Stars And Hearts And Broken Things (Part I)

I was absolutely clueless after college.

Other than recording “Always Almost There” with Steve Feldman (see below), and spending as much time as possible with my then-girlfriend, I didn’t know where to go or what to do.

I temped for exactly two days that summer. The first job was cleaning up an out-of-wack filing system at the venerable Carrier Corporation (A United Technologies Company) which I did poorly in one afternoon. I’m sure I left the files worse than I found them. The second gig was unpacking a few hundred PCs for some nameless, faceless Office Space. I lopped off a chunk of my thump with a boxcutter, and left before noon.

Great use of a dual degree in journalism and creative writing, huh?

Come fall, then, I was adrift. My lease was up, and my bank account was empty. I half-heartedly interviewed for media jobs in Philadelphia, but couldn’t stomach the notion of moving back to my hometown.

Cue the big brother.

Christofer had moved to Saratoga Springs in the spring of my senior year, and had became something of a fixture at Smokey Junglefrog shows. He had a spare bedroom in a big, old, drafty apartment, and encouraged me to move in with him. Rent was $176, the company great, and Saratoga seemed as close to Telluride or Portland as I was gonna get. So I packed my Takamine, my Cannondale and my futon matteress, and drove east.

Within a few weeks (and following a harrowing five-day stint assembling medical parts), I was working a few jobs. My primary gig (forty-hours a week at six bucks) was at a coffee shop called Uncommon Grounds. This was the ’90s, of course, so coffee shops were new, and novel. There was a whiff of Bohemia to it all. Secondarily, I was writing features for The Saratogian (at the time, A Gannet Family Newspaper).

Both gigs offered me access into the small town. I met all sorts of cool people, like Eric Gilman. Eric had just graduated from nearby Skidmore Colle (where Creative Though Matters), and was spending an innordiate amount of time reading philosophy at the shop. He lived just across the street from Chris and I, smoked pot, liked The Dead, and played guitar. Done and done.

Eric and I began performing and recording together sometime in the spring of 1994. That’s his second guitar you hear sporadically on “Bloom” (I distinctly remember himwarming his hands over candles in Carl Landa’s rediculously chilly recording studio). With “Bloom,” though, we were only getting started.

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