Daisy Spot has been one of Sacramento’s most interesting and exciting bands for the past two decades even though they’ve released only one CD to date. Fortunately, their self-titled debut album (released in 2005) was well worth the 13-year wait. Co-lead singers Mike Farrell and Tatiana Latour manage to maintain a sensuous vibe throughout as they seductively croon in unison on most of the tracks. Despite the consistent tone, the band touches on a variety of styles, including bossa nova (“Leinaala”), country (“See Dick Drive”), rock (“Stuck in the Mud”), and soul (“All I Wanna Know”). The album won a SAMMIE (Sacramento Area Music Award) in 2006 for “Best Local CD,” although I believe it could’ve been in contention for the best among any released nationally that year had it reached more ears. Tatiana also won for “Best Female Vocalist,” and she could’ve easily earned it just for her breathtakingly-beautiful performance on “All I Wanna Know.” Her other solo number “Erzulie” was recorded on an answering machine, giving it an eerie quality that’s highlighted at the right moment by the sound of a distant siren in the background.
Although the CD’s an instant classic, it doesn’t quite prepare the uninitiated for just how exhilarating their live shows can be. Bassist Brian Latour and drummer Alex Jenkins always provide reliable and steady support, but the adrenaline really kicks in whenever guitarist Farrell launches into one of his incendiary solos while Tatiana dances as though in a trance. I remember being mesmerized by this pair of former lovers the first time I saw them perform in a club, and they’ve continued to work their magic together many years after introducing themselves as a rock ‘n’ roll couple. Unfortunately, their live appearances have been very sporadic in recent years, and the likelihood of another Daisy Spot album seems slim even though they’ve developed enough material over the years to justify the effort.
In addition to Daisy Spot, Mike Farrell has been involved with a number of other bands like Th’ Losin Streaks, Persephone’s Bees, Moore, Sex 66, and, most recently, Jenn Rogar and the Adorables. In 2009, he finally released his first solo album Devil May Care, which also comes highly recommended. It didn’t knock me out right away as Daisy Spot’s debut did, but I couldn’t deny just how phenomenal it really is once I spent more time with it. It certainly does a much better job of showing off Farrell’s full range as a musician in a way his various other projects have been unable to do. Longtime fans know Farrell’s paid the price for his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Having spent a great deal of time in rehab, he’s lucky just to be alive, and he knows it. He’s also a badass rock star, and he knows that too. He’s Jimi Hendrix, Mick & Keith, Lou Reed, Jim Morrison, Johnny Rotten . . . screw it, he’s Mike Farrell, dammit! I have no idea why his legend hasn’t extended well beyond Sacramento, but I suppose I could say the same for all the artists featured in this blog. Anyway, back to Devil May Care. I could break it down for you track by track, but you really need to just buy it and listen and be amazed that an old-fashioned rocker like Farrell can still pull out all the stops and leave you breathless. The only thing remotely disappointing is that the garish cover art and the typeface used for the song titles circling the border make them extremely difficult to read. But then perfection’s ridiculously overrated, isn’t it?
Bonus Fun Fact – Mike Farrell once performed as a clown in a Tom Jones tribute band called Bozo Knows Jones. He also played drums and portrayed a decidedly un-American superhero called Captain Commie for the notorious Whorelords.
You can find Daisy Spot for sale here.