The latest installment in the *Smallpox* series of covers is “Driver 8,” an outstanding take on the classic R.E.M. song. Guitarist/vocalist Daniel Smith explains his love of the song.
“Remember that person who always seemed to be a couple of steps ahead of everyone else when it came to discovering new bands? Yeah, well, that wasn’t me. I was usually late to the party,” Smith explains. “In 1988, a friend had just picked up a copy of _Eponymous_, R.E.M.’s greatest hits from the IRS years and, as per the usual, we got really baked and listened to it for hours.”
“As far as the band was concerned, I had heard of them, but hadn’t really thought much of them either way. Or at least that’s what I _thought_ until my friend put the album on – at which point I started wondering why the hell these songs sounded so damn familiar? And yeah, the answer was because I’d heard most of them before. Moreover, I had apparently been ignoring one of my favorite bands of all time.”
As a postscript, Daniel adds “But here’s the kicker – a few years later I was talking to an old friend from Daytona and he reminded me that we both saw them open for Big Country. Spring break, 1984. Not that I even remember it. Always a bridesmaid.”
You can stream the song “here”:https://dromedaryrecords.bandcamp.com/track/driver-8 where it is available for download for just one dollar. The full album, imaginatively titled _The Covers Album_, is available for $18 and gets you a new download every other week, plus a few extras throughout the year.