Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.
Sover: COVID-19 has definitely affected me. The band and I were looking forward to the summer with lots of great festival opportunities, but everything fell apart quickly. We were also working on our third studio album, Parade, with former Sigma Sound engineer Mike Tarsia and producer/bassist Garry Lee, but tracking came to stop. We refocused our efforts to be more present online. So, I’ve been doing Facebook livestreams every other Wednesday night at 7 p.m. from home. (Tune in!)
With no work and no money, I had to remember that music is my first love and that’s why I do it. But how do I stay relevant during times like these? To make matters worse, the death of George Floyd and social injustices angered me deeply, making me feel powerless. I wanted to do something to better myself and community and contribute to black lives that have also suffered under systemic racism.
One of the songs we tracked for the upcoming album—which was ready for release—was a revived version of “Politician,” by rock’s first supergroup, Cream, from its 1968 album Wheels Of Fire. Written by their late, great bassist Jack Bruce along with musical partner Peter Brown, “Politician” is a powerful guitar-riff-based blues rocker. Our version holds true to the “free-form” improvisational rock feel of the original, yet the band adds its own touches, grounded in the tom-tom heavy “jungle-beat” provided by Tom Walling (a nod to the great Ginger Baker) along with Allen James’ chunky guitar rhythms.
As the election year heats up, the cynical lyrics of “Politician”—about a world of power, greed and mistrust—seem to resonate as much in these strange, divided times as they did when the song was first released. I’m encouraging you all to get out there and vote this November so we can make a much needed change in this country.