Today we continue our series of posts that feature the exclusive premiere of video from GSW’s reunion shows in 2010, lovingly shot and put together by our pal Mike Wren. As with our last posts, God Street Wine guitarist Lo Faber tells the tale of the song in the video. Here’s Lo’s take on When She Go as well as the video of GSW performing the tune at the Gramercy Theatre on July 10, 2010.
WHEN SHE GO
I have two quick remarks about When She Go. One is that this tune, like Driving West, The Ballroom and Strange as it Seems, is a product of my long-standing love of reggae. It’s a love I first discovered through my stepfather Steve, who brought a complete collection of Marley albums to our house when I was 13. (By the way, When She Go has always been Steve’s favorite GSW song.) It’s a love I’ve shared with Tom Osander, ever since our high school days, years before God Street Wine, when (having become too cool for Marley) we avidly listened to all the Augustus Pablo, Burning Spear and Wailing Souls LPs we could get our hands on. In several bands (where I played bass) we used to turn everything we played into a roots dub groove. We also loved the Police’s reggae-flavored pop, and Stewart Copeland’s drumming in particular. At times we would fantasize about moving to Jamaica and trying to break into the recording scene as a reggae bass-and-drums combo for hire; I leave the reader to imagine how two nice boys from Princeton, New Jersey would have fared on the streets of Kingston.
[Photo by Mike Wren]
When She Go was actually an attempt to do a more Steel Pulse or Black Uhuru type reggae groove, with the kick drum on the downbeat (as opposed to the roots feel of Driving West, with a more shuffle vibe and the kick on the backbeat). It also has those sections of hits inspired by the Wailers (they were actually an awesome band) on tracks like I Shot the Sheriff or Is This Love?
My other comment about When She Go is that it reminds me powerfully of the Wetlands, and it always makes me miss that amazing place. In fact I remember writing When She Go with this exact question in mind: what sort of music would it be cool to play, first thing, to a good crowd, just as we walk out onstage at the Wetlands? I loved the thought of doing those big hits, then pausing a couple bars on that E chord, then shaking the whole room with that slow, heavy, B major groove. This was back in 1991, I think, when playing at the Wetlands was, to us, the absolute peak of rock’n'roll success. Blues Traveler had been playing there for about a year before we got in the door, and when we finally started to do well there it was very exciting and tons of fun.
By the way, this is becoming a digression, but I just remembered that, the very first time we played at the Wetlands, they had these super fancy sort of frosted embossed glass panels in the front doors, with curvy designs on them, that kind of thing. And I remember that as I helped Dan carry his heavy bass cabinet in the front door, we banged it into one of those doors and put a huge crack right across one of those fancy pieces of glass. You can imagine how stupid we felt, and totally convinced we would never get to play there again just because of that. Oh well! I guess the lesson is, if you’re playing for the first time at a cool venue you hope to come back to–smash something expensive! Wetlands certainly was good to us over the years, despite the fact that we broke their nice piece of glass, and I’d give anything to have a venue like that back in lower Manhattan to play at from time to time.
Oh yeah, the lyrics to When She Go are just about some sort of remote, hard to get a read on kind of girl, probably super foxy, and how bad you want her…whatevah! It’s for dancing, not epic verse.
Upcoming God Street Wine Shows:
August 9 – TRI Studios (Free Webcast)
August 10 & 11 – Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley CA
August 16, 17 & 18 – Gramercy Theatre, NYC NY
Thanks to Lo for sharing the story behind the tune and Mike for his work on the video.