More than 2,000 bands played South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. But how many can say they played AND practiced for the first time ever -- in public?
Sweet Apple, which features members of Dinosaur Jr., Cobra Verde and Witch, played six shows at SXSW. The band, which features members spread out over Vermont, Massachusetts and Ohio, received raves -- even if it had never practiced before.
"We all live far apart and me and J (Mascis) were in Australia and Singapore," says bassist Dave Sweetapple. "So we never had a chance to practice -- we barely even made it to our first show."
The Austin Chronicle lauded Sweet Apple’s first official show at Roky Erickson’s Psychedelic Ice Cream Social: "A first outing for J Mascis' new bruising Detroit-rock style outfit Sweet Apple was as immediate and memorable as the free ice cream."
The band premiered songs from its forthcoming album, Love and Desperation
, out April 20 on New York-based Tee Pee Records. Sweet Apple
also drew raves from spinner.com
: "Sweet Apple may be new, but based on the supergroup's first batch of super-catchy concoctions, they should stick around for a long while yet."
Sweet Apple almost didn’t make it to its show at Austin’s legendary Waterloo Records, though.
"We were running late from one show to another and couldn’t find a parking spot," says singer John Petkovic. "So J suggested we park in the Whole Foods across the street."
"I have a Whole Foods gold card, I must’ve spent $10,000 in that place last year," says Mascis. "Isn’t that worth a parking spot?"
A security guard wasn’t swayed. The band was told that parking spaces were reserved for customers only, not bands playing SXSW.
"So J suggested we go shopping," says Sweetapple. "He could spend all day in that place."
They did, with Mascis, Sweetapple and Tim Parnin carrying their guitars around the store.
"People kept asking us if we were performing a Whole Foods showcase," says Sweetapple. "But we couldn’t find the stage."
Sweet Apple is:
J. Mascis – Guitar god in Dinosaur Jr.; drummer in Witch. Played with Cobra Verde for a spell. Owns hundreds of guitar pedals and dozens of Adidas. Favorite color is purple. Worked in a coffee shop in India, even though he doesn’t drink coffee. Spends a lot of money at Whole Foods.
Tim Parnin – Guitarist in Cobra Verde. Plays guitar with former Faith No More singer Chuck Mosely. Former clothing designer. Cleveland Cavaliers season ticket holder. Partied with Shaq.
John Petkovic – Frontman for Cobra Verde. Still gets acting residuals from "The OC." Former aid to the Crown Prince of Yugoslavia. Ex-guitarist in Guided by Voices. Writes about bars and movies for Cleveland’s daily newspaper. Working on underwear-themed art show. Smokes less, eats more gummy bears.
Dave Sweetapple – Bassist in Witch. Native of Newfoundland, Canada (where they beat baby seals). Prefers rock over free jazz. Grew his hair long after seeing a photo of the Alice Cooper Band. Collects rare mushrooms. Trains a best-in-breed Scottish Deerhound named Cyril.