Monday, July 20, 2020

A cover new to me, and how the Hushdrops became an "Overnight Sensation."

I spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for a band photo before realizing any photos I had were deep in a back-up drive, and the band is seemingly allergic to posting photos of themselves, so I'm resorting to these color bars instead.
I've known John San Juan for well over two decades now, and have been a huge fan of all his musical endeavors, including his primary outlet The Hushdrops.* I've long had tons of stuff from the band, much of it various tapes and CD-Rs of tunes in various states as they were recorded, as well as their two "official" album releases.

A few months ago San Juan finally threw up all the band's music on Bandcamp (thank god!) including a few live recordings and a compilation of non-album releases and various tidbits "from the vaults."

In that compilation sits a cover of "Overnight Sensation" that was recorded for a mid-'90s tribute album to The Raspberries that I had never heard before and it blew me away. It's massive and epic in all the right ways, with a lyric delivered with the knowing wink of people in their 20s that simultaneously believe a hit record is dumb while clearly really wanting one anyway.

"What was the story behind this?!" I wondered. Some of the vocals were clearly not San Juan or drummer Joe Camarillo (and I don't think bassist Jim Shapiro was officially "in" the band yet), so who was singing at times? And seriously, how had I never heard this?!

Sometimes the universe aligns just right, and as I did a brief check to see what I could learn online about the tune—something I didn't have a lot of confidence in finding since The Hushdrops, while deserving of it, have never gotten the "cover every move" type of press other Chicago up-and-comers tend to get—but lo and behold, there was a podcast episode dedicated to the recording of that song and featuring San Juan as its guest just last month!

What are the chances?!

So I invite you to fall in love with this cover, and then get the story behind it. And then you'll play the cover again. And again. And probably a few more times after that.

Also, and I hope it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, be sure to check out the band's whole catalog. The albums are must-haves, but the price for their entire catalog is so low you should just hoover up everything they've got up there so far.

*It is no exaggeration when I say that San Juan is one of the most naturally gifted musicians I have ever known. The man's abilities are astounding. Like, mind-boggling. Just had to say that.

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