Review: Duncan Wilder Johnson

Duncan Wilder Johnson
(Wonderdrug Records)


Duncan Wilder Johnson in two modes: Every other track on this CD is either musical or spoken word.

Musical tracks:  ‘God Loves Car Crashes’ in grumbly bass and riff jacking metal.  Since there’s really no ‘band’ listed that I could find, and each song has individual instrument credits (although most are the same people), not sure if this is just Duncan Wilder Johnson venting in a metal musical form, since… well, if you knew DWJ, what ELSE would he do besides being the ‘heavy metal spoken word’ poet, but be in a heavy metal band.  This does have a garage-y sludgy originality and knock you over attitude and some punk rock speed within it’s metal heart, with obviously creative lyrics (ala Duncan), so I hope this takes on a more focused effort.  ‘Nipplekabob’ toggles between a shouted ideal of the title, and an uplifting pull of guitar chord that creates a wall of strum behind which Duncan fills in the lyrics with his spoken word flow.

Spoken word comedy:  observations on the word ‘dude’ and its different meanings based on the delivery of the word.  The pilgrimage to OzzFest 99.  Within this bit, I found a common bond when he mentioned seeing some finely mulleted gentleman wearing his ‘Clash of the Titans’ tour T-shirt – which I was also wearing when I was listening to this CD.  Duncan has that insight into the lives of the everyday metal that he can even nail down your wardrobe.  Typical Duncan sense of humor:  When he explains how he would trade his left testicle to attend the Ozzfest.  Then when the next girl freaks out that he only had one testicle, he would be able to state with stunning poise, “I gave it to… Ozzy”.  Above all, Duncan holds Sabbath and Ozzy above all (except for maybe Slayer).  He even hears Ozzy’s voice in his head advising him to purchase a Black Sabbath belt buckle.  While he does respect contemporary metal, like the Deftones, who he admits are ‘rocking’, but they don’t make him want to kill people, and that’s a point against them.  A Motorhead show serves as a backdrop another live concert adventure delivered in the guise of well-worded story telling.  Which is really the charm of Duncan Wilder Johnson.  He’s not this over-read, arrogant ‘words show how deep I am’ spoken word elitists.  Duncan is that guy who you let ‘tell the story’ because he does it best.  And his chosen format all resides somewhere within the realm of growing up and existing as a contemporary metalhead.  Although Duncan even goes into his youth and how the movie ‘Breakin’ (complete with his parachute pants fashion) changed his life.

Some people take Zoloft.  Some people take Prozac.  Duncan Wilder Johnson listens to Black Sabbath.