Thursday, April 15, 2010


 [Intveld at friend Manuel's legendary Suit Shop in Nashville. Manuel, who has dressed Intveld, is the guy responsible for The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper costumes. Photo by JP Photography]

James Intveld is a So Cal wayfaring stranger. The epitome of a free-spirited man’s man of the world, he’s of the same mold as James Dean, John Wayne and Johnny Cash. He’s rough, yet honest. A sinner who revels in repentant croons sang over good ol’ boot-stompin,’ heathen rock ‘n’ roll. He’s wandered from dingy LA bars to sharing club presence with cryin'-in-your-beer-masters like Dwight Yoakam during the 1980s’ “cow punk” movement (just like the image it evokes, cow punk is a collision of country honkytonk and punk rock that sprang off from the Psychobilly movement).

During that time Intveld fronted The Rockin' Shadows who played all over Los Angeles and Orange County with bands like X and Social Distortion. At a show at the now-defunct Palomino Club, director John Mark Robinson approached Intveld about using his song "My Heart is Achin' For You" in the 1984 film Roadhouse 66, starring a young William Dafoe that you would hardly recognize without all his now-signature divet face wrinkles. Intveld scored a cameo in the film and that started a lifelong stake for him in acting.  He went on to study method acting for 8 years and worked with his late friend River Phoenix, and the acclaimed Sean Penn.

A virtuoso musician inclined to play practically any instrument needed for roots rock, he played bass for Dwight Yoakam in the 80s and was the encore lead guitarist of The Blasters (a band that was said to be “the essence of small streets of post-war neighborhoods, car culture and the sun-bleached concrete of Downey, California").
Intveld moved on to solo work in ’96 with his self-titled album. He’s shared the musical stage with Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, Johnny "The man in black" Cash, Brian Setzer, Merle Haggard, Pete Townsend, and Steve Earle. He was brought on as an impromptu voice coach for Nicholas Cage on David Lynch’s Wild at Heart at the recommendation of James Burton, Elvis Presley’s own guitar player. Intveld worked with John Waters (the eccentric director dubbed “The Pope Of Trash”) and Johnny Depp in the movie Cry Baby. Despite Depp’s musical inclination, Intveld sang as the voice of Johnny in the cult classic film that made parents across America squirmy about what their kids were really doing when out of sight (see the end of this post for a video).
 [Johnny Depp and James Intveld]

A few B-movies and even Z-horror films later, Intveld was the voice of June Carter’s first husband in the Acadmeny Award-winning film Walk The Line. T Bone Burnett brought him on to sing the song “Times A Waistin” with Reese Witherspoon. Unfortunately, Intveld was never given credit for the recording.

Intveld is still the most talented mystery at the peak of the rockabilly, country honkytonk scene and underground film stage. Case in Point: in ’04 he filmed The Curse of El Charro, a horror flick where he plays the Arch Angel Michael (because there's nothing more heavenly than Intveld’s glam studded honkytonk jackets and greased back hair).

 [Photo by JP Photography]
“I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t do this,” Intveld says. “I’m in miserable bliss. It’s miserable working in the [music and film] business sometimes but I’m happy to be doing it.  I don’t want to do anything else.” 
See James Intveld live in all his glory on May 22nd at the great and mighty Doheny Blues Festival. Or, if you're a rockabilly musician yourself, battle for the chance to open for Intveld (plus win a $1000 purse) at the West Coast Rockabilly Showdown which takes place starting May 1st and wraps up on June 20th. 

Below is a taste of James's broad repertoire. Enjoy, Cowboys and Indians.

On my YouTube: This...



WEST TO EDEN, a short James Dean film based off the series "Letters from the underground" from the Silverlake Film Festival. This was a series of letters from famous people before they were famous. here's a clip.

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