The Drifter & The Shadow
The Drifter & The Shadow
Sacramento can be a boring place. There is not a lot of built-in things to do here. Sure, there is pro basketball and Sutter's Fort. We can stroll down to Old Sacramento, through the tarted up streets lined with cotton candy vendors and stuffed with tourist ticks. And hanging out in front of the Capitol building hoping to catch a glimpse of Arnold is always fun. As I wrote, there is really not much to do. So unless you want to drink yourself into oblivion or engage in Sacto's drug of choice - speed - you fight the numbness by creating things yourself.
Above a bookstore in the Midtown area, there is a place called The Loft. It is a practice space that I sublet and for many years was an epicenter for a small DIY punk scene. Bands practiced at regular times, but when a band wasn't scheduled many of us would form impromptu bands, some of them lasting a week, some years. One off-the-cuff band I was in (along with Nic Offer & James Williams) was called Ben. We did nothing but come up with different style of covers of the Michael Jackson song, Ben. We actually played live a few times. Several of us had an exotica band that lasted all of two hot summer days. And for the month of April, 1994, Tristan Tozer and I had The Drifter & The Shadow.
At the time, Tristan was playing guitar in the Yah Mos & Boulevard Park Trio and bass in Los Huevos. I was making an ass out of myself in Los Huevos. One afternoon Tristan was in The Loft screwing around on guitar. I jumped on drums and The Drifter & The Shadow was born. That day we played for about two hours and came up with ten songs. A week later we recorded about eight of them on to Ed Hunter's shitty boombox at The Loft. The next weekend (on April 29, to be exact) we recorded six more on a cassette deck in the bathroom of a cottage I lived in behind a house that I was caretaker of (landlady had died on me and I stayed rent free in the cottage for over a year). We referred to the house as The Dead Lady's House. What you are about to hear is culled from those two "sessions."
Tristan is a very good guitar player. I am a very shitty drummer. In fact, to call me a drummer is just plain wrong. But I can sort of keep a beat. The length of our songs was determined by my arms tiring. When the beat shifts or snare drops out, it is often because I dropped a stick or caught myself about to fuck up. That said, as a two-piece trash rock band, it works.
My part in the creative process was providing a beat and turning on the tape machine. Tristan wrote the songs and came up with the words as we played. Some of the songs like Evil are just stupid brilliant. I Never had a Job (and Never Will) has one of my favorite rock and roll verses ever (I ain't gonna be nobody's workhorse/I ain't gonna be no mule/God created man and God created beast/And ye never shall mix the two).