Singer/songwriter Danny Cohen – who just dropped his third Anti- album Shades Of Dorian Gray on February 6th – will reunite his proto punk group Charleston Grotto for two performances on February 27th in Los Angeles. Billed as “Celebrating 50 Years of the Beachwood Boys & Charleston Grotto with Front, Rear, Bottom & Fidel,” the Theatre of Note gigs will commemorate the history of a seminal act that brought forth angsty numbers like “Kill The Teacher” as early as 1961.
With the landmark outfit Charleston Grotto – which also featured Danny’s brother Greg Cohen on bass put the proto firmly in punk. “It’s been substantiated - we were the first punk band that people talked about,” Cohen says. “We can say it without fear of reprisal. Charleston Grotto recorded every practice we ever had on a Sony reel-to-reel. So there’s very clear evidence that we did it first, some 45 years ago. We had a chemistry that was unbeatable.”
Known for being – as he puts it – “the first open eccentric in the L.A. city schools,” few can argue Cohen was an underground trailblazer. Replete with “nasty” lyrics and music deemed “to weird for its time,” an unpublished memoir which dates back 30 years also cites him as a “maniacal visionary.”
Cohen’s vital and unconventional contribution to music over the past five decades is affirmed by his latest, Shades Of Dorian Gray. In a four star review, All Music Guide called him “damned charming” and proclaimed the disc his “most realized and embraceable outing yet.” Elsewhere, Cleveland Scene says, “his lyrics are pure poetry – alternately funny and depressing, moving and unsettling,” while Neufutur.com wrote, “[it’s] music that pushes the perceptions of what the genre should be and what it should sound like; Cohen is a breath of fresh air.”
Bookended by the two Charleston Grotto reunion performances at 7 pm and 9:30, Danny will also perform a solo set in support of his new disc at 8:30 p.m. on February 27th.