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MUSIC: Ventura County | ROCKTALK

'Hopeless' Classic

Jet Age Hoods' album is roots-rocking prelude to appearance in Ventura.

October 22, 1998|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Danny Blitz has a head of hair that could make Brylcreem stockholders salivate. Along with his band, the Jet Age Hoods, Blitz could turn a sobriety checkpoint into a party. The Texan by way of Nashville, Washington, D.C., and a lot of other places will make his local debut with a Friday night gig at Cafe Voltaire in Ventura. Opening this free show will be Calliope.

The L.A.-based band includes Blitz on guitar and vocals, Scott May on guitar, Rich McClean on bass, and Gary Patterson hitting the drums. Playing live about three times a month, the band has garnered favorable press. Its debut album, "Hopeless," is a roots-rock classic with a couple of cool covers, "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Roll Over Beethoven," while the title tune makes a convincing case for giving up and could be the ideal Muzak in Dr. Kevorkian's waiting room.

After the Voltaire gets Blitzed, it remains the place to be this weekend. Saturday night, one of the greatest guitar players you've never heard of, Carl Verheyen, will dazzle with selections from his fourth album, "Slingshot." On Sunday, a benefit concert will be held for refugees from Sierra Leone. On the bill will be Jimmy Adams & Friends, Hippie Mark, the Don Haney Band, Redbone and others.

As for Blitz, the one-man Blitzkrieg's rap is almost as good as his licks. He discussed the latest during a recent phone interview.

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So, how's "Hopeless" doing?

Oh man, I'm making so much dough, I'm out looking for a house in Beverly Hills. Actually, I think I'll buy it all and build a giant trailer park.

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Then you have too much money.

Actually, I spent all my money on my car. I've got a '55 Chevy that's all tricked out. It's a killer machine, just to impress the chicks. Man, they have to be naked before they can even touch it.

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As to the title tune on your album, "Hopeless," are you saying it's best to give up hope?

Ostensibly that song is about a girl, but really it's my tribute to the record business.

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OK, that works, too. So what does Danny Blitz music sound like?

It's just a mishmash of all the stuff I like. I love bluegrass. I love traditional country, and I love Hank Williams. I'm a huge David Bowie fan, and I love Eddie Van Halen's guitars, but I also love the Partridge Family. I always imagined myself as sort of the Keith Partridge of rock 'n' roll. I've always wanted to do a punk version of "I Think I Love You." Maybe we will.

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Who goes to your shows?

We get some of those rockabilly people, but a lot of them have a serious attitude problem. They're all into tradition, but that would be like having Buddy Holly doing songs from the '20s. I think we're just a pure rock 'n' roll band, and live, we're twice as loud, twice as rockin'. You can watch me act goofy and jump around like an idiot.

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Who's to blame for all this?

I formed this band when I got to L.A. by putting some ads in the paper. I was just looking for guys with good hair--gotta have the Johnny Bravo look, you know. I left home in Houston right after high school and just basically traveled all over the country, starting bands. I'm the lead singer and the lead guitar player. I write all the songs, and I own the name.

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What's the strangest gig you've ever played?

We played a prom in 1993 at this rich high school just outside Washington, D.C. Really, we're a punk band--we're like the Ramones. We had a mosh pit going at this huge, beautiful hotel with tuxedos and prom dresses--it was great. When we first showed up we all were wearing black leather jackets--we looked like a bunch of bikers. It was like "The Wild One." The chaperons asked us where our tuxedos were and we just laughed at them.

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How's the L.A. scene?

Love it. We've been treated really well here. I don't think there's a better band in L.A. Even reviewers that are hard write good things about us.

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How did you end up being the guitar player?

When I was a kid, I begged for a drum set, and I'm relentless. It was like (Bart) Simpson, "Gimme a drum set. Gimme a drum set. Gimme a drum set." My parents said, "We love you, but no drum set." So then I started playing sax at school just to impress the chicks, but I was a total band dork wearing suspenders and it didn't work. Then when I was about 13, I begged for a guitar and told my parents I'd settle for an acoustic guitar and I'd only play John Denver songs. That worked. Then my buddy got an electric guitar and I tried that, and it was all over then. After I got my own guitar, I'd turn my amp up to about 12 and play distorted Buddy Holly songs.

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So what's The Plan?

We want to get a deal. We're moving quickly in that direction, and hopefully something will be happening real soon.

BE THERE

Danny Blitz & the Jet Age Hoods (9:30 p.m.) and Calliope (7 p.m.) at Cafe Voltaire, 43 N. Palm St., Ventura, Friday night. Free. (805) 641-1743.

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