DOWNLOAD: Sweet Apple - Do You Remember (MP3)
Sweet Apple is a new group that features J. Mascis (drums/guitar/vocals), Cobra Verde's Tim Parnin (guitar) and John Petkovic (vocals/guitar), and Witch's Dave Sweetapple (bass/vocals).
Their debut album, a 12-song disc called Love & Desperation - mixed by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady) and Don Depew (Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde) - comes out April 20th on Tee Pee Records. That's the same day the band plays NYC's Mercury Lounge. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 29th at noon. It's currently their only confirmed show, though a spring tour and SXSW plans are expected.
"Do You Remember," the hard rocking first song from the band, is posted above. The full story behind their formation is below...
Sweet Apple backstory
Most bands are brought together by guitars, amps and drums. Sweet Apple formed after tragedy, out of friendship, on a miserable day in Vermont. At first glance, the rock 'n' roll quartet might seem like one of those "indie-rock supergroup" sideshows. Yes, J. Mascis (drums/guitar/vocals) plays in Dinosaur Jr. Tim Parnin (guitar) and John Petkovic (vocals/guitar) play in Cobra Verde. Dave Sweetapple (bass/vocals) plays in Witch. But Sweet Apple was born of a death -- and a cross country drive. Totally by chance.
It was rainy morning in December when John Petkovic got in his car heading eastward. He had no destination in mind, let alone plans for a band. He just wanted to drive away. "My mother had just died after a long, horrible illness," he says. "And I'd been totally devastated by so many things, all at once. I'd lost so much weight. I couldn't eat or sleep. All I did was smoke cigarettes, one and after another after another."
John got in his car and went for a long smoke. Four hundred miles from his hometown of Cleveland, and out of the blue, he received a phone call from friend Dave Sweetapple. "I couldn't believe he was driving around aimlessly," says Sweetapple, of Brattleboro, Vt. "When I found out he was so close to Vermont I told him to come over." Dave also called their mutual friend J. Mascis, who lives nearby in Amherst, Ma., and told him to come over. J did, and told John to start writing a bunch of songs when he got back home - so they could start a band.
John hadn't played guitar for months. He came up with four songs on the ride home - including "I Can't See You," with its haunting refrain, "I drove and drove and drove and drove. And drove and drove and drove and drove." Within three weeks, John was jamming with CV bandmate Tim Parnin - and they whittled 25 songs down to 12.
"Out of the blue, we had an album full of catchy tunes," says Parnin. "It's one of the weirdest things I've experienced playing in bands." Even weirder, many of the songs are upbeat - fun and mockingly funny, with loud, brash guitars. "Do You Remember" is a driving anthem. "I've Got a Feeling That Won't Change" is wounded pop. "Flying Up a Mountain" is a nihilist singalong.
Love & Desperation was recorded in Cleveland and Massachusetts. It was mixed by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady) and Don Depew (Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde). "I tell people that I saved John's life by starting this band," says Mascis. "But they don't believe me."