Monday, February 22, 2010

God Street Wine, The Bedroom Sessions

God Street Wine, The Bedroom Sessions

"I daresay the Geffen people got quite a demo out of us; now it belongs to everyone. - Lo Faber

In 1993 while at a H.O.R.D.E. festival at the Garden State Arts Center* (after being dropped off by my friend's mom waaay early, cuz we couldn't drive yet), I stumbled upon a band that would change my life. God Street Wine holds a special place in my heart amongst my most favorite bands. I used to weasel my way into 7 Willow Street and the Fore n' Aft to see these guys play until 4am (and show up late for HS in the morning after getting 2 hours of sleep). Their beautifully composed and oftentimes hyperactive jamming always rocked. Their songs spoke to me, made me happy, and the guys were all super cool & tolerated my shenanigans taboot.

GSW played roughly 200+ shows a year, all across the country. Their fans-- Winos (of course), traded cassette tapes of live shows (BLANKS & POSTAGE, man) to share the music. Tape trees flourished. It was a different time. Downloading music from the interwebs didn't even exist yet. Only a handful of songs ever ended up on GSW's 6 official cd releases. To hear the rest of 'em, you had to go to a show or get a tape.

(photos courtesy of Michael Weiss)

left to right: tomo, lo, aaron, bevo, dan

Sadly, GSW called it quits in 12/99 with a couple of farewell shows at Wetlands. It sucked. It was as if my heart had been ripped out. I cried. I'm not made of stone, people. Since then, besides having enough kids to fill a soccer team- they've gotten together a number of times, including last year's tribute concert to legendary Wino, Paul Ducharme- part of which took place in a Wyckoff, NJ basement. There, God Street Wine conjured up some weird energy, turned the air upside down, and transported us all back in time to 1993**. There was some weird shit going on down there.

That kind of re-energized it all. It was a sign. With efforts from Winos everywhere, the past year has been spent encouraging GSW to play more. There's a facebook group, "Bring Back God Street Wine", dedicated to the cause. The group's 1000+ members (that include a few band members too), frequently post videos, photos, live shows, etc. on what has become an evolving shrine of sorts.

Adding to the pot, not only have GSW recently put all of their albums up for free DL on iLike, but they have also put the famed Bedroom Sessions (links below) up on the archive for public consumption. The Bedroom Sessions are 31 of 33 songs recorded in Lo's bedroom at the house in Ossining. They were originally used as a demo for Geffen. Lo tells the full story behind these babies on the archive pages and I suggest you read it. This shit was done the old fashioned way-- uphill, in the snow, both ways... barefoot (okay, maybe fuzzy bunny slippers).

This is the motherload. The Bedroom Sessions are A MUST HAVE FOR EVERY WINO OR POTENTIAL FUTURE-WINO. It's all the songs you wanted to hear more of, if only you could find the right tapes, and provided those tapes hadn't been sitting on the floor of your car for many an August heat-wave and/or January Blizzard***. GSW have essentially released a free box-set of some of the most treasured and cherished songs that made God Street Wine who they were: A mind-blowingly amazing rock n' roll band, playing amazing songs, capable of going from Country to Blues to Jazz to Lounge to Haiku, at the drop of a single cue. Songs you couldn't hear anywhere else, delivered with a swagger. That was is GSW.

What's funny is that they recorded these as a live band and only did a few takes for each song. Lo once told me he never sings the wrong lyrics- he always sings the ones appropriate for that individual moment. I'm pretty sure there's a couple of those moments here and that only makes The Bedroom Sessions sweeter. During an intense Snake Eyes, Lo sings about getting some pizza.

The highlights are ridiculous:
  • New Eyes is one of my most favorite GSW songs and up until now, I had 1 copy of it-- from 10/27/94 at the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO.

  • Epiphany is another most favorite. Bevo rocked this shit!

  • When She Go is another favorite- a rarity. So so catchy. One of the only raggae songs I've ever liked... sung by white guys.

  • Bring Back the News-- beautiful, bouncy, sweet, and one of the first songs I ever heard GSW play. It always stuck with me.

  • Stupid Hat-- the sheet music to this song looks as gorgeous as it sounds-- and now there's a studio version for us to enjoy!

  • 6:15, Cheap Utah Blues, Change Your Mind, Funny Kinda Love, Hungry Again--- these songs still blow my mind! How did this not catch on?!?

  • And the rarities!!! Miss Leonardo!!! Seein' Yer Meanin', Whatcha Gonna Do About It, God Street (WTF??!)!
  • The God Street Wine magic is still there. It's festering away inside of them. Inside all of us. It's in the water. It's in your water. All this GSW 'vine chatter, including a recent article in Relix where Lo points at the possibility of another reunion, is just throwing fuel on the fire. Rumors are swirling of something happening very soon. I feel news on the horizon and it pleases me.

    And so do these Bedroom Sessions. It's insanely brilliant to have some "new" God Street Wine just one-click away (it's that easy now!!! CLICK THAT SHIT!)-- but-- where the fuck are Dirty Little Secret and Light My Candles??? GSW, The Bedroom Sessions: 10 HUZZAHS!!!!

    01 Molly
    02 Straight Line
    03 Stranger
    04 Tina's Town
    05 6:15
    06 When She Go
    07 Change Your Mind
    08 Bring Back the News
    09 Henrietta
    10 Hungry Again
    11 Cheap Utah Blues
    12 Thirsty
    13 Epiphany
    14 Crashing Down
    15 Electrocute
    16 Stupid Hat


    01 Into the Sea
    02 Imogene
    03 Miss Leonardo
    04 Ballroom
    05 Lady Fingers
    06 Seeing Your Meaning
    07 New Eyes
    08 Vanity Street
    09 Funny Kind of Love
    10 Call it Love
    11 God Street
    12 Snake Eyes
    13 Whatcha Gonna Do About It
    14 Deep Drag
    15 Nothing Left to Lose


    ALSO: feel free to peruse & download some live GSW from the archive!

    * That's what it was called back then.
    ** The black mold probably helped.
    *** It used to snow in the Winter.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    sweet review lynn...pure dope.