>> write // dramatic adrift: nothing personal: liner notes

In the beginning, on the name ...

After several abortive attempts at forming a group to appease my fantasy at becoming a David Gilmour clone, I suddenly remembered how Pink Floyd came up with their name. Syd Barrett was the leader of that formation which changed its name many times before settling on the one that people would know today. Contrary to popular belief, Syd was the sole member of Pink Floyd to have ever overindulged in LSD, while the rest of the band remained straight. In his innocent, though undoubtedly acid-clouded mind, it dawned on him that the permanent name for his group would come from the first names of two obscure blues artists from North Carolina, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

It seems that most groups I talk to have had difficulty coming up with their band's name, that the struggle between finding originality and looking for meaning dominates the search. I appropriated Syd's method, though definitely straight headed and clear minded, and browsed through titles and lyrics in my disc collection, combined this with my twisted alliterative sensibility and came up with the group moniker. That was in January of 1996.

About a month later I met Brandon Suen [our then-sometimes permanent drummer] at a high school jazz festival and spoke to him about my intention to form a band, but really, it was just an excuse so that I could sing and play lead guitar like David Gilmour.

Live ...

Live, Dramatic Adrift was a combination of meticulously arranged compositions, wailing lead guitars (occasionally over-wailing), precision keyboards, Chris Squire-like bass lines, a polyrhythmic stew of drums and percussion, and Jon Leeson stage antics [including the infamous show ending flip]. Our early material included covers of several top forty radio hits as well as penned originals. Later on we stuck to playing all originals.

Dramatic Adrift Live Performances:

1. Vancouver College Mayfair -- Saturday, May 11, 1996
Lineup: Jon Leeson (voice, guitar), Chris Trinidad (voice, lead guitar, keyboards),
Dylan Dowd (rhythm guitar), Doug Andrews (bass guitar), Brandon Suen (drums)

2. Charles London Secondary Athletic Banquet -- Wednesday, June 5, 1996
Lineup: same

3. Vancouver College Dance -- Friday, June 7, 1996
Lineup: same

4. District Incentive Dance -- Friday, June 14, 1996
Lineup: same

5. Jason Webb's Private Party -- Saturday, June 29, 1996
Lineup: Jon Leeson (voice, acoustic guitar), Chris Trinidad (voice, lead guitar),
Darel Simpson (bass guitar), Brandon Suen (drums)

6. Vancouver College Event Social -- Sunday, October 8, 1996
Lineup: Jon Leeson (voice, acoustic guitar), Chris Trinidad (voice, lead guitar),
Noam Ascher (voice, keyboards), Darel Simpson (bass guitar), Brandon Suen (drums)

7. Minoru Pavilion -- Friday, October 25, 1996
Lineup: same

8. Steveston Community Centre -- Tuesday, December 31, 1996
Lineup: Jon Leeson (voice, acoustic guitar), Chris Trinidad (voice, lead guitar),
Noam Ascher (voice, keyboards), Darel Simpson (bass guitar), Paul Hetherington (drums)

9. Minoru Pavilion -- Friday, January 24, 1997
Lineup: Jon Leeson (voice, acoustic guitar), Chris Trinidad (voice, lead guitar),
Noam Ascher (voice, keyboards), Darel Simpson (bass guitar), Paul Hetherington (drums), John Henville (percussion)

10. Dunbar Community Centre -- Friday, February 28, 1997
Lineup: same

11. Charles London Secondary -- Thursday, March 6, 1997
Lineup: Jon Leeson (voice, acoustic guitar), Chris Trinidad (voice, lead guitar, keyboards),
Darel Simpson (bass guitar), Brandon Suen (drums), John Henville (percussion)

Too hot to handle, too cold to hold ...

It is 1999 and it is crazy to think that after all this time, Dramatic Adrift is actually still alive. What began as the group's initial need to combine elements of artistic composition and musical interplay with live performance has evolved to become the recording entity presented on this disc. There have been a total of eleven musicians associated at one point or another with the name Dramatic Adrift, including three guitarists, two bassists, one keyboardist, two substitute drummer/percussionists, one sometimes permanent drummer, myself and Jon. What began as a combination of quintets involving a multitude of musicians passing through a proverbial "revolving door" has been paired down to a duo.

The reasons for which people have left the band were numerous. However, it is suffice to say that all the musicians who, at some point, had been in Dramatic Adrift harbour no ill-feelings toward one another. This amical parting of ways shows musicianship beyond its musical form and extends a mutual respect for those who attempted a commitment that was "too hot to handle, too cold to hold ..." Ghostbusters aside, we still needed to find a band, if not to perform live then at least to record the amassed material.

