desolation angels
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desolation angels

Detroit, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Detroit, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Americana Rock




"Blowout Day 3 - Whiskey and Rock"

Whiskey in the Jar is perfect in the sense that you feel like you’re in a basement somewhere. The cracked tiles and wood paneled walls make you feel right at home and the bar stocked with beautifully glistening bottles of hooch beg you to have a good time.

First up was Desolation Angels. The quartet was armed with enough twang and jangle to tame a wild dog. Sure, any band can play in a bar but few can sound good in a bar. With precision, high energy, soul and grit, Desolation Angels fit all the criteria. - The Metro Times

"Desolation Angels “Hell Or Highwater”"

I spent a month with this album one day. From heart pumping in your hands ballads to whack a mole upside the head country rockers, surf riffs pounded against rock breakers until they’re just splintered wood and cuts and bruises in between, Desolation Angels “Hell Or Highwater” packs a wallop of kick ass and I'm a glutton for ass whopping’s. Get it! - Popa's Tunes

"Desolation Angels - Hell Or Highwater (2012)"

Desolation Angels – Hell or highwater (2012)
Something for everyone on this excellent album, from hard driving southern roots rock to mid tempo country rock, to tender country ballads, all skillfully carried out by this talented Detroit based band. - American Roots (UK)

"Desolation Angels - High In Third Gear"

"Desolation Angels’ page cites a long list of influences, including everything from the “attitude of Johnny Cash” to “the drive of Social Distortion” to “the gentleness of the Flying Burrito Brothers.” All the alt-country, punk and blues-rock influences can be heard on the band’s debut, High In Third Gear. There’s nothing wrong, particularly if you’re a band from Detroit, with banging out riffs —the foundation upon which the ongoing garage-rock revival was built—as long as you’ve got the muscle to back it up. As a singer-songwriter, Desolation Angels Dan McKernan has it down to perfection. His voice is raw and powerful, as are his lyrics." - Port Huron Times Herald

"Desolation Angels"

"Desolation Angels are no joke - they take their live performances seriously, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has seen them and doesn't rave about their energy, their musicianship or the quality of their songs. There's a reason why this relatively unheralded band is touted in musicians circles and more than a few insiders think that the right break could propel them into national attention. They may be Detroit's best kept secret." - Real Detroit Weekly

"Desolation Angels/Hamtramck Blowout"

Desolation Angels

Social Distortion shouts from the bottom of a glass whenever Desolation Angels play. Thing is, between "Stuck Here With You" and "Kansas" (both from 2005's High in Third Gear), this Detroit trio has forged Social D's angry youth with the Jack-soaked country tributes of Mike Ness's later solo career. That's a volatile combination in a live setting, especially as the closing act for a Friday night that bleeds into Saturday faster than you can say "my liver hurts." What would Kerouac do? - Metro Times (Detroit)

"Desolation Angels’ Hell or Highwater is tremendous fun"

Desolation Angels’ Hell or Highwater is tremendous fun. The record is aptly named; this feels like the country house band in Hell (and the fact that the opening song is called “Hellbound” only adds fuel to that theory’s infernal fires. The whole thing reeks of tobacco, whiskey, sweat, sex and sin, with the pumping bass of the Lone Wolf John Abel driving the record like dirty old Mustang. This is Detroit country – cars and women are the muses, and there’s a frantic desperation that makes the Desolation Angels very appealing. - Metro Times

"Desolation Angels at MCMC"

Desolation Angels: This alcohol-fueled Detroit country-rock three-piece is as likely to hit listeners with a blast of riffs reminiscent of Replacements or Social Distortion as it is jangly finger-picking...Thursday’s MCR Showcase kicked off a very successful three days of rock at the 313.Jac. Desolation Angels gave the night a rollicking start, knocking around excitable songs that blended traces of blues and rockabilly with straight rock and country. -

"Bands salute Joe Strummer"

Anyone recall British punk-rock band The Clash, and its co-founder, guitarist and lead singer Joe Strummer?

Members of the bands Hairy Drain Babies, Desolation Angels, 15-92 and Street Crime with Alpha & Omega Soundsystem remember, and what's more, will pay tribute to Strummer at a show Saturday night at the Blind Pig.

