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Saturday, May 18, 2013
Passion for the oldies?Posted Monday, March 26, 2012, at 12:39 PM
The band Dishwalla in the later years, composed of (front) J.R. Richards, Pete Maloney, (back) Jim Wood, Rodney Browning Cravens and Scot Alexander.
It started with my parents sitting me in front of a record player and letting me sing along with The Beatles, The Moody Blues, The Bee Gees, The Monkees, Chicago, The Beach Boys and more.
Since I was 12, I've written music, performed music, been offered a couple of record contracts and more.
One thing I have never been able to understand is how the continuing evolving door in the world of music swings.
For example, how can one trend be so popular for only a couple of years and then -- poof -- it's gone.
You can't find the music of that artist anymore.
A lot of it depends on how much marketing an artist receives from its support (i.e., record label).
Some artists get tons of support and are constantly marketed, giving them plenty of opportunities to have singles being heard on television, radio, etc.
Other artists, on the other hand, receive little support and often find themselves on the cutting room floor.
Some of those artists -- ones where you might hear one single, and then they disappear -- well, they're generally better than the marketable artists.
You may only know them from one song that charted years ago.
The band Dishwalla fits into this category.
Fronted by J.R. Richards, the band released its first album, "Pet Your Friends," in 1995. It charted at No. 89 on the Billboard 200.
But it was known for one song.
When "Counting Blue Cars" hit the airwaves in February 1996, it was practically impossible to not know it.
Its recognizable chorus, "Tell me all your thoughts on God -- cause I'd really like to meet her," was so memorable.
The song charted at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted at No. 1 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks.
But just like that, Dishwalla became a thing of the past.
They released their second album, "And You Think You Know What Life's About," in 1998. While it charted at No. 164, and the song, "Once In A While," reached No. 17 on the Mainstream Rock Chart, little was heard on this album.
Dishwalla released "Opaline," in 2002 and its self-title album in 2005 before disbanding. They also released the live album, "Live ... Greetings from the Flow State," in 2003.
Richards has gone on to release a solo album, "A Beautiful End," (in 2009) and has worked with other side projects.
But this band has become known for just one song.
And that's a shame.
In addition to "Once In A While," their second album was full of great music, including the song, "Until I Wake Up."
In addition to "Somewhere in the Middle," their third included the songs, "Opaline," "Angels or Devils," and "Home."
Their final release, the self-titled "Dishwalla," is also full of really great songs, including "Collide," and "Far Away."
This is a band that deserved to be heard much more than they were. I'm only recently beginning to discover this, as I find myself listening to their work more and more.
While I enjoyed listening to Dishwalla in the mid-90s, I didn't appreciate the slick pop they generated. I didn't appreciate the dark and yet, hopeful music they created. Layers upon layers of sounds. Shimmering guitars, glowing voices, smooth music.
I appreciate it, now, thanks to a dear friend of mine who got me a copy of the band's 2005 self-titled release. Since then, I've gotten my hands on as much material this band has released.
Perhaps that makes me more and more like my parents, who at a certain point in life, decided current music just wasn't worth it, so they decided to listen to the music of their youth, practically on a permanent basis.
Maybe they were right after all.
Discography for Dishwalla
1995 -- Pet Your Friends
1998 -- And You Think You Know What Life's About
2001 -- Gems (EP)
2002 -- Opaline
2003 -- Santa Claus Lane (EP)
2003 -- Live ... Greetings from the Flow State (Live Album)
2004 -- Santa Claus Lane II (EP)
2004 -- Southeast Asia (Live Album)
2005 -- Dishwalla