A Sweet Apple could save your life

At first glance, Sweet Apple, who release debut album Love & Desperation on April 19th, might seem like one of those "indie-rock supergroup" sideshows. Yes, J. Mascis (drums/guitar/vocals) plays in Dinosaur Jr. Tim Parnin (guitar) and John Petkovic (vocals/guitar) play in Cobra Verde. Dave Sweetapple (bass/vocals) plays in Witch. But Sweet Apple was born of a death -- and a cross country drive. Totally by chance.

It was rainy morning in December when John Petkovic got in his car heading eastward. He had no destination in mind, let alone plans for a band. He just wanted to drive away. "My mother had just died after a long, horrible illness," he says. "And I’d been totally devastated by so many things, all at once. I’d lost so much weight. I couldn’t eat or sleep. All I did was smoke cigarettes, one after another after another."

John got in his car and went for a long smoke. Four hundred miles from his hometown of Cleveland, and out of the blue, he received a phone call from friend Dave Sweetapple. "I couldn’t believe he was driving around aimlessly," says Sweetapple, of Brattleboro, Vt. "When I found out he was so close to Vermont I told him to come over."

Dave also called their mutual friend J. Mascis, who lives nearby in Amherst, Ma., and told him to come over. J did, and told John to start writing a bunch of songs when he got back home – so they could start a band. John hadn’t played guitar for months. He came up with four songs on the ride home – including "I Can’t See You," with its haunting refrain, "I drove and drove and drove and drove. And drove and drove and drove and drove." "I tell people that I saved John’s life by starting this band," says Mascis. "But they don’t believe me."

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