nail david down
Singer would take a 99-cent hamburger over settling down any day
Singer-songwriter David Davidson, who has performed his unique style of acoustic rock with his band “nailndaviddown” since early 2010, took a rather roundabout musical journey to get where he is today – starting out as a band manager in St. Louis and serving as lead singer for previous heavy metal bands.
“Music was always something I wanted to do, but I waited until I was in my 20s to really get started,” Davidson said, and has now decided “to give up having any other kind of career.”
A native of California, Davidson, 35, moved to St. Louis when he was in his early teens and had his first foray into music when he was 20 and some friends who were in a rock band, Highbred Echo, asked for his help.
“They were needing someone to get them bookings and help get their music out there so I basically started managing their band,” he said.
The band broke up after two years, but Davidson’s interest was sparked and he “went out looking for another band” and soon put together a heavy metal group called Fracture, with him as lead singer.
“That’s just what I first got into,” he said. “I was more interested in modern rock, but that was what they were doing.” The band stayed together for five years, touring all over the country, even back to his old stomping grounds in California.
By the time the band broke up, Davidson had started working for a construction company which ultimately brought him to Hot Springs, where he has lived for the last nine years.
After moving to Arkansas, he soon formed a new band with some friends from Malvern called “LbFace” (pronounced Pound Face), another heavy metal group, and they played together “off and on” for about six years.
Meanwhile, Davidson had started playing guitar, noting, “I learned just by listening and watching,” and writing songs and soon began doing solo acoustic gigs with a different sound from his heavy metal past.
“I started out only doing songs I had written. I didn’t start doing covers until quite a bit later.”
Some of his musician friends from other bands eventually came to him and they formed “nailndaviddown,” providing him with a full band to perform his acoustic music, with James Crump on drums, Loy Gray on guitar, Joe Denty on lead guitar and Tristen Bruce on bass.
The band’s unusual name came from “family and friends wondering when I’m going to settle down with the right girl. You know, an ongoing process to nail me down,” he said, laughing.
Asked about his song writing method, Davidson said, “I just sit down and start playing and words just sort of come to me. I’ll be thinking about personal stuff or world events or things my friends are going through.”
He said a lot of times he will write a song in the space of an hour. “Some of my best songs came really fast. Just sort of fell together. In fact, if a song takes me longer than a day it’s usually not one I keep or stick with.” He noted he has about 60 originals and now does about 50 covers.
Artists he covers, who were also influences on his music, include Matchbox 20, the Goo Goo Dolls, Staind and Aaron Lewis’ solo work, classic rock, and lately he has been getting into country music artists like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
“Not so much for the music as the lyrics,” he said. “Country music has a strong story line like a book you’re reading and I’m trying to mix that in with my rock music.”
Davidson said he is focused solely on music now, noting, “I can always go out and find somewhere to play. You may not make a million dollars but you can make enough to eat and get by and get you to the next one.
“A lot of my friends have settled down and bought houses while I’m still eating 99 cent cheeseburgers, but I’m happy. I’m doing what I always wanted to do.”
Nailndaviddown played recently at the Blue Moon Saloon, 135 Essex Park Place, and has gigs planned at Razorback Pizza and Central Park Fusion Cafe.
David Davidson on the stage at Blue Moon Saloon.