Sunday, October 13, 2013

Riding the Waves







Despite being there less then a year, I did have some fun in Manhattan. In the spring of ’99, I found myself with a new group of running buddies— NYU film majors, all set to graduate— and I was initiated into their way of life. It was luxuriant, and partly pot-based— they had their weed delivered to their respective doors, like a pizza. My main hinge to this crowd was Todd Smolar, who I had met in Washington Square Park. It was through Todd that I met Paul Levin and began recording at Buttons Sound at 45th and 5th. Todd lived on Leonard Street in Tribeca then, right next to the Knitting Factory. Todd, while an NYU undergrad, had been the singer for a series of bands. That spring, we wrote a bunch of material together. Weirdly, and from out of our stoned haze, what we churned out had the slick, commercialized feel of Sugar Ray and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Another song I wrote at Todd’s Leonard Street flat was Riding the Waves, from a small fragment Todd had. The first version of the song, recorded at Buttons Sound right then (and with my State College chum Jason Liebman also laying down guitar tracks), featured an extended intro resembling David Bowie’s Quicksand, from Hunky Dory. That original version is now lost, though it may still be in the Buttons Sound files. When I commuted from Philly to Manhattan to re-record the song in late ’99, which is what we have here, I made it more terse and more visceral, less abstracted. That session was just Paul Levin and I. I included this version on the first, 2000 version of Darkyr Sooner, and on the later versions as well.

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