Portland punkers Attack Ships on Fire have performed at Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas more than a few times in recent years. The band loves the bar so much they included a terrific tribute song called, well, “Double Down”—in honor of the world-famous watering hole—on the 2009 album Punches Are Free. (My favorite lyrical couplet: “The Ass Juice is tempting/Insurance I’m taking.”) Actually, there’s been several Double Down songs written and recorded over the years by punk bands, but even the bar’s owner and published author P Moss recognizes that the one composed by Attack Ships on Fire is “definitely the best.”
“It’s a huge jukebox favorite, especially at the Double Down in New York City,” Moss says.
Now Attack Ships have taken things a step further by penning a song named after and inspired by one of Moss’ short stories, “Clam Daddy,” from his book Blue Vegas (CityLife Books, 2010). The collection has earned positive reviews, and critics have singled out the particular story—about a father who sets shameless foot inside a strip club to ask his dancing daughter for money—for praise.
Drummer Allan Carter fell in love with Blue Vegas, so he bought copies for his bandmates. They flipped for it and decided they needed to write a song based on one of the stories. After much literary debate, they settled on “Clam Daddy.” “I think the song’s great, with a great hook, and it stays true to the story,” Moss says. “It was a nice ego boost for me.”
The band asked for Moss’ blessing before recording the song, sending him rough mixes along the way. The final version was finished a couple weeks ago and should already be blasting from Vegas’ Double Down jukebox.
Moss, who has a background in screenwriting, says the premise of “Clam Daddy” could make for a good movie, but “there would need to be more meat to the story, where the scene in the clam joint becomes the catalyst that drives the action.” (Incidentally, songwriting is also a new venture of Moss’. He has written several songs, which will be performed by Blood Cocks, a U.K. punk act, as part of the band’s Japanese tour in November.)
Attack Ships on Fire is world-premiering “Clam Daddy” during their July 31 show at the Vegas Double Down. Moss will also be conducting a midnight-to-3 a.m. book signing. The band’s set starts at 2 a.m. (and there’s never a cover charge at Double Down), and books will be available for sale at the bar that night only. Otherwise, copies of Blue Vegas are available at the usual outlets: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, etc.
After-hours signings are no big deal for Moss, who’s seen it all when it comes to literary meet-and-greets.
“A woman approached me at Double Down [a couple weeks ago, said I’d previously signed a book for her,” he says. “She asked me, if she went home and returned with the book, would I cum on it. She was dead serious, and I have witnesses. Anyway, no, I did NOT do it.”
There are some things too blue, even for the author of Blue Vegas.
The heat frying your mind? Here’s a playlist to keep you cool: Hüsker Dü’s “Ice Cold Ice,” Sun Kil Moon’s “Australian Winter,” Hurricane Bells’ “Freezing Rain,” Ryan Adams & The Cardinals’ “Cold Roses,” Julie London’s “Something Cool” and The Sugarcubes’ “Cold Sweat.”
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