• Matt Levin

RIDE in SF 30 Years Ago! April 8th, 1991

Updated: Apr 10



Wow, 30 years, what a trip! I was living and going to school in Eugene, Oregon. I had just turned 23 and inhaling all of the new music that was coming out at the time. While 1991 will always be remembered for Grunge breaking huge with the release of Nirvana's Nevermind, my taste always gravitated toward the psychedelic, etheral wall of sound, Psychocandy Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and the Banshees, so shoegaze for me was a revelation.


I think I heard a My Bloody Valentine track(You Made Me Realise) in 1988, which I loved, but it wasn't until I heard the first two RIDE ep's RIDE and PLAY, early in 1990, that I was really hooked. There was just nothing like it. It hit a sweet spot to my ears, and I thought to myself, "this is it, this is the band..." Like the Byrds on acid, I was literally a kid in a candy store waiting for each new release.


They say everything is timing, well there was certain amount of serendipity and fate thought brought me together with RIDE. First and foremost I met and befriended the amazing Gina Harp. Gina was a music journalist, and we shared a love and passion for shoegaze. She became the first American journalist to go over to England and interview RIDE in Oxford in 1990. RIDE's debut LP, Nowhere, would come out in October of 90. I must mention that sadly, Gina passed away tragically at the age of 39 from Ovarian cancer in 2007. Gina had the best taste in music of anyone I've ever met, and enabled me to have this amazing RIDE adventure. She will always be someone I cherish and hold dear in my thoughts.


When she came back to Eugene she told me she had spoken to RIDE's original manager, the incredible, Dave Newton. Dave has since become a close friend and producer on Translove Airwaves! Anyway, Gina told me that RIDE were coming to play in America for the first time in April of 1991, and Dave OK'd me to film some shows! Needless to say it was probably the most exciting news I'd ever received in my life at that point! I was going to get to meet and film my favorite band! Needless to say I was cloud-nining!


And so it happened. I think I first met them at soundcheck at the Cattle Club in Sacramento, and then Palo Alto, and then San Francisco, on April 8th, 1991, 30 years ago today. What an incredible day that was. It started out with RIDE, who were touring with LUSH, both doing an in store record signing at Rough Trade Records. Then over to venue in SF, the I-Beam, for soundcheck. The RIDE guys agreed to an on camera interview that I shot with Gina asking the questions. Andy, Loz, and Steve joined the interview. It's fascinating to look at this now, hear their thoughts about touring in America for the first time, and to see how young they were. They were all about 20 or 21 at the time.


Finally they took the stage that night and blew us all away. Seeing them live back then was very surreal, talk about "Like a Daydream" They truly delivered the goods live, and took their wall of sound to another level completely compared to the records. Nowhere and Drive Blind live were breathtaking and literally left you speechless, not to mention that intense ringing in your ears that lasted through the night.


I went on to film two more shows with them in Southern California. In Long Beach, and in Hollywood at Club Lingerie. Sadly, the venue The Roxy would not let me film, and that might have been the best show I saw on the tour. But what an amazing time we had. Growing up in LA, I knew the city well, so during a lull in the day, I drove Andy to this clothing store, American Rag, to pick up jeans for his then girlfriend. It was an exciting time in my life that I'll never forget.


A couple of notes about the footage. I didn't edit this stuff. I may at some point, but I'm swamped with other projects at the mo. The sound in the live footage is not great. I did not have a board mix or anything. I'm not sure if they existed. As a twist of fate. 24 years later I would be asked by Dave to work on concert footage from a show that was filmed on London, by someone else, in March of 1991, just a month before I would meet and film them! I turned that footage into a concert film DVD for the Nowhere 25th Anniversary Box Set. Mark Gardener supplied the audio masters from that show. I've never asked him about if there were audio recordings of that west coast U.S. tour, Mark? ;)


Finally, for a variety of reasons,(busy, procrastination, maybe a bit of wanting to keep the memories for me) I've never released any of this footage before today. But I felt that the 30th anniversary of that amazing day in SF, was an appropriate time to do it! This footage will be a real treat for hardcore RIDE fans, and will be an interesting time capsule for others. For me it makes me feel old for sure, I can't believe how young we all were, but it also makes me feel grateful, I got to have this experience.





1,747 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All