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Finding "Commercial" Success

Finding "Commercial" SuccessPapasFritas – a band formed by three Tufts graduates –is experiencing a new wave of commercial success after one ofits songs was used in a Dentyne commerical. Boston

Boston [09.12.03] Since Papas Fritas was founded in 1992 by three Tuftsstudents, the band has released four albums, toured around theworld and earned critical acclaim from music critics. But it wasa recent commercial that gave the band its first mainstream hit.

Watch the Dentyne Ice commercial [here].(RequiresQuicktime)

“Ifpeople have seen the commercial, they think I’m a celebrity,”Tony Goddess, Papas Fritas’ lead singer told the BostonHerald, describing the attention around the band’spopular song “Way You Walk.”

Featured in a TV commercialfor Dentyne Ice, the song (which was released on the band’s2000 album Buildings and Grounds) has received a lot of airtime– both on TV and the radio.

“Thescript: Boy on subway platform makes eye contact with girl, sheenters subway train and writes her number on the train window(with the help of frosty Dentyne breath), and every other guyon the platform copies it down,” reported the Herald.“After a few months of heavy rotation, the spot’ssoundtrack is so familiar, it can be considered a pop hit.”

With littlewarning, the catchy tune has given new life to the group’smusic – even though two of the band’s three membershave gone on to pursue careers outside of music.

“Goddessis the only member of the intuitively gifted, guilelessly clevertrio determined to make a living as a musician,” reportedthe Herald. “Bassist Keith Gendel and drummer ShivikaAsthana (whose angelic, vibrato-free vocal complements Goddess’ragged, earnest wait in classic style) have pursued graduate studiesand careers in other professions.”

The bandmembers – who graduated from Tufts in 1994 (Gendell) and1995 (Asthana and Goddess) – aren’t likely to revivetheir former lives as the globe-trotting musicians were in thelate 1990s when Papas Fritas toured the world with Beck, the Cardigans,the Flaming Lips and Blur.

But they have releaseda new anthology of their music.

“It’sweird. It’s really become so defining,” Goddess toldthe Herald. “All of a sudden we get to have a newrecord out, because of a TV commercial, and there’s a stickeron it that says ‘as heard on the Dentyne Ice commercial.’”

For Goddess, the new-foundpopularity has given him more room to pursue his passion for music.“[I feel] like an artist who finally got a grant,”he says.

“Evenif that sticker fails to sell a million copies of the new PapasFritas anthology Pop Has Freed Us, Goddess can stave off day jobsfor another year, at least, thanks to revenues from the commercial,”reported the Herald.

Music, like the restof life, isn’t supposed to be easy, he says, but that doesn’tmean it will always be hard.

“Peoplelike to say that I’m nave, or childish – that’seven in style now – but I don’t think so,” hetold the Herald. “I personally like the kind ofmusic that acknowledges the world’s a hard place, that refersto the existence of cloudy days ahead, or in the past, but drawsstrength from that sadness. If it’s about heartbreak, youcan tell the heartbreak isn’t fatal.”

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