Under The Waves

This morning I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment. This is the guy who repaired Felice’s torn ACL, he’s as good as they get. I finally broke down and saw him after the ski injury I had back in February ’06 never healed. He injected my shoulder with cortisone and prescribed physical therapy. Which helped, but didn’t fix the problem. The problem can’t be fixed without surgery. Which is not necessary at this point, I’m not in that much pain. But the doctor said if it gets worse, to come in. Because if the tendon tears, it’s too late.

Then we discussed Felice. He said skiing was not ACL dependent, that she should be okay. As for the slight instability she feels at times, she should come in.

And then I left.

And I was elated.

It was hard to pin down. I think it was the human contact.

From there I braved the freeway to Ralphs, where I was planning to buy Dannon coffee yogurt. But they had none. And that’s like finding out your drug dealer has been incarcerated. Without Dannon coffee yogurt my whole diet is thrown off, it’s my bedrock staple. And debating where to go for my hit, worried about fruitless excursions, I heard Pete Droge on the Sirius Coffee House.

I remember Pete from the first time around. When he was Rick Rubin’s protege, when he had that novelty song about killing himself. From there it was the title song to "Beautiful Girls" and then obscurity. A resurfacing years later as part of the Thorns, but that hyped act didn’t make it, deservedly so. The sound was better than the material.

I figured Pete Droge had given up, gone to work in his dad’s business or something. That’s what you do when your dream dies. Remember that guy from Pearls Before Swine, Tom Rapp? He’s now an attorney. It’s either stardom or the scrapheap. But it turns out Pete didn’t give up. He’s been ensconced in Seattle, working on a zillion projects under the moniker Puzzle Tree Music. You can read all about it at http://puzzletreemusic.com/ (or go to www.droge.com/, you end up at the same place).

I went to the site to find out if "Going Whichever Way The Wind Blows" was an oldie or a new song. Once at http://puzzletreemusic.com/, I clicked on the left-hand icon, to enter the Pete Droge Online Presence, and while I was waiting for the Flash to load the images a song started playing, which normally pisses me off, but this number, it was soothing me. And I’m not even bothered that much by the Flash, since it doesn’t take that long, and there’s a numbered countdown (or up, to be completely accurate). And I’m clicking around, and I’m thinking to myself this number, it’s EXQUISITE!

Yesterday I heard Alicia Keys’ hit track "No One" on the radio. And all I could hear was the thundering bottom, just like every other record on the Top Forty. No wonder Clive’s acts are never remembered, why they don’t sell any product in the future, they’re not ORIGINAL! They don’t break ground, they just refine what’s already been done. I’m wincing, didn’t that fake drum sound hit the airwaves in the early eighties? With rockers giving up on it eons ago, why is it so dominant on today’s Top Forty? God, it’s almost only about the beat. This is music to drive to, to dance to. It might be anthemic, but it doesn’t speak to the human condition, it doesn’t touch your soul. Whereas "Under The Waves" sets your mind adrift, you feel all tingly as you contemplate where you are, where you’ve been and where you might be going.

Turns out "Going Whichever Way The Wind Blows" is featured in a Toyota Sequoia commercial. And although it’s a gas-guzzler, that Toyota is hipper than most of the whored out acts being purveyed today. Watch the spot, it works.

But the killer is "Under The Waves". Which it turns out was featured in "Grey’s Anatomy".

I don’t ever watch commercials. I’ve never seen "Grey’s Anatomy". You can tell I’m proud of that, can’t you? It’s the way I establish my identity. I need to be different. As does just about every American, we need somewhere to belong. And that’s not the Oscars, or the Grammys. Doesn’t matter what movies or music is featured, we’re not interested in mass entertainment, it doesn’t SPEAK TO US!

But, "Under The Waves" speaks to me.

It’s not a hit. Not something that could EVER be played on Top Forty radio. It should only be featured on AAA occasionally. But to hear it in your own home, whether as part of an album or your iPod on shuffle…it takes you away.

This is the listening experience we’re missing. Not the ALBUM experience, but the experience of marinating in the music, alone. Being bathed in it. Not seeing the images from the video in your head, but creating your own mental movie. These tracks don’t sell the record, but they cement your relationship with the artist.

I can’t imagine Pete Droge is rich. Maybe he wanted to be once. But fame eluded him. But that doesn’t mean he’s giving up. Because first and foremost he’s a musician. Playing music is a calling.

You can hear "Under The Waves" at Pete’s site, as per the above route. Or you can hear it and "Going Whichever Way The Wind Blows" at Pete’s MySpace page at: www.myspace.com/petedroge. You can also see the Toyota Sequoia commercial on the MySpace page. If you like quieter music, if you enjoy being introspective, check out "Under The Waves".

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.