Months before this recording took place, we struggled to find the right musicians to best replicate the magic that had previously been achieved with the full ensemble. No such luck. After months of inactivity, I was offered to join, as bassist, what would eventually become Painted Blank. I suggested to my new bandmates that we try Jon as vocalist, but the group already had one. Concurrently, drummer John Henville, who has played several live gigs as percussionist with Dramatic Adrift, was forming a band of his own with several friends and they needed a lead singer. I spoke to John about Jon [whoa!] and together, they perform as Paradigm Shift. Jon and I agreed then that Dramatic Adrift be kept alive and that we continue to perform and record as a duo.

Jon and the importance of objectivism ...

When I first met Jon, I asked him about his predominant musical preferences and his response came in the form of a shrug followed by, "anything…" What impressed, and continues to impress me about Jon is his open minded, objective philosophy of trying anything. Having Jon in the band allowed me the opportunity to explore different ideas and concepts otherwise rejected by most other musicians.

I try to live my life objectively and this allows me to express my whole, individual personality, which in and of itself is a complicated combination made up of choices and experiences. So… does growing up with eighties top forty radio, pad synthesizers, and wailing lead guitars make me the sympathizer of cheesieness? Perhaps. However, I put forth in the music an honesty encompassed by my whole being, that the material is undoubtedly influenced by anything and everything my eyes, ears, mind and heart have come in contact with.

From this belief, I seek to grow and build upon what I know to be inherently true to myself and continually being open to old and new ideas alike. To me, the only way to be progressive is to be objective.

Yes, we're trying to be progressive ...

The blueprint band I had envisioned for Dramatic Adrift had stemmed from Yes. The classic Yes lineup had consisted of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, and Rick Wakeman and from this period sprang forth the albums Fragile and Close to the Edge. The albums are considered hallmarks for progressive rock music. I attempted to duplicate this formation, hoping to steal its concept and make it our own.

Evidence: Both Dramatic Adrift and classic Yes had soulful, objective-minded lead vocalists named Jon, both had bassists who played Rickenbackers, both had classically trained keyboardists, both had drummers weaned on jazz, both bands had trouble with personnel, both were concerned with grand, self-indulgent, excessive and progressive concepts, both were bent on the marriage of harmonized vocals and premier musicianship but.. I was no Steve Howe. [Remember, David Gilmour, David Gilmour ...]

Exception: we were not as popular. Except for Jon.

Spice boys?

It took us about a year to record the album, on and off, and about another year to actually get off our butt and release it. The reasons for the delays are far too numerous to mention, but suffice to say that I for one and am glad that this album finally gets to be released. We recorded most of the album at Matt Rogers' 'Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood Studios'. Generally, I would come in and record a scratch rhythm track to which I would overdub drums and bass. After that foundation was laid, Jon would record his acoustic guitar parts and this would form the nucleus of the rhythm track. Matt and I then spent some time spicing up the tracks with various guitar and keyboard lines and parts. When the situation called for it, we would call in some friends to overdub further 'spice'. Vocals would be the last to go on and being the wizard that Jon is, would usually pull this off in a matter of one or two takes.

The material, or, immaterial ...

When you look at an old photograph, what do you think of? Do you think of your appearance of way back when? The fads and fashions of the time? Or would you think about that frozen moment in time ... Perhaps the steps you have made to become the person you are today ...

When I listen to this album, all of that, and more, is exactly how I react and feel. Nothing Personal, for me, is essentially a reminder of what, how and who I was during those adolescent years. Most of the lyrical material found on this album was written between the ages of 15 and 16, during a time when it was especially hard for me to understand and comprehend the behavioural essence of the opposite sex. Seen from different views, with commentary on the joys and the downs of a typical [or atypical] teenage boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, Nothing Personal was my feeble attempt at a concept album. Not knowing any more, and not knowing anything about life which would warrant such a grand testament, I ended up writing about what I knew and what I felt.

To me, the fact that it was recorded some two years later would not make the material irrelevant. It may not be the whole group singing and playing and its arrangements may have been slightly modified to accommodate a duo situation, [or more specifically, my abilities or inabilities as a multi-instrumentalist], it nonetheless captures the same feelings, of which some, to this day, I still do not understand.

Hope you enjoy the album.

Chris Trinidad
January 1999


Nothing Personal Cover

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