PREMIERE | Luke Sweeney, "Special Stoner"
Luke Sweeney has a been a staple of the San Francisco scene for a decade now. Over the course of the past five years the artist has been working on following up Adventure: US at Brooklyn's Faraway Sounds working with Robin MacMillan until life took an unexpected turn. One year back in April, 2018 Sweeney found his daughter Rishi motionless and without breath in the middle of night, a moment where the abstract nature of existentialism crashes down in a reality of loud echoing silence. This life changing event was the catalyst that further bridged the new album Peace Meal as a medium that connects Luke in the material world to the supernatural dimensions of the unknown. Sweeney’s sound is bathed in the glow of a personal rebirth, delivering a variety of styles that reach upward toward new heights of healing, reasoning that grasp those overarching questions of why while learning to accept the obfuscation of cloud formations that block our view of the sky’s limitless bounds.
And that is where the grand debut of Luke Sweeney’s “Special Stoner” arrives into the picture with a power pop punch to gain the envy of Alex Chilton, Eric Carmen, Emitt Rhodes and everyone in-between and thereafter. It is a sound that sails off the high of those sublime epiphanies found at towering altitudes from panoramic ledges, to rooftop escapades that offer a new life affirming view that shows the eye and mind of the beholder newfound reasons and realizations of life, purpose and love from the great beyond. The conflicts and quandaries of the material realm are depicted for what they are as the arrangement accelerates toward something greater and more grand that takes flight with a sense of ineffable illumination. “Special Stoner” casts the conflicts and squabbles of the material realm into the void as Luke orchestrates an ornate production that pushes toward a greater sense of living, being, that seeks a peace of mind that surpasses the muddles and headaches that encompass our daily existence.
Luke Sweeney shared some of the following reflections on the inception of the single with a few thoughts on the praxis of creating Peace Meal:
This song was originally conceived a-cappella on the rooftop of a Tenderloin apartment building. I was up there late at night in exile, somewhat, having failed to woo that special someone away from the circus of San Francisco's hedonistic circuitry. Perhaps appropriately, considering the feel, it's the oldest song on the Peace Meal record — inspired by my nostalgia for old 45's like “Friday On My Mind” by the Australian band The Easy Beats.
When I finally got around to making a demo around the chorus line and that guitar riff, it was a quiet, acoustic rendering in which that whole era of my life came into full color: Late-night rescue missions where friends and lovers would be on one side or the other of an attempt to pull someone out of a bad situation. I know some people were waiting on an informed reference to the varying effects of herb strains, but that's not what this song is really about. I was just high up on a rooftop receiving transmissions, then I came inside and eventually translated them. The “Special Stoner” is a real person — able to laugh off the many distractions in this modern life and get us high — purely, freely expressing ourselves and tuned in to the energy around us. Hopefully, the song — and the Peace Meal record — can do that for people too.
—Luke Sweeney April 2019