"He was a tremendously influential figure in rock, and underappreciated really," said Spencer Nuzum, singer for the Ann Arbor-based Hairy Drain Babies. "Joe and the Clash made it cool to care about things and talk about important things that were actually going on. It wasn't all about love and kisses."

"We're going to be The Clash for the night. We dress up in Clash costumes and everything, which is actually not much of a stretch for us," Nuzum added.

Strummer - along with fellow Britons Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Terry Chimes (soon replaced by Topper Headon) - formed The Clash, considered by many to be one of the most successful and iconic bands from the original wave of punk rock, in 1976, incorporating punk with reggae, rockabilly, dance, jazz, ska, hip hop and eventually many other music styles.

The band's 1980 double album "London Calling" was declared the best album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone. The 1982 disc "Combat Rock," which included the hits "Rock the Casbah" and "Should I Stay Or Should I Go") probably marked the height of the band's commercial popularity in the United States.

Strummer, who was working with his new band, The Mescaleros and considering a Clash reunion, died of a heart attack at age 50 in late 2002.

"For us, Joe Strummer is where all of the different musical forms came together," explained Dan McKernan, guitarist and vocalist for the Detroit-based Desolation Angels. "He had a love of the pure rock and roll of the '50s but he wasn't stuck in the '50s. He introduced Third World music and reggae - the Clash was the first non-Third World group to have success with reggae on a huge scale.

"His lyrics could be personal, they could be very intelligently political, the structure of the songs could be incredibly poppy and still have a very tough edge to them. He was one of a kind."

Expect songs from not only The Clash era, but also from the 101-ers, his pre-Clash band, and The Mescaleros.

"We'll be doing (The Mescaleros') 'Cast a Long Shadow,'" added McKernan. "If that would have been the only song Joe Strummer ever wrote in his entire life, it would have been more than most songwriters ever write." - Ann Arbor News


High In Third Gear (2006)
Hell or Highwater (2012)
GBS Sessions (2013)



For the past ten years, Desolation Angels has worked hard at perfecting a unique but potent blend of country songwriting with southern rock flourishes, driven by pure Detroit muscle. Their sound is as unique as their members, but as sincere and enjoyable as those influences they take to heart.

Their ballads are sincere. Their rockers are lively. They show enough of those artists who inspire them - The Allman Brothers, Uncle Tupelo, Johnny Cash, CCR, The Rolling Stones - while never losing that boundless energy and unique style that shows they are always a Detroit band first, and truly something to see live.

They have released three well-received albums: High In Third Gear (2006) Hell or Highwater (2012), and last years GBS Sessions (2013)

The Desolation Angels line-up, Dan McKernan (guitar/vocals), John "Wolf" Abel (bass), Erik Pelto (drums) and Josh Weddle (guitar), are respected as players throughout Michigan.

States Desolation Angels have toured...
Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Events Desolation Angels have played...
Detroit Downtown Hoedown, Arts, Beats and Eats, Metro Times Blowout, Summerfest (Milwaukee), Stars and Stripes Festival, Motor City Music Conference, Toledo Rock Festival, Detroit News Sonic Summer, Official Detroit Tigers Opening Day, Dragway 42 Rock and Race, Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Mid by Midwest Festival and more...

Bands Desolation Angels have shared the stage with...
Jason Aldean, Annabelle Road, Bob Wayne, Deals Gone Bad, Whitey Morgan and the 78s, The Deadstring Brothers, The Ergs, Black Jake and the Carnies, Collective Soul, King's X, The Infatuations, Dirt Road Logic, The Muggs, The Grande Nationals, Darling Imperial, The Kincaids, Great Lakes Myth Society, Loretta Lucas, Cash O'Riley and the Downright Daddies, The Singles, The Vamps, Al and the Black Cats, The Twistin Tarantulas, Doop and the Inside Outlaws, 15-92, Lisboa, The Pop Project, Flatfoot, The Hotness, The Badways, Audra Kubat, The Beggars, Dangerville, The Pantones, Troy Gregory, The Cyril Lords, The Prime Ministers, New Grenada, Lords of the Highway, Dutch Pink, The Gentleman Callers, The Stranger, Ethos, The Capitol Cities, The Salt Miners, The Elevations, The Ingham County Regulars, The Wrenfields... and dozens more

Band Members