To rock and rollers around the globe, the legendary Steve Conte is probably best known as the lead guitarist, songwriter/and backing vocalist in the New York Dolls. Conte is also the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for a raft of other bands including Crown Jewels, The Contes, and his latest incarnation – Steve Conte & The Crazy Truth.
Sonically, The Crazy Truth lies somewhere between garage rock and punk blues with hints of Latin-soul in a dark, smoky lounge. It’s the Stooges and the Stones versus Morphine and Tom Waits. The vibe is best described by Conte as “classic roots with a modern twist.”
Steve Conte delivers the power, soul and raunch. He’s a runaway guitar hero on the edge of falling apart – with the voice of a derelict angel. Drummer Phil Stewart is equal parts Max Roach and Keith Moon while bassist Leeko was weaned on The Clash and old school reggae. Says Conte, “This album sounds like a band playing live because it’s drums, bass and guitar together in one room, solos recorded live on the basic tracks, rough and tough. It was like doing a gig. I love playing live with this band because it’s all about interplay and the moment. We don’t just deliver the songs…we JAM!”
1. This Is The End
2. Gypsy Cab
3. Texas T
4. The Goods Are Odd
5. Get Off
6. The Truth Ain’t Pretty
7. Her Highness
8. Busload of Hope
9. Strumpet-hearted Monkey Girl
10. Indie Girl
11. Junk Planet
Lyrically, the songs reflect two decades of life and excess in New York City…the distractions troubled souls move toward to fill the emptiness. Dive bars, gambling, sex and drugs. It’s all there, but not celebrated with the traditional macho rock attitude. It’s more about redemption.
On The Truth Ain’t Pretty, Conte sings, “I’m always putting the last things first, that’s why I’m starting out with the second verse,” while on The Goods Are Odd he croons “Drag queens, drama queens, future ex-porn stars, we’re all looking for lovers with beautiful scars.”
Whether he’s the morally bankrupt guy “coming downtown in a Gypsy Cab” (from the standout track Gypsy Cab) or riding a Busload of Hope to Atlantic City, Conte offers a sense of optimism in the song This Is The End – “In the end we transcend – we’re divine”.
Special guests on the album includes David Johansen (New York Dolls) on harmonica, Catherine Russell (David Bowie) and Nicki Richards (Madonna) on backing vocals, plus Danny Ray (Sylvain Sylvain/Johnny Thunders), Kiku Collins (Beyonce) Tom Timko (Stevie Wonder) on horns.
The album was mixed by the legendary Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Keith Richards) and mastered by Richard Dodd (Tom Petty, Green Day).