The Promise Ring - Wood/Water (Cover Artwork)

The Promise Ring

The Promise Ring: Wood/WaterWood/Water (2002)
Anti- Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Punknews.org, circa April 2012 SCOTT: Hi everyone, we're here interviewing Davey von Bohlen, solo artist and former singer/guitarist of the Promise Ring. Say hello, Davey. DAVEY: Hello, Davey. S: Very funny. D: Thanks, I try. S: So anyways, I'm here interviewing you mainly because this month.
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Punknews.org, circa April 2012

SCOTT: Hi everyone, we're here interviewing Davey von Bohlen, solo artist and former singer/guitarist of the Promise Ring. Say hello, Davey.
DAVEY: Hello, Davey.
S: Very funny.
D: Thanks, I try.
S: So anyways, I'm here interviewing you mainly because this month marks the 10th anniversary of your old band's landmark release, "Wood/Water."
D: Oh gee, that old thing? I forgot all about it. [laughs]
S: Rrrright. Did you ever in your wildest dreams realize how popular this album would become in the independent scene? It seems like every band worth it's salt credits that album for their formation, and it's hard to doubt them. Coming from personal experience, that album changed my life.
D: Really?
S: Yeah. Every successive time I listened to the album, I appreciated it even more. I was not a big fan of "Very Emergency" at all, and after I heard the "Electric Pink" EP I thought you guys were done for. But this album... wow.
D: Thanks a lot, I'm still humbled by all the success it has received. I mean, sure it went gold, but that took 8 years. [laughs]
S: It seems like all the most important albums don't get noticed for a while - the Ramones never had a gold record, Weezer's "Pinkerton" only went gold after 5 or 6 years...
S: But enough about everyone else, I want to talk about this album! After 10 years, it's still in heavy rotation in my stereo. I still reel in surprise every time I hear your "new" singing voice in the album opener "Size Of Your Life." Sure, you revert back to the Davey of old for the rest of the album except closer "Feed The Night," but it's a pleasant change.
D: My biggest fear was that people would chastise me for singing differently than I always had, that's why I only tried it on two tracks. There's actually some demos floating around of other songs off that album with me singing in the "new" voice, it's a trip to hear.
S: Wow, I'll have to go looking for those. Now, about the second track, "Stop Playing Guitar" - I still laugh every time I hear you sing the lines "If I had a dime for every time I had stopped playing guitar and put my nose in a book, then my head would be healthy, my guitar would be dusty, and that just might save me from a bunch of bad songs." I can honestly say that myself and thousands more people are glad that you didn't hang it up. The songs on "Wood/Water" have by far withstood the test of time.
D: Thanks, thanks a lot.
S: Were you ever worried about what your old fans would think about the album?
D: Oh, all the time. When we were recording it, we all kind of knew that this was going to be more than just a temporary departure from our old sound. We had evolved - or devolved, depending on who you ask - into a basic pop band. There was nowhere else for us to go except outside the realm of what we had been doing. So... we did it. We spent six straight weeks in England recording that record. Before that it was rare if we got six *days* in the studio. With all that time, we finally realized that we didn't have to cater to anyone with this record.
S: As I said in my initial review of the record 10 years ago, "The Promise Ring is dead; long live the Promise Ring."
D: [laughes] That's a good one. But it's true.
S: It is. Take tracks like "Become One Anything One Time," "My Life Is At Home," and "Bread and Coffee" - melodies these lush had never appeared in your songwriting before. Whenever I hear "Wake Up April," I get shivers. It's obvious that the song was a point of transition for the band - I hear that song and close my eyes and imagine that you guys wrote that trying to find some kind of peace in the recording process.
D: Wow, you're right on with that assessment. That's probably my favorite track on the record, personally.
S: It's one of mine. Of course, I couldn't interview you without mentioning the song *everyone* talked about - "Say Goodbye Good." What was that?
D: [laughs] Haha, I loved it.
S: I love it too, but man, that last minute or so with the spacey effects and a gospel singer... To me, that signaled that the Promise Ring of old was definitely gone forever.
D: Yeah, that was a big turning point for us, too. After we made that track, we knew there was no turning back. [laughs]
S: Oh man, we're already out of time, you have to go do soundcheck. I had so much more I wanted to talk about: the sheer pop genius of "Get On The Floor," the Flaming Lips influence in "Suffer Never," th-
D: Hey, it's okay, man. Catch us on the "Wood/Water Reunion Tour" in another 10 years, we'll finish it then. [laughs]
S: Don't kid about that, I'd pay big bucks to see the Ring in concert again. Well, thanks again for this rare chance to pick your brains, and thanks again for sculpting one of the most beautiful masterpieces of the last 10 years.

