Getty Once upon a time, music fans had to actually pay for all their music, a…
- Posted on May 13th 2011 4:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Now, the singer, songwriter and former Weezer bassist is using a rarely heard musical portion of the project to give something back to Japan, where close friends are suffering the effects of April's devastating earthquake.
"We were just checking in with each other and talking about family and different things, and as we were, the situation hit," Sharp tells Spinner. "It was difficult in the sense that -- as I'm sure most people feel when they have dear friends in any sort of situation like that -- you just think, 'I feel helpless. I really wish there was something I could do.'"
Fortunately, there was. Sharp teamed up with the American Red Cross, Ernest Jenning Record Co. and several other volunteers to release 'Resilience,' a collection of 18 short-film scores out now on CD and vinyl. The music has been available for download since last month, and all profits benefit disaster relief efforts.
The 'Resilience' compositions were just some of the many artistic pursuits that kept Sharp busy throughout 2009. Each week, he and his collaborators shot, edited and scored a short film. Every three months, he and the Rentals wrote and recorded a mini-album of power-pop jams. As if that wasn't enough, Sharp went out every day and shot a roll of black-and-white photos.
Rather than develop the film, he marked each roll with the date and saved it for one of the 365 custom box sets that went on sale after the project wrapped. A number of "days" are still available for purchase, and there's a special website for fans to share the photos they develop.
"Essentially, the person that ordered it owns that day of the year, and they have an insight that nobody else has into the project," says Sharp, who's enjoyed seeing for the first time the thousands of pictures he took.
Prior to 'Songs About Time,' Sharp had spent plenty of time in recording studios and used his own photographs for various Rentals projects, but he'd never attempted to engineer his own album, compose music for films or do many of the other things the project required of him.
"So many aspects of it were first-time experiences," he says. "That's what drove so much of it -- just that sense of learning."
With the photography, especially, Sharp found himself looking at his adopted hometown of Los Angeles in new ways.
"When you have to shoot at that high of a clip, after the first month, you realize how small your world really is and it propels you out into a much bigger world," he says. "Ultimately what 'Songs About Time' is all about is that journey we all went on together. There were about 50 of us that worked on this project together, and collectively, it propelled all of us out from our little world that we existed in and started discovering our environment, the city we live in and the streets that we don't know about."
"It forced us to look at the city in a different way," Sharp adds. "That's something we're just now starting to see, which is really exciting. The further we pull back, the more it's a story of Los Angeles as a misunderstood city."
Sharp hopes to perform a series of benefit concerts for Japan in June, and beyond that, he'd like to repeat the 'Songs About Time' experiment in other cities. In the meantime, he's happy to keep people's attention focused on a disaster he fears will be usurped by others global issues.
"I just kept thinking this is going to go away off our news and be put to the back pages very quickly, because inevitably, with the chaotic nature of the world, something is going to push it away very quickly," Sharp says, speaking words that would prove prophetic several days later, when coverage of Osama bin Laden's death trumped all else.
"This album, just putting it together this way and working with the American Red Cross, he says, "gives us a way to try to sustain the awareness of a situation they're going to be dealing with for a long time to come."
Download Rentals Songs | Buy Rentals Albums