Tear Down the Sunset


Tear down the sunset today
Put your picture in its place
It was on my list of things to do today
To put you back in your place

Sometimes I think I see you round the way
Where brick facades are traced by orange light
Hardly noticed shadows mark the passing of the day
But still I go on pacing into night

The bricks fall on Grand Street
And all the houses sway
Mirrors fold like curtains
Over black windows today
Already found the letters,
But the words just run away
Bricks fall on Grand Street
Each thing in its place
I watch the blades of ceiling fans
Cutting right through space
Pouring down like silver
It all looks so out of place
Bars along each window bend
But I won’t run away
I’m just running to stand still
When I am empty of all grace

Copyright © 2008 Adam Chimera, Quinn Raymond, and Karl Ward

Release Info

  • Release: Tear Down the Sunset
  • Artist: Ninth Street Mission
  • Format: Digital
  • Date: November 30, 2008
  • Personnel:
    • Karl Ward: drums, electric guitar, lead vocals
    • Adam Chimera: acoustic guitar, harmony vocals, piano, mixing
    • Quinn Raymond: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo
    • Namrata Tripathi: bass, harmony vocals

Writing notes

Adam Chimera has asked me multiple times if someone threw a brick at me from a window on Grand Street. I don’t know why he doesn’t believe me–that never happened. I mean, I saw weird shit on Grand Street all the time, but that wasn’t something that happened, at least not to me.

I was in the shower when the first verse popped into my head. The sun was pouring into our tiny bathroom window. A little later Quinn was idly playing these chords on an acoustic guitar and I fit the verse in. I asked Adam to write the second verse, and he turned in some great lines that were very Adam but still fit in with the more sparse verse that preceded it. The last verse was all imaginations of drugged-out squalor, which wasn’t difficult because I basically lived in a drug den where the ceiling was collapsing and junkies milled around outside the convenience store on the ground floor. I have so many stories about that time. Possibly my favorite one was when I woke up in the middle of the night to someone shouting “I am not a vampire!” ten feet from my bed, just outside my window. I wrote that down in my bedside notebook, along with the phrase “Empire Noises.” No, that’s not my favorite. My favorite is when I woke up one morning to a horrible sound, which I was sure was the world ending, but turned out to be the drainpipe ripping off the wall and collapsing in the street. It had become a column of ice and was planning to fall on someone but apparently should have stuck to being a drainpipe. But no, that’s not really my favorite story either. Let me see. The stairway leading up to my apartment on the second floor smelled like death, or possibly worse. I bleach bombed the entire staircase the first day and it was almost bearable afterward. When Adam came by the first time, I warned him that he should hold his breath while walking up the stairs. He didn’t. Instead he said “this isn’t that bad, it just smells like the eighties.” Ah, New York City.

Anyway, back to that last verse, I took little bits of Dylan, Sandy Denny, Hubert Selby Jr., U2, Richard & Linda Thompson, and mixed those with some people I knew who might have spent some days staring at the ceiling or nights walking down a strange unfriendly street.

Recording notes

There are two drum takes, playing simultaneously, loud as hell, recorded at Little Pink. Quinn and I recorded noise guitar at Ninth Street, and Adam played the acoustic guitar in the bathroom there, but later rerecorded it in Brooklyn (he said “I don’t know what I was thinking when I did that in the bathroom” which I realize now may not have been relevant to this recording). Everything else was recorded at Chimera Sound. Quinn took a stab at the banjo part for the outro. Adam worked quite a bit on the piano arrangement, which was originally much wilder. I don’t think he was happy about how much we dialed back the crazy. His vision for it was something like “imagine Joanna Erdos closing out the show, except she’s drunk and she’s not leaving.”