Music News

Growing Pains

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At the age of 29, Kissinger's also been around the musical block. Originally from Ohio, where he played standup bass in a symphony orchestra, he says of Ziskin and Berman's songs: "To me everything is so well-written, it's so orchestrated. Everything is so --"

"Goal-oriented," Graubart interjects.
"It's not like a jam band," the fast-talking Kissinger continues. "It doesn't come across that way, nor do I think anybody would want it to. You know, what you hear on the radio is not jammin'."

"There's a definite purpose to what we're trying to do here," Kornicks adds, almost under his breath.

And that purpose is?
Kornicks raises his head, smiles, and says, "To be heard by a large number of people."

Ziskin is working on it. Thanks to his efforts over the last few months, Release is in the hands of the promotion and A&R departments of several major labels, including Arista, Hollywood, MCA, and Atlantic. But Ziskin isn't green when it comes to the intricacies of record deals. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he's read books and articles, participated in seminars, and talked to those who know the business, such as Berman, who runs his own management company, and Zimet. Before Ziskin signs a contract, he knows what he has to hear.

"The main thing is promotion -- radio promotion, video promotion," he says. "Because if the promotion department isn't behind you, you're dead. You're not going anywhere."

So, until the right deal comes along, self-promotion is key. As the rehearsal break comes to an end, Ziskin informs the band that, earlier today, he talked to Berman and the band's lawyer.

"They said it's useless for us to bother doing out-of-state stuff at this point," he tells them, "because what we need to do is focus on our back yard, focus on Florida."

Kissinger chuckles.
"What are you snickering at?" Ziskin asks with a smile.
"Florida," Kissinger repeats, echoing what everyone else is thinking: Florida's a big fucking state.

Back in Bay M, where moths and mosquitoes twitter about, Ziskin suggests they try a new song, which he modeled on Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over" from Grace. Graubart and Kornicks haven't even heard "Waking Hour" yet, but Kissinger has been given a tape, mostly because the time-signature change -- from 7/4 to 6/4 -- isn't easy to pull off. And, indeed, as the song gets under way, Kissinger stumbles once, twice, then three times during the transition, each time with a smile and an, "I'll get it, I'll get it -- next time."

On the fourth run-through, after a shaky start, he does get it. And the song, which builds from a sashay to a climactic finish -- with Graubart's cymbals crashing, Ziskin's voice wailing over his crisp-clean guitar -- is finally a success. A now shirtless, exhausted Ziskin smiles as he unplugs his guitar.

"You're witnessing a birth," he tells a visitor. "Sometimes it's painful."
"C-section," Kissinger offers.
Not one to spoil a joke in the making, Ziskin adds: "Somebody give me an epidural."

Passion Seeds will perform at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18 in Underground Coffeeworks, 105 S. Narcissus Ave., West Palm Beach (561-835-4792), and as part of LoveFest '98 at 10 p.m. Sunday, July 19 in Maison a Go Go, 2031 Harrison St., Hollywood (954-927-3635).

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Rich Shea