Following an eight year stand, that ended in '99, with New York's D Generation, Jesse Malin launched a couple short-lived projects before going solo. PCP Highway (with former D Generation bandmates Howie Pyro and Joe Rizzo) and Bellvue (also named Tsing-Tsing for a brief time) came and went with little notice.
Having met singer/songwriter Ryan Adams while fronting D Generation, Malin asked Adams to produce his solo debut, "The Fine Art Of Self Destruction." Interestingly, Adams had no prior producing experience.
Initially released in the U.K., the album made some noise, especially the lead single "Queen Of The Underworld." A few months later, January '03, the album came out in the U.S. With Folk-Rock and Alt. Country (thankfully more Alt. than Country) influences, the set was a far cry from D Generation's Punk raves.
Next up were a couple one-off projects: recording "Hungry Heart" for "Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen" and "Death Or Glory" for "White Riot 2: A Tribute To The Clash." While it can be argued that both Springsteen and The Clash play to the rebellious side of Rock, there are significant stylistic differences. That Malin created credible covers was a tribute to his range and musical dexterity.
Recording for Malin's next album, "The Heat" began in November of '03. The set was released the following June. Moving to Adeline Records, the label operated by Green Day's frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, Malin issued "Glitter In The Gutter." Songs on the '07 CD were tested in front of live audiences as Malin toured the U.S. and U.K. Running the board was Green Day's producer Rob Cavallo. Those lending their talents included Jakob Dylan, Queens Of The Stone Age's Josh Homme, the Foo Fighter's guitarist Chris Shiflett and the aforementioned Adams and Springsteen (heard on "Broken Radio," a song that ponders whether a woman "missed the boat or burned the bridge.")
Having done a cover of The Replacements "Bastards Of The Young" on "Glitter In The Gutter," Malin decided his next effort, "On Your Sleeve," would consist entirely of songs originally recorded by The Ramones, Neil Young and even Sam Cooke (among others). But the real surprise was Malin's take of "Everybody's Talkin'." Written and recorded by Fred Neil, the song appeared in the film Midnight Cowboy. It was later re-recorded by Nilsson, who turned it into an early '70s pop hit.
Malin released a 'live in the studio' album', "Love It To Life" in November '07. Recorded in NYC (naturally) at Gigantic Recording Studios, the set featured songs from his previous albums. Malin used the title again in '10 for an album of new material.
Then came "Mercury Retrograde." This '07 set was recorded at NYC's Mercury Lounge and issued the following year. The first thirteen tracks were from the live set; the final five tracks were studio recordings.
"Love It To Life," a '10 studio set, featured a collective of players and friends called The St. Mark's Social. The album contained the song, "Burning The Bowery," along with two tracks ("The Archer" and "Disco Ghetto") with Ryan Adams on electric guitar and backing vocals.
Though D Generation reunited in '11, Malin released a solo effort in '15. "New York Before The War," had references to local landmarks and bands, in the time of CBGBs and the Ramones.
2000: 169 (EP)
2002: The Fine Art Of Self Destruction
2003: The Wendy EP
2004: The Heat
2007: Glitter In The Gutter
2007: Love It To Life ("official bootleg" live album)
2008: On Your Sleeve
2008: Mercury Retrograde
2010: Love It To Life
2015: New York Before The War
Malin is a Rock Troubadour, much in the Springsteen mode. Songs slicing NY life roll out with an inexorable energy.
How can an album with Bruce Springsteen, Jakob Dylan, Ryan Adams and Josh Homme fail? Oh, it probably could but it would take some effort. Fortunately, Malin brings in the big guns and works them to his advantage on "Glitter In The Gutter." They're in the mix but don't overshadow - well, maybe Springsteen does.