Stop Playing Guitar
Get On The Floor
Say Goodbye Good


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ZappBrannigan (November 26, 2011)

It's kind of freaky reading this now that they ARE reuniting next year, I can't wait for the show.

Anonymous (June 17, 2006)

Oh, my world. It is ok

Anonymous (May 28, 2003)

A 10?

If Orange Rhyming Dictionary didn't get a 10, explain to me how the fuck this got a 10.

whendovescry (May 5, 2002)

PSS-- This album is graduating music. I can't explain it, but it is.

whendovescry (May 5, 2002)

Your window is open, the air is stale, the fan is wobbly and ineffective and this record plays. It is almost somber, indulging pop without being repetitive, but very fun to listen to.

My claire voyant records of the year:

(1) Wilco "yankee foxtrot hotel"
(2) Elvis Costello "when i was cruel"
(3) Promise Ring "wood/water"

PS-- The LP gets an extra track. It's off the proverberbial hizook.

Anonymous (May 5, 2002)

Like a few people have said, this LP takes multiple listens, but then you will be rewarded. Early choice for record of the year

Anonymous (May 5, 2002)

I've never been a huge Promise Ring fan, but I love this album. The songs are slow and pretty.

Anonymous (May 1, 2002)

I normally think the Promise Ring are pretty cool, and that's coming from a guy who generally likes things with a bit more punch. But this album was just waaaaaay too slow and boring. I feel like going to sleep, and while their other CD's can have the soothing effect due to their laid-back sounds, this one just bored me to death. Worst CD I ever bought.

Anonymous (May 1, 2002)

I got this album 5 days ago and I'm glad I didn't write a comment before now. At first I thought this album kinda sucked, but with every time I hear it, it gets better and better. It took me like 10 spins to get into it and it's been growing since. Usually albums that some time to get into are the ones that are still remembered 10 years from now. So I totally agree with the review.

Anonymous (April 30, 2002)

haha, pick his brains, thats a good one.


Anonymous (April 30, 2002)

oh yeah, this is exhaustra and i meant to give the album 1 star.

Anonymous (April 30, 2002)

this album sucks. i wish it didn't, but it does. complete and total departure from the rest of their catalogue. while this fact alone doesn't make it suck, it sure doesn't help. this is what happens when bands stick around too long and need to feel relevant again. someone put the promise ring out of their misery.

Anonymous (April 25, 2002)

Three Words: Nothing Feels Good


wyzo (April 24, 2002)

10 for the review, 7 for the record.


maverick (April 24, 2002)

"Pinkerton" was released on September 24th, 1996 [so says CDNOW.com]. "Pinkerton" was certified gold on July 3rd, 2001 [so says RIAA.org]. So sue me, I was off by 3 months. It's still damn close to 5 years.

And this album is still amazing.


Anonymous (April 24, 2002)

Pinkerton took at least 5 years to go gold... "dumbass". anyway back to the promise ring... i havent heard it yet but i will (tomorrow hopefully). I LOVED very emergency and I hope that this one can compare... I heard that song stop playing guitar or whatever... its damn good... i hope that they are all equal to or better than that

Anonymous (April 24, 2002)

"pinkerton" is not an important album adn it went gold much quicker than 5 years. dumbass.

Huey (April 24, 2002)

I always thought these guys were alright, but after hearing a few songs off of Wood Water, such as Stop Playing Guitar, what can I say? I'm hooked.

Anonymous (April 24, 2002)

Three words. Nothing Feels Good.

Anonymous (April 24, 2002)

Yeah this album is quite incredible. I've loved all Promise Ring stuff (yes, even "Electric Pink" and "Very Emergency"). This is very different, but VERY VERY good. This band can't make a bad song... cept for "American Girl".

Unconcerned (April 24, 2002)

you have entirely too much time on your hands... haven't heard the album yet but the 3 is for the effort on your part

anyone who spends 6 weeks in the studio is a wanker

Anonymous (April 24, 2002)

Dude you fucking rule
I wouldn't have even thought about even listening to this but now i wanna buy the cd without even hearing them before

Anonymous (April 24, 2002)

cool review...i'm gonna check out this cd.

Wyld_Stallyns_Rule (April 24, 2002)

Yeah, I gotta admit that the only reason I bought this album is because I consider myself a loyal fan to the group and it's predecessors(ie-Cap'n Jazz....) and at first listen it didn't sit well. But the more I listen to it, the more it grabs me and I really appreciate it. Not since 30 degrees to everywhere have they put out such a solid album, in my opinion. Also, well done review, man.
And hey, how about the new Costello album?

Josip (April 24, 2002)

now that was a cool review...maybe i'll check out the album...

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