Tag Archives: Silver Apples

Silver Apples, Part 3: Clinging to a Dream (2016)

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Just as the Silver Apples got things going again, they got derailed. Quite literally in fact. In 1998, the Apples’ tour van got into a massive crash, in which Simeon was pronounced dead on the scene. As it turns out he did not actually die, but instead suffered injuries to his neck and spine which required years of physical therapy. Slowly but surely, Simeon recovered, but the Apples’ suffered another pretty major setback in 2005, when Danny Taylor died of cancer. Perhaps Simeon’s been slowly getting his due, but Taylor unfortunately never did. It really is a shame that he never got sampled the way that say, James Brown’s drummers did – he was equally funky and even more off the hook.
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Silver Apples, Part 2

For 25 years, the Silver Apples were dead. Both members got other jobs (Danny Taylor at a phone company, Simeon Coxe as a graphic designer), while the giant contraption responsible for their sound was washed away in a flood. So it was for a long time, until in ’94, the German bootleg label TRC released their two albums on CD, and suddenly the Apples revival was on. All this came as news to Simeon, who had nothing to do with the bootleg nor the renewed interest in the band. One day he runs into a man named Xian Hawkins at an art gallery, who recognizes Simeon’s name and asks him if he’s aware of what’s going on. He isn’t, but the encounter inspires him to pick up a number of albums he was an influence on, along with a 1996 Silver Apples tribute disc. Even though he was making no money from these bootlegs and Danny Taylor was nowhere to be found, Simeon saw a second chance to take a crack at the music biz, and seized the opportunity by forming a new Silver Apples, with Hawkins and a drummer named Michael Lerner, who would later play for The Antlers. And so it was on.

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Silver Apples, Part 1

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The Silver Apples are one of those groups that sit in the corner, just waiting to be discovered. Their singles flopped and still don’t get played today, and their only modicum of chart success was when their first album just barely scraped the Billboard Top 100. But like Neu!, they always seem to inspire that “this happened when?” reaction. I remember hearing one of their songs (“Oscillations”) over the PA while waiting for Dan Deacon to take the stage, and I was overwhelmed by how modern and funky it still sounded (“surely this must be a remix”, I thought, but when I went home and put it on…nope, that was it). From time to time they get referenced as the first electronic pop band, which I think oversells it a bit, but there is a point there. You just didn’t hear sounds like that on a pop record back then, and quite frankly there’s nothing that sounds like the Silver Apples even today, given how the band came to be. They were borne out of a five-piece rock combo called The Overland Stage Electric Band, which was a five-piece until Simeon Coxe alienated nearly every one of them by bringing a 40’s audio oscillator on stage with him. As band members started quitting, Coxe piled more and more oscillators on top of each other to compensate, until eventually all that was left was Coxe, the drummer Danny Taylor, and this unholy contraption called The Simeon, a custom-built mess of circuits and manual controls that frequently malfunctioned, often leaving Coxe to sing in whatever random key the Simeon had put itself in.

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