John Davis

Musician, Superdrag / The Lees of Memory

John Davis is the acclaimed frontman of the bands Superdrag and The Lees Of Memory.  With Superdrag, he released five studio albums including Fidelity High favorites Regretfully Yours and Head Trip In Every Key, as well as countless singles and EPs.  He released his eponymous solo debut in 2005, it's follow up Arigato! in 2007, and is also featured on lead vocals and guitar on the 3-song Big Star 7 inch Live Tribute To Alex Chilton (which was executive produced by Big Star's original producer, the late, great John Fry and mastered by the legendary Larry Nix).  In 2013 he formed the new band The Lees of Memory with Superdrag founding member Brandon Fisher.   The band released their debut LP Sisyphus Says the following year and just completed work on its follow up Unnecessary Evil.  The incredible record is available for exclusive digital download now via the Lees of Memory Pledge Music page and this is John's Fidelity High: Dinosaur Jr. // Bug // SST Records // 1988.  John says, "The first band I ever played in was a duo with my boy Alan Almonrode.  Actually, we had several different bands, but with the same line-up.  He played guitar and sang, and I played drums.  Eventually we drafted the homey Mike Bittner who we used to skateboard with every day to jump in on bass.  That was The Friendship Company.  We'd make flyers and go play shows under a shed at Carl Cowan Park with some bootlegged electricity from the swimming pool.  We had no idea what we were doing.  One day Alan invited the toughest dude on his soccer team over to practice singing with us, just to see what would happen.  That was Brandon Harris.  We played one show with him on vocals [if you've ever heard the story about me breaking my head open stagediving at the Hypertribe gig (Nick R's band), this show was the next day.  I was a little disoriented.]  Far more important than the Friendship Company show under a picnic shed with my head stapled together were the 2 records Brandon had under his arm when he showed up for that first practice: Big Black's Atomizer, and Dinosaur Jr's You're Living All Over Me.  This was pre-internet, pre-Driver's License, pre-everything, and even though many of the SST bands came through Knoxville during the golden age of Hardcore, we were, like, 9 or 10 years old at the time... so Thrasher mag and the cassette wall at the local Camelot were our primary sources of Punk information.  You're Living All Over Me was basically the Big Bang record that changed everything for me.  That and the all-SST soundtrack on Santa Cruz Streets On Fire.  Those 2 events combined with my exposure to my cousin Rick's LP collection (he had everything SST put out, everything the Clash ever did and all the crucial Reggae---his influence on my musical development cannot be overstated---check out his band The Rude Street Peters, they were & are 100% original and rad, one of Knoxville's finest exports) turned me on to Punk and effectively put me onto the path I'm still following 30 years later.  I mean, somebody gave me Never Mind The Bollocks in the 7th Grade, and I thought it was cool, you know, it sounded dangerous, but it didn't take over my life. You're Living All Over Me did, for sure... and then I figured out they had other albums!  Again, this is pre-internet, when music still had some mystery left.  When I got the self-titled Dinosaur album, I still didn't know who was who in the murky photo on the back.  But these were my heroes!  Hard to imagine that phenomenon happening today.  Bug was a different beast entirely, and that's the one I'm really here to talk about.  By the time I got to Bug I could drive, and I drove around from skate spot to skate spot for an entire summer with J, Lou & Murph as my constant companions.  Somehow Bug brought the passion & noise of You're Living All Over Me, but also doubled down on the tunefulness and songcraft.  I can guarantee you Bug is indelibly imprinted into my guitar playing to this day, and for that matter it is embedded somewhere into the DNA of everything I've ever tried to do with music since.  If you're reading this, there's a 99% chance you've heard the album a million times already, so I'm not gonna bother with a song-by-song analysis, but let me say this: people waffle on about, 'this changed my life, that changed my life' but I'll guaran-damn-tee you, this album changed my life.  For the better.  Love & respect to J, Lou & Murph forever."