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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.”