Sunday, October 13, 2013

Deflating Raft

One of my proudest moments at CHS was writing Deflating Raft. The first thing I got was the melody for the bridge/chorus. As of ’92, I had an electric keyboard in my room on Old Farm Road in Wyncote. I pounded the thing out right before I left for Carnegie Mellon in June (I did Carnegie Mellon pre-college for drama summer ’92). When I got back in August, I got the verse melody, and it buzzed the hell out of me. The words at that point were just dummy words. I left the thing incomplete until the spring of ’94, my senior year. The words came out of a composite of situations I’d been involved in. Along with Worn Yesterday, Deflating Raft was one of the staple songs I played for everyone once I got to State College that summer. It’s the first thing I ever played for Steve Kurutz, for example, and for Kelly McCabe. North Halls all heard it; I used to practice, sometimes loudly, out of my window, 322 Holmes. When I recorded the song at Buttons Sound in NYC in ‘99, I was non compos mentis enough that the session is a blur in my head. I do seem to recall that recording the harmony vocal was a thrill. It elevates the song to a vibe with some edge to it. I was hoping the lead guitar would also add some bite to the mix.

Gair Marking helped me put together the Darkyr Sooner EP in 2000, and Deflating Raft slotted right in. I spent some time with Gair and Ellen in New Jersey, and on the Rowan campus, and Gair uploaded Darkyr Sooner to, where it remained for several years. I did self distribution for Darkyr Sooner, while playing Philadelphia clubs like The Khyber, Pontiac Grille (J.C. Dobbs assumed moniker for a few years), The Grape Street Pub in Manayunk, and the Killtime Warehouse in West Philadelphia. The semi-conglomerate I put together then, This Charming Lab, wound up being a prototype for The Philly Free School several years later. Yet the period of most high intensity around performance of the tune remained the first few years I spent in State College. As a zig-zag back to Philly, the lyrics of Deflating Raft were published as poetry in the late-Nineties 'zine Siren's Silence. And to zig-zag back to the Aughts, Mary and Abby liked Deflating Raft, and Darkyr Sooner, enough to make me feel the thing was a success even then. 

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