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MUSIC DAVID MINUS DAVID : Angst to a Beat : Release by singer/songwriter David Baerwald, now going it alone, is garnering acclaim.

September 13, 1990|BILL LOCEY

Most critics agreed that David + David's 1986 album, "Boomtown," was one of the coolest releases of the decade. But now it's the '90s and David + David became David. David as in Ricketts is gone and Baerwald remains, and his current release, "Bedtime Stories," is garnering similar acclaim. The L.A.-based singer/songwriter will be at The Carnaval Club in Santa Barbara Monday night, sort of a musical alternative to the NFL. Baerwald's lyrics are equally hard-hitting--there's just less blood.

A wry writer with a cynic's wit, Baerwald describes losers losing, winners losing, whiners whining, winners whining, lovers leaving, losers loving and everyone pretty much confused and overwhelmed by it all. Baerwald's not exactly a barrel of laughs. He could have written great film noir mysteries in the '40s.

David + David originally planned a follow-up to their 1986 debut, but Ricketts got sidetracked producing an album for folk singer Toni Childs, and the project was forever sidetracked. On the new one, Baerwald collaborated with Larry Klein, who co-wrote many of the tracks. David + Larry? However you add it up, the new one, produced by Los Lobos sax man Steve Berlin, is more Angst with a beat.

In a recent telephone interview, Baerwald had this to say:

What about the tour and the new record?

The Santa Barbara show will be the first show on the tour although we did play The Roxy a week or so ago. It was a breeze. The album is doing about like the last one.

David + David was a hit. Now it's David. What happened?

Well, you can only have a big brother for so long before you want to kill him.

Like Wally and The Beaver?

Exactly.

How is this album different from the last, or is it different? Is it true that Ricketts basically did the music and you wrote the lyrics?

Not really. Both Ricketts and I play guitar, bass and keyboards. The new one is very similar to the old one, except on this one Larry Klein did most of the music. We had people come in for the stuff we couldn't do or didn't want to do. We'll have a six-piece band on our tour.

Describe David Baerwald music.

Genius.

On the album cover, you're holding your head in your hands as if you're in pain, in deep thought or looking in the mirror at Peter Murphy, what's wrong?

Actually, I'm embarrassed.

In a Rolling Stone interview you say that " ... it's easier to survive if you're a killer--especially if what you killed is something inside yourself ... " Explain.

I think I was talking about a song called "Stranger," and how things can happen to a person that just makes you want to sit down and quit being open with people. It's too early in the morning for this stuff.

What happened to Ricketts?

He's still around--he's on his way over right now. We're still friends.

Was J. Geils right, does love stink?

No, love is what makes the world go 'round.

Does bad love make for good songs?

It can go both ways.

How did you get started in music?

I'm from Ohio originally, but my family moved to Japan when I was a kid--my Dad is a teacher. I learned to play guitar in Japan. Then we moved to Los Angeles, and I didn't know anybody in school until I met this other kid who also played guitar. So we started a band when I was about 12 or 13. We played parties and stuff and then the punk thing happened and sort of sucked us up. I used to be a roadie for The Weirdos. I used to play in bars when I was 15--I grew up in nightclubs. Anyway, since I was underage, they'd make me wait outside in the parking lot until it was time to play.

Randy Newman loves L.A. Is he right?

L.A. is paradise.

There's a pretty intense song on the new one called "Dance." Does everyone, even the wall flowers, dance?

Everybody's got to dance sometime.

* WHERE AND WHEN: David Baerwald will perform Monday at 9 p.m. at the Carnaval Club, 634 State St., Santa Barbara. For information, call, 963-9991. Tickets are $5.

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