set adrift

this is it’s going to take a minute. ask anyone who knows me. i’ve never met a tangent i didn’t like .

A few nights ago i was at small gathering intended to honor our late friend tom terrell. what with tom being, among other things, a former record company employee, the conversation turned to music; specifically the old days when the labels were concerned with music and the folks that worked there were into music. i mean really into music. i can remember hanging out at island records back in the early 90’s and all you would hear, from every desk, was music. all was a circus of sound and it was just great. ok, at the time it was kind of chaotic but now, looking back, it was wonderful. these days when you go up to a label, the only time you really hear music is when someone is playing it for a writer.back “then” labels actually sent us writers actual tapes/cds to listen to in our homes. so we could let it breathe and we had the time to live with it, fall in love maybe instead of having to kick the artist to the curb after one night. now you have to sit in a room, sometimes with other writers or worse a label worker bee watching to make sure you nod your head at the right places or act like what you are hearing is just so dope your life has been altered. t’s like sonic speed dating and from that. you’re asked to write a review which might actually have the potential to impact on a career. not that anyone cares in the first place.or read or can write.

am i seriously off track here? my bad. back to p.m. dawn.

at some point during the party i was talking to a very nice man and his wife. she was a pediatric nurse. he an art director and had worked at gee street: an indie imprint during the 90’s that was a mecca for cool tunes and with cooler folks.a company by those who love music for those who love music, run by jon baker who, even with a billboard charting/platinum roster still kept a lil of that us against the world ethos.
gee street was a great office to hang out in, as well. along with hearing music, a struggling writer could get a nice snack or two on the label’s nickel. gee street’s crew included stereo m.c’s, gravediggaz and p.m.dawn. i hadn’t thought about p.m.dawn in years . back when they were big and they were, p.m.dawn were the shit. yeah, some rappers and rap fans didn’t dig them. prince be was too soft. too picking a fight with krs-one(another grade a eccentric)too out there, too anything a rapper was not meant to be to be, which is funny since most “real” rappers aren’t what exactly what the press release wants the public to believe they are, either. p.m. dawn was, as my pal michael shore was said, de la soul meets brian wilson and if you love things that go pop in the night your heart should be racing.

get true fans in a room, especially those of us who get to write about it and the passion starts flying. i can forgive somethings in people but bad taste in music is not one of them. my great true luv became ever truer when i found out what cool taste he had in music; come on you gotta dig any man(or woman if that’s how you roll)who can break down robbie williams and public enemy with the same ardor he’s giving you elsewhere.

all of this is to say that them memory bliss we were all floating on that night at the party was deep and had nothing to do with charts,product management, editors. it was the sheer joy of hearing “it” for the first time and being around and glad to be, blessed to be, around people who not only got “it” but longed for the days when record companies were filled with folks who got and lived for it, too.
do i sound like some “you kids just don’t understand” old school, old ass, chick? good.

here’s my p.m.dawn tale. it’s 1990-91 and i’m in berlin, brought over by some dude i’d met while on assignment in spain-this sounds very exotic but trust. it ain’t. so i’m in berlin and within 24 hours i figure out that this is a bad move on my part.
here i am. in berlin. i don’t speak german. the guy is slowly morphing from exciting to excruciating and so i hit the streets which while they do have names, are in german. i have an advance of p.m.dawn’s debut “of the heart, of the soul,and of the cross”- the one that contained the hit”set adrift on memory bliss”. you know. with the spandou(sp) ballet sample. so, i’m sad, confused, cold, more than likely a little drunk and i wander around, p.m, dawn coming through the headphones and i’m loving it like some people love mc donalds. i sit on a bench,rewind the tape over and over and while it doesn’t make my situation only better, it quickly becomes another one of those times when music is there for me when most certainly the man isn’t.

do i sound like one of those corny ass fools? good. we all need to do a lil floating sometimes.


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