|Bill Whitten and Dave Baker at The Knitting Factory December 1994|
David was an invaluable, generous friend who helped St. Johnny in immeasurable ways. With record deals, tours, gigs - and of course back-up vocals. He's been criminally underrated as an artist (hopefully, now, he's getting deserved props for his unerring, uncompromising vision) and often relegated (by fools who re-type ancient articles) to the category of 'unhinged loon', which is pure bullshit. Words like visionary are more apt when talking about David Baker.
We were roommates, friends and when Shady took shape, band-mates. I was lucky enough to play lead guitar and co-write Sugar, Sugar, Sugar. And I played droning, shrieking guitar (counterpoint to Doug Easley's stately leads) and sang back-ups on Life's Greatest Fool. And added guitar on the sublime It Sucks Being an Astronaut. I may also have plinked the piano on a track or two.
In Nashville we drank vast amounts of Mickey's Big Mouth, as was the custom in those far off, lawless days (Imagine not being under surveillance 24/7 or chained to an iPhone) As a result, my memories of Easley Studios are, at best, evanescent.
David Baker was and is a singular cat. Put aside his incredible musicality, the voice that brims with personality, his dangerous stage presence and what I remember most, aside from his loyal friendship, is an admirable hair trigger temper. He took shit from no one.
He was a great interview, too, and wrapped around his finger all the UK hacks and myth-makers. The Rev owes him for that. And also for his unclassifiable work on Yerself is Steam and Boces....
I owe him too.