Sweet Apple’s John Petkovic Remembers: Franz Kafka

sweetapplelogoSweet Apple is more than just a question of Cobra Verde’s John Petkovic and Tim Parnin having some teenage kicks with Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis and Witch’s Dave Sweetapple. It’s the answer to the heartache, grief and depression that led Petkovic to drive from Cleveland to Vermont, where he rediscovered the healing powers of rock ‘n’ roll with some help from his friends. Love & Desperation (Tee Pee) isn’t a fountain of youth, but it’ll do in a pinch: a combination of stomping ’70s arena-rock riffs, Petkovic’s well-honed T Rex swagger and Mascis’ hard-wired guitar leads servicing lurid tales of sex, drugs and vampires. The members of Sweet Apple will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with Petkovic.


Petkovic: The Czech novelist is a literary giant. But he casts a scary shadow over me. Franz Kafka was particularly popular in Eastern Europe, and not just because he was from Prague. His classic The Trial tells the story of a man who is arrested and prosecuted by some impenetrable authority. The man has no idea why he is arrested or put on trial. Because of the premise, it was big in communist states, including the former Yugoslavia, where my parents are from. My dad loved his stuff, and since my dad was an Eastern European and was hardly familiar with Curious George, he would read me Kafka. When I was six. Bedtime with Kafka could be weird; at times, I feared waking up as a cockroach—you know, like in The Metamorphosis. By the time I was in high school, I had a hard time going out with girls because I’d ask myself, “Would Franz Kafka go out with someone so shallow?” I finally ridded myself of my Kafkaesque childhood when I started playing in bands. It was fun, and I never could imagine Kafka having fun. And when I came to embrace the shallowness of it all, I realized that being deep is overrated.

Video after the jump.