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  • Writer's pictureMatt Levin

Guitar Drag: Brooklyn - Starring Andy Bell of RIDE

In 2015 the Oxford, UK band, RIDE, were reforming and set to play their first reunion show in the States in New York at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in June. I knew I had to be there for it, as RIDE had been my favorite band for many years. I had worked with the band back in the 90's, so I was in touch with Loz Colbert, drummer of RIDE, and Andy Bell, guitarist, singer, songwriter. Loz mentioned he had this idea that he and Andy had cooked up to have Andy drag an old Vox Teardrop Phantom guitar along the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn tied to a leash, sort of like he was walking a dog! They only had a limited amount time to do it before the show, and their flight had been delayed many times, but they finally made it to the venue in the nick of time and we managed to pull it off!

A few things lined up that made it a very special little project. My brilliant friend, Bryan Quinn, a guitar player himself, was randomly in town for a wedding. He had been a New Yorker for many years, but had moved to Europe a few years previously. I asked Bry to help me film and with the audio, and he graciously agreed to help, and he was an absolute magician! I couldn't have done it without him, so it was very serendipitous.

We rigged up Andy's guitar so that the feedback was looping through into one our cameras. The pounding audio you hear was recorded live, no overdubs. The only other sound you hear is that intense rumble of the guitar and the pavement crashing together as it's dragged along the streets.

The truly remarkable thing about Guitar Drag is how seamlessly Andy and his guitar blend into the environment in Brooklyn. He doesn't seem out of place at all. Nobody on the street seems the least bit phased by the sight of Andy and his guitar on a leash. He passes by joggers, mothers with baby carriages, construction workers, and every day ordinary people going about their business. I think it speaks to a live and let live attitude in Brooklyn that you have to appreciate.

Lastly, I like the fact that Guitar Drag is hard to categorize or label. It's not really a music video, even though it definitely has a soundtrack. It's not really a short film, although it has a narrative of sorts. I guess it can best be described as a performance art video, but maybe it's best not to try and label it at all, it's just Guitar Drag: Brooklyn.

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