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The Buzz: Music video, 'Absolutely' single drive band into pop success

Wednesday, August 02, 2000

By Ed Masley, Post-Gazette Pop Music Critic

Since releasing "Absolutely (Story of A Girl)," a music video as inescapable as anything this side of Britney Spears, the members of Nine Days increasingly find themselves compared to matchbox twenty, Third Eye Blind and Vertical Horizon.

And they're cool with that, says Brian Desveaux, one of Nine Days' two singer-songwriters.

After all, it's fairly accurate.

"I wouldn't want to put us in a category with anyone," he says. "But I mean, we all play pop music with guitar. If they want to lump us in with those bands, I don't mind. I'm a fan. I don't think it's a bad thing to be compared to them at all. On our record, I think we definitely have matchbox twenty and Third Eye Blind qualities, but I also think we have a little more of that organic sound -- kind of like a Counting Crows or a Wallflowers. I don't mind being compared to anyone."

And like the Counting Crows, they've got a song about one of the Wallflowers' dads.

If you guessed Jakob Dylan's father, Bob, you may be psychic.

Dylan shares a writing credit on the Nine Days' album with Desveaux, whose "Bob Dylan" samples Dylan singing "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue."

As far as Desveaux knows, it's the first time the legend has ever allowed his vocals to be sampled.

What he doesn't know is whether Dylan listened to the song before granting permission.

Either way, he says, "It's definitely cool having his voice on the record and his name next to mine. I guess one day we'll meet. I don't know. It depends on how big we get."

Right now, they're getting bigger nearly every day, with "Absolutely" tearing up the charts at No. 6 with a speeding bullet and "Madding Crowd," their latest album, at an all-time high on Billboard's album chart.

It's No. 67, just below the 12-times-platinum Spears debut.

The album title comes from Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd," a book John Hampson, Desveaux's partner and the writer of the big hit single, read when he was young and his heart was an open book.

"It inspired him at a time when he needed inspiration," says Desveaux. "But the book is kind of about this guy who kind of gets caught up in these relationships where he's seeing a few different women at a time or one after the other, and all the problems that are involved in a relationship, and he's trying to keep away from that. That's why the book is called 'Far From the Madding Crowd.' And I think our record kind of ties the whole theme together, because a lot of the songs are about relationships. So when you listen to our record, you're kind of in the madding crowd."

Tonight, the madding crowd will have a chance to hear them sing their story of a girl at the I.C. Light Amphitheatre on what even Desveaux would have to admit is a pretty compatible bill: It's Nine Days, Third Eye Blind and Vertical Horizon.

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