Album Review: Don Jamieson – Denim & Laughter

Album Review: Don Jamieson – Denim & Laughter

Album Review: Don Jamieson – Denim & Laughter
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

I do like a bit of comedy but most of it these days struggles to really make me chortle. I have nothing but admiration for those who find the zeal and drive to stand up in front of strangers and rely on what they think is funny to make others laugh. I’ve got a good friend who is excellent at it. I think he’s nuts. Combine metal with comedy and you are on really challenging ground. Those who know nothing about our religion view metal completely differently.

Anyway, Don Jamieson is the former That Metal Show co-host. You may recall it used to be on VH-1. He’s also a comedian and will be the warm-up and host for the forthcoming tour with Biff Byford, the Saxon frontman who is promoting his first solo album in April and May of this year. Jamieson is a huge Saxon fan by all accounts, hence the title of this publication, falling in line with other rock album puns he has made on previous releases. Apparently metal heads should be familiar with his work although Jamieson insists it isn’t exclusively for those who like it hard, fast and loud. "But of course, the album is not just for rockers, but for all people who like humour with a rock 'n' roll attitude. Comedy is like rock 'n''s no fun if it's not dangerous. And being a comedian on Metal Blade Records makes the whole package complete," he said.

Recorded in front of about 40 hardcore fans in a speakeasy in Los Angeles in October 2019, it’s a 45-minute set which I have to say moves from funny to terrible and back again throughout the duration of the show. Microphones located close to the boorish crowd do pick up every whoop and “hell yeah” from the audience, sometimes to the point of irritation. Divided into 15 segments, Jamieson races through a range of subjects. He’s not a fan of craft beer, “I’m not paying $12 for a glass of oatmeal and fermented lawn chipping which smells like a laundry bag with a hint of hipster jizz”, whilst declaring his love of Miller Lite (already marked him down in my book). A brief skirmish with politics as he touches on Donald Trump’s wall, but hey ho, let’s add a dose of casual racism to boot. “Let’s build a wall so the Chinese tourists have an American wall to look at”. Yeah, that and the inevitable Muslim joke that you just knew an American couldn’t avoid making and which even some in the hardcore audience find a little uncomfortable. Sigh.

Some of Jamieson’s metal stories are little better fare. There’s the challenge to the Superbowl in ‘Adam Levine’s Nipples’ segment, with derision at the decision to use Maroon 5 as the entertainment instead of a metal band (cue booing from the partisan gathering). “Get AC/DC instead” he says. “Hell yeah” shouts the guy in the front row slugging down his fifth lite beer. Sure, but do you ever recall a great show by a band engaged as half-time entertainment (Do you recall the crushingly embarrassing world air guitar attempt that Saxon tried at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground in 2007 – Wednesday 2-0 down to Sunderland, their crowd irritable about their team’s showing and then some bunch of long haired fools from Barnsley were trying to do what??) Jamieson’s story about Sebastian Bach whilst at Roast on the Range is slightly better although describing Bach as “the rotting corpse of Farah Fawcett” is probably appealing to a niche audience. It may be that some of the humour here is lost in translation; there are certainly references that I didn’t get. The release is badged as homage to NWOBHM but I can’t really feel much of a tribute within the material.

I’m sure that Jamieson will be a willing host and entertaining warm-up for Biff and if you are going to a show, I’d be interested in hearing how he goes down. This release didn’t resonate too wildly with me as you can tell, but it’ll be down to you to decide.

Denim & Laughter is released by Metal Blade on 21st February.

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