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avatar for Alex Dezen (of the Damnwells)

Alex Dezen (of the Damnwells)

Formed in 2001, the Damnwells represent the songwriting efforts of singer/guitarist Alex Dezen, whose mix of alt-country and alternative pop/rock is supported by a variety of talented musicians and producers. The group took root in Brooklyn, where Dezen was joined by ex-Whiskeytown drummer Steven Terry, bassist Ted Hudson, and guitarist Dave Chernis. A series of EPs helped cement the band's sound and the Damnwells were soon asked to tour in support of Cheap Trick. After the tour The Damnwells headed to their Manhattan Mini Storage space, which doubled as a rehearsal space and makeshift studio, to record their first full-length album. Pairing Dezen's slow, codeine-laced ballads with up-tempo rock, they completed Bastards of the Beat before signing a deal with Epic Records.

In a rare display of confidence, Epic released Bastards of the Beat in 2003 without any major revisions, allowing both the band's artwork and track list to remain intact. When the Damnwells returned to the studio two years later, however, they found themselves dropped from Epic's roster, an incident that was later captured on the documentary “Golden Days”. After months of uncertainty, the band found a new home at Zoe/Rounder Records and issued Air Stereo in late 2006. The record widened the Damnwells' sound with lap steel, piano, and sublime harmonies. A tour alongside the Fray helped the band to expose larger audiences to their music.

In 2008, Alex Dezen enrolled as an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Iowa, where he participated in the acclaimed Iowa Writers' Workshop. Meanwhile, he continued recording music with a revised version of the Damnwells, which now included drummer Andrew Ratcliffe, bassist Adrian Dickey, and producer/guitarist Freddy Wall. The band’s third album, One Last Century, was released in partnership with Paste Magazine, which offered the album as a free digital download.

During his stay in Iowa, Dezen wrote material for an album called No One Listens to the Band which was entirely funded by fans though PledgeMusic.com. The band’s Pledge campaign raised almost double the amount they set out to raise which allowed them to spend more money on recoding, production and a 2011 tour to support the release. As a result of the success of their campaign, the Damwells was signed in late 2010 by the newly formed PledgeMusic Recordings for the release of No One Listens to the Band Anymore.

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