Duquette Johnson

Duquette Johnson

Saturday - May 21, 2022 7:00PM

Cover: $12

Great show Saturday night!
Single Lock Records presents Duquette Johnson, Speckled Bird will open the show!

By his own admission Duquette Johnston has lived a "wild, incredible life," but even that might be underselling the three-act 25-year journey that's led to the Alabama musician's new album The Social Animals; out February 25 on Single Lock Records. A founding member of the breakout 90s indie band Verbena, Johnston toured with other ascendant acts of the era like The Strokes and Foo Fighters before leaving the band somewhere around their first major label deal (instead joining Juliana Hatfield in a reunited Blake Babies).

In the years that followed, remembering "I thought I had to live in misery to create great art," a drug charge began Johnston's treacherous cycle through a prison system more focused on "zero tolerance" than recovery and rehabilitation. Emerging against the odds with a resolute optimism and renewed focus on community, Duquette returned to Birmingham to help bring the arts back to a historic part of town that had seen better days...and he did that so impactfully that the New York Times took note of his clothing store-art gallery-performance venue Club Duquette. Seemingly insurmountable challenges would hit Duquette again, but this time he would be ready.

The Social Animals came together over the course of an eight year period, during which Duquette's wife Morgan developed a life-threatening condition after giving birth to the couple's first child through a complicated pregnancy. It took everything the family had to pick up the pieces...emotionally, financially, spiritually...but leaning on the lessons of past adversities, Duquette had what he calls “a radical break from the old way of living and looking at life.” It was at that moment he returned to music, and came up with the idea for Club Duquette and further dedicated his life to service in his beloved Birmingham community. Reverberating with an unwavering hopefulness, The Social Animals feels more urgent at this moment than it ever could have when Johnston began writing the album nearly a decade ago.

In bringing the new album to life, Johnston drew from his indie rock past to unite a remarkable group of collaborators. This team included producer John Agnello - known for his work with Dinosaur Jr as well as recent albums from Hop Along, Waxahatchee, Twin Peaks and Kurt Vile - and a band anchored by longtime Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. Through their spiraling guitars and cavernous beats, Johnston shares deeply-learned messages on the common theme that "we can lift each other up. We can change things, if we keep our hearts in the right place.” Ultimately, The Social Animals is a way for Duquette to bring as much good for others as he can out of that "wild, incredible life" he's lived. "If my story and my experiences can open other people's eyes, then everything I've done is worth it.


Speckled Bird

For musicians who have been a part of Alabama Shakes, John Paul White’s band, Cedric Burnside’s band, Belle Adair, and more, Speckled Bird represents something new.