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Feb
24
2014

AlphaBands – F is for The Flat Duo Jets

F is for The Flat Duo Jets

flat duo jets

My first encounter with the music of the Flat Duo Jets was via the 1987 documentary, Athens, GA Inside/Out. If I’m remembering correctly, a cassette of the soundtrack started making the rounds at my high school and we were all listening to it before anyone had actually seen the film. Not too long after that, though, the documentary was shown as a midnight movie at our local independent theater.

There were a number of bands that I was first exposed to via that film and its soundtrack (Pylon is the other biggie for me personally) but the Flat Duo Jets really meshed with where I was musically at the time: coming off a long stint of being interested in what would now be called “roots rock” (50s pop, rock-a-billy, blues, etc.) and just starting to dip my toes into college/indie rock.

Here they are doing Crazy Hazy Kisses from the film:

Seriously, DAMN.

Anyway… the Flat Duo Jets aren’t actually from Athens (maybe they were based there while the film was being made?), but rather from right here in N.C. and since I’ve been in North Carolina I’ve had the good fortune to see the Jets play live several times and to see Dexter Romweber (the singer/guitarist/songwriter) play in various other configurations as well. Romweber puts on a live show unlike anything else you’re likely to see. If you have a chance to see him play, I highly recommend you do so.

He seems to be enjoying some new-found (and well deserved) popularity owing to the Jets obvious influence on Jack White/The White Stripes. Their sound, influences, drum/guitar setup, and even trademark red/white/black color scheme are all Jets-influenced.

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If you want to learn more about Dexter Romweber and The Flat Duo jets, you’re in luck because the great documentary about them, Two Headed Cow, is available on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbVV3dzj18I

The image:

I had to pretty much flub the likeness of the Jets’ drummer, Crow Smith, since I could find very few images of him online… and even the few stills I quickly grabbed from Two Headed Cow were mostly blurry whirls of hair. I drew the faces separately in pencil in my sketchbook, then inked and colored them in Digital Manga Studio on a Microsoft Surface Pro 2.

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AlphaBands is a weekly online collaborative project in which illustrators and cartoonists draw a band or musician for one letter of the alphabet each week for 26 weeks. See the art and find out more at the AlphaBands tumblr: http://alphabands.tumblr.com/

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