If it is fitting that we meet Dexter Romweber and his sister Sara at the Apollo Theater (and it is), it is perhaps even more appropriate that we record their performance behind the historic venue, specifically a relatively dark and frozen sidewalk alongside 126th Street.
See, Dexter’s been around almost long enough to qualify for landmark status himself.
As one-half of the now legendary Flat Duo Jets, he stole the spotlight in the 1986 indie flick Athens Inside/Out, even though his Georgia residency is better measured in weeks than years; 1990 brought about both the Duo Jets’ first full-length, as well as its first major tour as openers for the Cramps.
But 1998 marked the Duo Jets’ major label debut as well as their demise. And in the decade following, Dexter released just two solo albums, including Chased By Martians which suffered the misfortune of a September 11, 2001 release date.
Nevertheless, Dexter Romweber serves as a shadowy godfather of the roots rock renaissance. Neko Case, Exene Cervenka and Cat Power are all fans, and all three appear on the Romweber Duo’s Ruins of Berlin. More than once Jack White has cited the Duo Jets’ Go Go Harlem Baby as influential factor in the creation of his eponymous Stripes. And just this past February the Raconteurs guitarist/ Dead Weather drummer/sometime producer invited Dex and Sara to record in his Nashville studio for the first release in his label’s Live at Third Man series–another entry in the worthy, if overlooked, Romweber catalogue.
Now if we could only teach Dexter how to spell Ashkenazy . . .
The Dexter Romweber Duo plays The National Underground at 159 East Houston Street on Tuesday, June 29th.