Jesse Malin is a musician's musician. Some of the most celebrated and respected singer-songwriters on the circuit admire the gritty New York recording artist.
The cerebral bard, who came of age leading D-Generation, which formed 23 years ago, has jammed with and been toasted by Bruce Springsteen. Ryan Adams, who is good friends with Malin, produced his underheralded gem, 2003's ''The Fine Art of Self Destruction.'' Malin has opened for Counting Crows.
"Jesse is one of those guys that music fans should know about," Counting Crows vocalist Adam Duritz said. "He's a great songwriter and frontman."
Malin, 46, who will perform Friday, June 27, at Cafe Nine, is a music lifer, who will do whatever it takes to stay in the game.
"It's my passion," Malin said while calling from New York City. "What else would I do? I never took the easy way out. I always played with people I connected with. It was never about the glory. It was about the songs."
The songs came in spades when Malin wrote and recorded three solid D Generation albums during the '90s.
Some music pundits believed that D-Generation's visceral garage rock would help them succeed Nirvana as the next big thing.
However, it never happened. The glam band failed to connect with a substantial audience and disbanded in 1999. Shortly thereafter bands with similar qualities, the Strokes and White Stripes, hit commercial paydirt.
"You never know what's going to happen in music," Malin said. "Some bands find a really large audience and others have to work really hard for a portion of that audience. You could be in the greatest band in the world but not make it to that next level."
Malin could be talking about his beloved Replacements, which were one of the top critical darlings of the '80s but it could never grab the brass ring.
"Sometimes that happens," Malin said. "The Replacements are one of the greatest bands ever. The Replacements certainly had a huge impact on me and my music."
Malin continued to mature post-D Generation. He has evolved into a fine crooner-songwriter, who writes moving punk rock straight from his torn but resilient heart.
'Glitter in the Gutter' in 2007 and 2010's 'Love It To Life' are two of the finer albums of the last 10 years but both of Malin's best solo moments was missed by most music fans.
Malin continues to press on. He could bask in the praise of his prominent pals and revel in the acclaim Rodeo Queens, his side project with the members of Green Day, receives.
Malin, who also DJs in Manhattan clubs, doesn't get caught up with names. He just focuses on the music. "That's my world," Malin said. "It all starts and ends there."
But there is a fantastic byproduct from playing with icons. "The great thing about getting on stage with Bruce (Springsteen) and touring with Ryan (Adams) and Counting Crows is that you take some of that crowd with you," Malin said. "Those fans get into what you're doing. I've seen it over the years. It's been great for me. All I want is the opportunity to play and I've been fortunate enough to have those opportunities. It's been really good so far."