For those of you who think that there’s not enough sleaze ‘n’ horns in rock music these days, it is my joyous duty to introduce you to Ghost X Gardens’ latest cut, “Hittin’ the Bricks”, taken from the album Heartbreak Hotel Chelsea, out now.
Ghost X Gardens is the musical moniker of musician Adam Rushfield, who made himself a part of illustrious rock history with his new record. That is, he became a resident of the famous (or infamous – or both, really) Chelsea Hotel in New York City. That rock ‘n’ roll refuge has sheltered many a musical giant, from Leonard Cohen to Sid Vicious. This song is, in part, a call out to that history. But it’s a call out to another history, too.
Featured as an outro to this new song is a footnote and feature that puts a spotlight on unofficial matriarch of the Chelsea, Storme’ DeLarverie with whom Rushfield formed a bond while ensconced at the hotel. For those not already aware, DeLarverie is credited with throwing the first punch in a scuffle with police at the historic Stonewall riots in 1969, a key moment and vital turning point in LGBTQ history. On this track we hear her gentler side. These excerpts which are threaded throughout the new record exists as an “album within an album”, and representative of Storme’ DeLarverie last recordings before her death in 2014 at the age of 93.
These fascinating details aside, the sound of this song hearkens back to a distant, pre-gentrified New York, with humid horn arrangements and careening guitars, organ, bass, and drums, kicking everything off with an audible and generous quaff of some noxious beverage. This is an anthem to a night out in a dirty, dangerous town while adequately and appropriately stoned politely out of one’s mind. It’s a gloriously bleary journey on which the listener is instantly transported.
But with the outro and explanation of how Rushfield made a connection with DeLarverie, it becomes something else, too; an affectionate ode to a time of artistic exploration and self-discovery for the songwriter that converged with the end of an era for the historic Chelsea Hotel, too.
Sometimes rock ‘n’ roll swagger is best understood with a certain amount of melancholy.
To learn more about Ghost X Gardens, investigate these links: