is that you don’t have to saddle up your cow to get there.
I see that for your next show on April 29th at Joe’s
Pub you’re sharing the bill with Chris Collingwood from Fountains of Wayne,
how did you get paired up?
We met ages ago, waiting on the bathroom line at the Cooler at a Candy Butchers
show. I don’t know why I keep bringing up the bathroom. Anyway, he and
I started talking about how much we love Mike Viola, exchanged some demos and
started playing a bit. He was doing his thing Smalltown Criers so I joined him
on that, playing guitar and singing harmony. We’ll likely do some of it
at the show on the 29th if he returns my calls.
I understand that you are putting the finishing touches
on your new album, when will it be released and what can Deli readers expect?
Still trying to figure out the release but likely in the next month or two—I
know we’ll be doing a sort of sampler and giving it away at the show.
Maybe a video too, that may or may not show someone stripping on a webcam. The
record again focuses on this couple, Christopher and Mary (no relation to Collingwood),
their various trouble-spots and ultimate divorce. In “Christopher Starts,”
for example, Christopher gets drunk and publicly talks down to Mary. In “Anything
for Amelia,” Mary's old mother emasculates Christopher and dangles her
money over their heads (sung from the mother's perspective). In “Something's
Gonna Get Us,” Mary assumes some tragedy will befall the family b/c they've
had a few months of happiness. Fun!