Classic concert: Mink DeVille at Winterland San Francisco June 7 1978
Bob Dylan in a Post-MusiCares Conversation with Bill Flanagan:
ARE THERE ANY OTHER PERFORMERS BESIDES BILLY LEE RILEY THAT YOU CAN RECOMMEND FOR THE HALL OF FAME?
Yeah sure, Willy DeVille for one, he stood out, his voice and presentation ought to have gotten him in there by now.
I AGREE WITH YOU, MAYBE HE’S BEEN OVERLOOKED. HE CARRIED A LOT OF HISTORY. THE DRIFTERS, BEN E. KING, SOLOMON BURKE, STREET CORNER DOO WOP AND JOHN LEE HOOKER WERE ALL THERE IN WHAT HE DID AND HOW HE PERFORMED.
I think so too.
YOU SUGGESTED THAT SOME OF THE ACTS IN THE HALL OF FAME MIGHT NOT BE TRUE ROCK & ROLL. YOU MENTIONED THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS, ABBA, ALICE COOPER. I HAVE TO STICK UP FOR STEELY DAN. NOT EVERYTHING THEY DID WAS ROCK & ROLL BUT “BODHISATTVA,” “SHOW BIZ KIDS,” “MY OLD SCHOOL” – THOSE SONGS ROCKED LIKE A BASTARD.
Yeah they might have rocked like a bastard, and I’m not saying that they didn’t, but put on any one of those records and then put on “In The Heat of the Moment” by Willy or “Steady Driving Man” or even “Cadillac Walk.” I’m not going to belittle Steely Dan but there is a difference.
I’ve been a huge Mink Deville/Willy DeVille fan since I saw him at the 9th Rockpalast Night on tv in 1981. He behaved like a superstar from the beginning, he was just so cool.
Today’s Classic Concert was found in the archives of the late promoter, Bill Graham, who booked DeVille into the popular Winterland in the summer of 1978 on the same bill as Nick Lowe with Rockpile and Elvis Costello & the Attractions.
The best material from his first two albums are present here, including “Spanish Stroll,” “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” “Guardian Angel,” “Cadillac Walk,” “Steady Drivin’ Man,” and “Soul Twist.” He gives a great vocal performance on a number of these songs, especially, “Soul Twist.” You should also check out the May 5 Concert at Capitol Theatre the same year, equally good but with lesser video quality (slightly).
Mink DeVille at Winterland 1978 the full set:
1 – Venus Of Avenue D
2 – Gunslinger
3 – Spanish Stroll
4 – Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl
5 – Just Your Friends
6 – Guardian Angel
7 – Cadillac Walk
8 – Steady Drivin’ Man
9 – Soul Twist
10 – Just You ‘n’ Me
Mink DeVille the band was formed by Willy DeVille (born William Borsay, August 27, 1950). He took his surname from his favorite car, a Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Growing up in the heart of Greenwich Village, Willy DeVille absorbed the influences of the already established folk movement (Bob Dylan, Odetta, Phil Ochs), and the growing rock movement (the Blues Project, Jimi Hendrix, and others) which used the Village as its launch pad. The band had an ever changing line-up, the only constant in the band was Willy DeVille.
Personnel on the Winterland concert:
Tom “Manfred” Allen Tom DiMarzio- drums
Willy DeVille – lead vocals, guitar
Louis X Erlanger – guitar
Ruben Siguenza – bass, vocals
George Cureau – piano
? – saxophone (is it Louie Cortelozzi? if you know, please tell me in the comments)
The saxophone player on the Winterland video is David Leathers. (Thanks for the info, Louis X. Erlanger)
Mink DeVille quickly gained acceptance by the punk and alternative music scene (my preferred music at the time), which revolved around New York’s legendary CBGB club. His presence in the band was so strong that he was/is often believed to be named Mink DeVille himself.
After doing three songs on the indie compilation, Live At CBGBs, Mink DeVille was signed to Capitol Records and produced by legendary Phil Spector/Wall-Of-Sound arranger, Jack Nitzsche. DeVille had an affinity with the classic Spector recordings and the music of the Brill Building, and he also had a deep love of Latin, blues, and folk music. Therefore, his own music style was one of great diversity. He never saw much commercial success in America, but he was loved by critics and had a core cult following that remains loyal to this day.
In Europe, however, he became a star and was able to sustain a successful career for nearly 30 years. Willy DeVille kept the band Mink DeVille alive through the early-’80s and the end of the punk explosion. He would return under his own name, releasing a number of albums and film soundtracks, produced by a number of industry celebs, including Dire Straits guitarist, Mark Knopfler. In 1987, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his song, “Storybook Love,” the theme from the film, The Princess Bride.
Willy DeVille died of cancer in 2009 just three weeks shy of 58 years old, we miss him a lot.