Something New Under the ‘Stars’

Local rockers Slow to Surface innovate with an old song

The members of Slow to Surface have been known to throw a cover or two into their live sets in the past. But there’s something special about their recent take on “Stars” by ’90s alt-rock one-hit-wonders Hum. (You may remember the song; it goes like this: She thinks she missed the train to Mars/she’s out back counting stars.) Slow to Surface have made the song distinctly their own and—dare we say—better than the original? You can decide for yourself by buying the song on iTunes, or perhaps they’ll play it during their First Friday performance on Oct. 7.

“We loved the ’90s. They were such a different mood from everything else,” says frontman Benwood. “The power of it was amazing and we wanted to see if we could do that live. The record has five guitars. Hum is a really cool band and we’re hoping other people will discover it.”

Benwood and his band wanted to capture that ’90s mood while updating “Stars” for modern ears. “The thing is kind of monotone,” he says. “So I wanted to add some dimensions to it so it has more of a crescendo at the end, sped it up, shorten the bridge. But I wanted to stay true to it because it’s not a song that got totally played out.” Although the original band hasn’t given their feedback, Slow to Surface bought the rights to the song. But don’t look for it as part of an album.

So what’s next for Slow to Surface, especially with bassist Adam Handley’s (pictured, far left) recent departure? (Former Joynt Chiefs bassist Josh Herzog is currently filling in.) “We’re focused on writing some brand-new stuff and trying to write as fresh as possible,” Benwood says. “We’re going to try and put out a couple songs every few months. With iTunes, no one buys whole records anymore.” In a sense, covering ’90s acts in innovative ways is part of Slow to Surface’s efforts to make music in a post-file-sharing music industry. And as one of the few local bands that have been together for more than 10 years, you can expect a lot more where that came from. “We all love playing music,” Benwood says. “We don’t want to stop, and we have as much freedom to do what we want.”

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