Raised in Whitestone, New York, Jesse Malin aspired to rock at the all-ages hardcore punk shows at CBGB's. At age 12, he became the vocalist for a hardcore band, Heart Attack. Upon the group’s disbandment in 1984, Malin labored as a gas station attendant, a health food store clerk and a "man with a van" moving furniture for Barbara Streisand and the Swans. In 1991, Malin and some childhood friends formed the popular glam-punk band D Generation and released three albums before disbanding in 1999. Malin played with several short-lived bands, then went solo in 2001. Along the way, he collaborated with Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen and members of Green Day. Malin released his seventh album, Outsiders, on October 9, 2015.
Malin has spent three-quarters of his life playing in rock bands. In recent times, most of his local performances have been celebrations of record releases or benefit concerts. For tonight's set at City Winery, Malin and his band performed his entire 2002 debut solo album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction, track for track, bringing to these songs new life and somewhat rethought arrangements. While the original versions were comparatively laid back, tonight they were given ignition and momentum. Malin opened the show singing from the audience, working his way to the stage. Playing an amplified acoustic guitar on some of the folk-centered songs brought out his emotive side, but Malin's whole being seemed to energize in the rockers. Between songs he used his gift of gab to annotate amusing anecdotes related to the lyrics of the forthcoming song. Malin and his band concluded the show with a bang, featuring "Mona Lisa" from his The Heat album, and covers of the Pogues' "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," the Clash's "Rudie Can't Fail" and The Lords of the New Church's "Russian Roulette." The next time around, Malin will be with his reunited D Generation, headlining at Irving Plaza on July 30.
Visit Jesse Malin at www.jessemalin.com.