People have always asked me what I really wanted to do in life and I would always tell them the same thing: I want to be in a band with my brother. Up on that stage or in this studio. This is exactly where we’ve always wanted to be.”Jeff Mendelsohn
There is nothing more liberating than rolling through the summer months with a tune in your head that makes you feel carefree. Music can serve to alleviate the stress of everyday life and soothe your senses. Every year, a few recording artists emerge that color this landscape with their offerings and become a part of millions of memories that last a lifetime. The debut album from Trickside is bursting with sounds that will become synonymous with the summer of 2001.
Jeff and David Mendelsohn share an apartment in downtown New York City. This is where they sleep, eat, watch Yankee games, and sometimes argue over domestic issues as simple as which one left the peanut butter out overnight. Lately, though, these two brothers haven’t had much time to do any of those things. Instead, they’ve been holed up in a mid-town Manhattan studio where they have begun recording their debut album as Trickside. While this is going on, the demo of the band’s debut single, “Under You,” is already on pop radio across America. Programmers from Boston to Seattle and Austin to Chicago are broadcasting the song for no other reason than the public’s immediate response to the track. When asked about being swept forward with all of this momentum, David mentioned, “As soon as we signed, Trickside jumped into the studio to crank this thing out. It’s been a blur, honestly. I feel like we might as well be sleeping here, that’s how hard we’re working,” says David. Not only has the single caught the ear of record executives and radio programmers, it took over the imagination of sought-after music video director Marcos Siega (Blink 182, Papa Roach) who shot the clip during a two-day break from tracking.
The two brothers (David being the elder) are from Long Island’s suburban North Shore. Over the past few years, they have split their time between New York City and destinations across the globe. They found a home away from home at Club Med’s Huatulco location (Mexico). David remembers, “While we were vacationing at Club Med, we would just sit outside and play songs. People would crowd around to come hear us. Eventually the head of the village hired us as the club band. They never paid us, but everything was free and we became local celebrities. In order to pay our way down there, we would sing in the subway by Bloomingdale’s in the city. Little old ladies from the Upper East Side would slip us $20 because they thought we were cute. We made a killing doing that.” Other excursions included David’s trek through India and Jeff’s visit to both Cuba and Egypt.
If it seems that a plush mid-town recording studio is a long way from gigs on the subway platforms, that’s because it is. Trickside finds themselves here by a simple formula: tunes that combine perfect pop melodies and sweeping guitar hooks, as well as a grassroots following generated by compelling live performances. Jeff and David have been writing songs since they were teen-agers listening to Beatles records and singing Billy Joel songs. They would eventually put together a band and land a regular spot at The Bitter End, New York City’s oldest rock club. The same venue that helped launch Tori Amos, Bob Dylan and provided the backdrop for Neil Young’s introduction to Stephen Stills was now host to the brothers Mendelsohn. They honed their sound, grew together as songwriters and gained a loyal following. Jeff remembers, “Originally it was just our friends that would come out, and then one night some girl comes up to me after the show and says, ‘Oh, you guys were great!’ I said ‘thank you’ and then asked her who she was friends with. Turns out she had just wandered in, heard us, and actually loved it! That’s when I realized that we really had something.”
Jeff and David’s songwriting has given birth to music that makes you want to put the top down and drive. Jeff’s sublime vocals along with David’s hook-laden guitar churn out songs like “Under You,” the first single off the record and a quintessential summer hit. Jeff mentioned, “With ‘Under You’, we wrote about a friend of ours that got dumped pretty hard by his girlfriend. The whole song is basically saying ‘I know you got rid of me, but just know that wherever you go and whomever you’re with, you will remember me. I’ll be ‘under you’ and you can’t do a damn thing about it. It’s certainly upbeat, but the lyrics are a bit darker.” The track “Hollywood” is a hook-laden rocker that explores the internal quest we all share in search of realizing our dreams. It is simply a metaphor and far more than just a literal journey to Tinseltown. David emphasized, “There is a little Hollywood in all of us that will eventually surface, and every listener can apply their own meaning to the concept.”
This is music that has girls singing and boys wanting to be rock stars. The songs stay with you long after you’ve turned off the radio–the lasting result of perfect pop.