Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Miked - Live Reviews from Issue #32 March-April 2001


Second Story (Bloomington, IN), December 30, 2000

Snow fell on a vacant Indiana University, and the campus lay quiet enough for visitors to hear the buzz of streetlamps. But inside Second Story, pretty little Bloomington turned dank and loud, smoked unfiltereds, refused cups and chugged pitchers of beers, moshed and pointed and witnessed a convergence, a rebirth, a time warp…a damn good party.

“Jesus CHRIST!!!” screamed Dale Lawrence, leading a punk rock version of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “Hot Burrito #2″ as his newly reunited Gizmos slashed and churned around him. The punk-does-Gram-Parsons deal is old hat now, but the Gizmos were there before even Jason & the Scorchers, and the alt.country/Americana scene owes more than its participants often realize to this Bloomington quartet.

Actually, before the Gizmos, there was…the Gizmos. With different personnel, playing self-penned, Caveman punk songs like “That’s Cool (I Respect You More)” and “Kiss Of The Rat”. Those were not the Gizmos who came to Second Story, though.

These Gizmos synthesized the Ramones, Jonathan Richman, Chuck Berry and, eventually, country music. The resulting mix rerouted the band members’ sensibilities in ways that changed the world, if only a little. Lawrence went on to form the critically acclaimed, mysteriously brilliant Vulgar Boatmen with Robert Ray. Walter Salas-Humara was a Boatman, and he learned much through exposure to the songs of Lawrence and Ray. Salas-Humara later formed the Silos, an early and crucial inhabitant of the world we now call Americana.

Another Gizmo, guitarist Tim Carroll, was an IU student when he joined the band. Since then, he has moved to Nashville, had a song recorded by John Prine, and earned a reputation as a kingpin of the Nashville underground. Before that, Carroll lived in New York City (the Gizmos moved there in 1980, then disbanded in 1981) and formed the Blue Chieftains, who played a major role in the NYC roots/country scene fueled by Diesel Only Records.

All this musical history meant little to the ecstatic Hoosiers assembled that night in Bloomington. It was more about personal history, about a chance to relive pre-AIDS, pre-Reagan days of beery squalor.

Bassist Billy Nightshade was the spark plug, occasionally taking wondrous, menacing, screeching lead vocals. Drummer Shadow Myers delivered appropriate clatter and bombast, while original, “That’s Cool”-era Gizmo Davey Medlock banged an unmiked cowbell in largely random fashion. Lawrence delighted the roiling crowd with regional pride anthems “Rock ‘N’ Roll Don’t Come From New York” and “Midwest Can Be Alright”. And Carroll dumbed down his blistering Telecaster playing enough to be punk authentic, but not enough to sound like anything but a ringer.

Between songs, the Gizmos mostly smiled, and they should have: No way the band was this good way back when. Carroll’s masterful, country-inflected lead on “See About You” was a smashing, airbrushed reworking of a picture taken long ago, and each of the players (save for Medlock) added decades of craft to a long-ignored but freshly uncovered nugget of inspiration. The best of the song lot was “Lady Across The Street”, a groovy romp detailing troubles with a rock-unfriendly neighbor. She’s probably dead now, but the Gizmos live on. Sort of.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108


Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #32 March-April 2001

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »

From the Blogs

  • No Depression Is Getting a Facelift: A Note About What's Around the Bend
    Ever since we announced that No Depression had been acquired by FreshGrass back in March, we’ve heard from many of you with questions, concerns, and ideas about the future of this website and the community that gathers here. We created a forum topic at that time so we could organize these comments and refer to them frequently, which we have done as we’ve dev […]
  • Getting to Know Ashley Sofia -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Have you ever had the feeling that a musician may have traveled through space and time during a recording project?  Music critics and fans are hailing Ashley Sofia as a 21st century reincarnation of the Laurel Canyon folk-rock sound  on the early 1970s. Ashley’s songwriting and captivating voice make for a great combination; she’s definitely worth a… […]
  • Learning Songwriting at the Feet of Steve Earle
    Steve Earle has his eye on the history books. Not for himself, necessarily - though I doubt he’d object - but for his art form, “songwriting as literature.” With Camp Copperhead, Steve seemed to be trying to secure this form a place in history. “Four days of singing and songwriting,” the marketing materials promised. “Hard core.” I’m a non-professional songw […]
  • Jack Clement – For Once And For All (Album Review)
    Allen, Reynolds, and a laid-back, masterful collection of familiar Clement-penned country classics. A decade of Clement-penned originals plus a pair of co-writes grace this late music legend’s third solo collection, released just short of a year after his passing aged 82. Memphis-raised Jack Henderson Clement launched his career with the renowned imprint Sun […]
  • Wise Old Moon - The Patterns (Album Review)
    Wise Old Moon. Sounds like a tall tale from an old children’s story book. Perhaps the namesake of a tavern or bookstore in a New England town that hasn’t quite caught up with time yet? But in this case it’s the name of a young and truly gifted roots music outfit from the Connecticut area. Every so often a record comes along that makes you happy this kind of […]
  • Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I, II & III 2014 Remasters (Album Review)
    Has any music reviewer ever missed the mark more than John Mendelsohn in his 1969 Rolling Stone critique of Led Zeppelin’s scorching, finely honed debut? After calling the album self-indulgent, he labeled Jimmy Page “a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs” and dismissed Robert Plant’s “strained and unconvincing shouting.” The album […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!

Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter