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Smallpox pays tribute to Josh Silverman

Thu Feb 4, 10:02 AM

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of the passing of Josh Silverman, of Shirk Circus. Josh was a wonderful musician and songwriter, and it was our pleasure to have the opportunity to release This Band Will Destroy Your Life just after his passing, as well as the song “Knee Deep in Sin” by The Dark Brothers (which also included Josh) on our Make The Load Lighter compilation.

Daniel Smith, former bass player in Shirk Circus is the driving force behind Smallpox. As part of a series of covers we are releasing throughout 2021, Smallpox chose to record the Shirk Circus song “#10 (Under Acme)”, which we are releasing today as a free download. Daniel remembers Shirk Circus:

“In the summer of 1993, I answered an ad in the classified section of The Aquarian Weekly. The ad said “Bass player wanted,” and listed four conditions:

1. No songwriters
2. No slapping
3. No pedals
4. Four strings only

I figured eventually I could get them to loosen up on the rules about pedals, since I’d been known to enjoy some fuzz now and then, but was otherwise okay with the rest of it. So I got in touch, and a few days later, a cassette showed up in the mail labeled ‘Shirk Circus.

About a week later, they had me come down to their place in Clifton, NJ, for an audition, at which point Josh asked if I’d had time to learn any of the songs. I say sure, he asks which ones. I say ‘all of them.’

Judging from Josh’s shit-eating grin, I was probably already in at that point, but then we start playing, and that was that.

By year two, we’d gotten signed, released our first album, and did some touring. More importantly, we developed a sort of psychic friends network connection thing, where we didn’t really need to practice anymore.

Case in point: One night on tour, right as we’re about to start loading in for a show at Cat’s Cradle in North Carolina, Josh shows us this song he wrote the night before, called ‘Virginia is for Lovers,’ and asks if we can add it to the set that night.

Anyway, you would’ve thought we’d played it a hundred times before. And the thing is, it seemed so commonplace at the time that we just sort of took it for granted. But eventually, you figure out that this kind of chemistry is pretty fucking far from commonplace, maybe you come across it once or twice. But to be able to make magic? If you’re lucky, maybe you find that once in a lifetime.

By the way: for the record, ‘Northern Ways’ and ‘Talking to Yourself’ on the first Shirk Circus album both have fuzz bass.”

You can find the original version of “#10 (Under Acme)” on the Shirk Circus album March, which was released on Bar/None Records.

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