City Paper is not for tourists
No. 1, “Valiume 10,” an ode to the “volume” of Maryland stoner bands and the “Valium” tablets that keep them from bouncing off the walls. “Slippin’ away on the breath of a serpent’s dream,” growls David Sherman as guitarist Kyle Vansteinburg lays down riffage that makes Sabbath sound like Warrant. The song then plunges into a sludgy chorus where Sherman hails the power of diazepam-fueled rock: “The darkness lingers but I carry on/Got my valiume, my soul remains strong.”
“Valium meets the word volume…it’s all about the language,” says Sherman of his Frederick, Md.-based quartet’s endorsement of sensory libertinage. “Alcohol, pills, weed…coke…whatever you need to tame your demons.” Sherman’s a stoner-rock vet: Earthride formed from the ashes of Buddha-blessed Spirit Caravan in 1999. But “Valiume 10,” from a new vinyl reissue of its 2002 CD, doesn’t necessarily represent Sherman in the here and now. “I’m staying clean off the hard stuff,” says Sherman, a 41-year-old groom-to-be. “But I still smoke weed pretty religiously,” he adds.
While many D.C. bands boast members that practice law or work on the Hill, Earthride rolls vo-tech: Sherman is an electrician, Vansteinburg is a welder, drummer Eric Little builds violins, and bassist Joe Ruthvin works for NASA. “We got some wild-ass trades,” Sherman says. “One guy can build you a bike…one guy can hook up your electricity…one guy can go to the moon, and one guy can build you a violin.” Earthride’s all-around handiness protects the band from van trouble—and the vicissitudes of the modern music marketplace. “15-year-old girls don’t listen to stoner rock,” Sherman says. “That’s why I’m an electrician, too.”