by Sierra Frost
When I met Adam Dishart, I was 19 years old and he looked a lot like Robert Smith. At the time, Adam was playing in Bay Area band, The Chatholic Comb, living in Concord, and more specifically, freaking out on the balcony while a hand-full of young adults danced emphatically to the Cranberries in his living room. For the next year, that was the extent of my knowledge about Adam, who would in time come to be one of my closest friends. I caught bits of his story here and there. His band fell apart. His girlfriend broke up with him.
After his life collapsed, Adam moved to a studio in a conspicuously haunted Tender Loin apartment complex. It was there that he and I got too drunk one night and stayed up until forever arguing and proselytizing about music, songwriting, love, which of us was going to run down for more whiskey… stuff like that. We played each other our musical works in progress, tore each other’s stuff apart, helped the other to put it all back together, usually a good bit better than had been before.
Then we did it again one time after I broke up with my boyfriend, who had introduced me to Adam, and a few times more with a couple of other kids. Eventually, we’d come to refer to these nights as “Workshop” and would schedule them on a semi-regular basis, depending on if we’d been doing good writing on our own or the extent to which either of us had been experiencing existential discomfort. We’d meet reluctantly at the Edinburgh Castle, saying that we couldn’t stay out late— we were broke and had to work in the morning—only to end up staying up all night playing songs, marveling at our dissatisfaction and aloneness together.
During these Workshop nights, Adam challenged me as a friend and an artist, to be vulnerable and say the embarrassing things floating around in the back of my head. Adam has set an example for me over the past years. Since we’ve been friends, Adam has parted with his Robert Smith ‘do (no pun intended!) in favor of his, uh, normal hair and begun recording and performing on his own under the name Books on Tape. Adam has built something alone, based solely on belief in himself and the need to create. And you know what? His new stuff is awesome.
In April, Adam released the Memory / Carnival Lights 7”, which basically destroys anything else he had done to date. And while I’m pretty incompetent when it comes to describing music, here goes my best shot (sorry, Adam!) These two songs boast piercing lyrics, infectious instrumental hooks and soaring choruses to which any listener can’t help but bring their own sweet feelings of loss and hope. No homo, but these songs are important to me.
Here’s the weaksauce: Adam Dishart is moving to Seattle in about a month. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go check out what may be Books on Tape’s last San Francisco show for a while at Bottom of the Hill on July 23rd.