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2001-12-20 - Rotation Digs Into LA But Retains LI Roots
by: Glenn Gamboa (Nightcrawler)

ADAM BUSCH is trying to explain how his band went from being called 28 Orange Street to Common Rotation within minutes.

Busch, best known as the current villain, Warren, in UPN's "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer," agrees that it sounds a bit strange. Actually, it sounds like a scene from a movie, which, in a way, it is, since New York director Rich Crooks is filming a documentary of the band.

"We were playing at the Wetlands [Preserve, the storied Manhattan indie-rock club], and our bassist basically quit onstage and ran out into the audience," said singer-saxophonist Busch, calling from the L.A. digs he shares with his fellow Common Rotation pals from East Meadow - singer-guitarist Eric Kufs, drummer Ken Beck and new bassist Ken Uhler.

"We stood there for a moment and then asked if anyone knew how to play bass," Busch said. "Ken came up, and he's been with us ever since. That's when we announced onstage that we were changing our name from 28 Orange Street to Common Rotation [the title of the band's 1999 album] to reflect the change."

"That's why people need to come to our shows," he added, laughing. "You never know what's going to happen."

A lot of that has to do with Busch, though he says the entire band is equally unpredictable. "We're the perfect mix of everything," said Busch, trying to relax after an 18-hour day on the "Buffy" set filming a variety of fight scenes. "We're all very dramatic people."

Currently, all that drama is being focused into the new Common Rotation CD, which should be released by the band in the spring. As 28 Orange Street, Busch and Kufs built a lyric-driven, Barenaked-Ladies-meets-Phish vibe with fast-moving songs such as "RockStar" and "Did a Verse End." That's all changed, though, because L.A. feels very different from L.I.

"Because I have so much work out here, and it's so much cheaper to live in a house in L.A. than a house in New York, the guys all moved here," Busch said. "It opens up a whole different world, a whole different style to our music. It's less frenetic and has more of a grooving funk feel. It's also less neurotic and more philosophical and poetic."

However, some things remain the same. "We are still New Yorkers, New Yorkers living in L.A.," Busch said. "We take in the kind of music the city has to offer, like electronic music. But it gets put together in a neurotic way into the sound we have now, which, to me, sounds very serious and important. At least it feels that way."

For Common Rotation, the change is also tied into its audience, since live shows remain the band's main outlet, despite Busch's busy "Buffy" schedule. "It's really a live improv thing, which is why it's so hard to get what we do down on record," he said. "We're feeding off the audience. They're feeding off what we're doing. That's why we keep coming back to Long Island, because we don't want them to think we forgot about them. We're changing so much, but we want them to be a part of it."

Common Rotation plays The Vanderbilt, 1600 Round Swamp Rd., Plainview, 516-694-6200, Dec. 29, opening for They Might Be Giants. Tickets are $15 through Ticketmaster, 631-888-9000.

Copyright 2001, Newsday, Inc.


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