This is the third single taken from the forthcoming album ‘Looking For Love, Ready For War’, which is set for release in 2021. Same Old You was produced by the legendary Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance) and co-written with Atlanta-based writer/producer Butch Walker (Green Day, Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Pink, Taylor Swift), it is a fun and upbeat rock and roll number with infectious melodies and artful musicianship, with lyrics about a relationship gone wrong
The song was co-written with Butch Walker. Tuk says of the experience, “It was really cool to write with Butch Walker, something I’ve always wanted to do. In Atlanta, he is a hometown hero and a really big inspiration to me so to be able to write with him was really special. I’m super stoked the song turned out so good. You never know what’s gonna happen, we had really good chemistry and it was a lot of fun”.
Tuk’s musical roots run deep. Growing up as an outsider in rural Georgia, he found solace in hardcore/punk acts like Black Flag and The Exploited. From there, Smith branched out into exploring seventies New York bands like The Dead Boys and New York Dolls, which lead him across the sea where he embraced first-wave British acts like The Buzzcocks and the Clash. Smith wasn’t just a casual fan of these acts, he was obsessed with them and traced their lineage with fervent dedication. “I was always into the Clash growing up and Mick Jones’ favorite band was Mott The Hoople, so through the years I ended up developing a love of the first wave of british glam, power pop and things like that,” he explains. Soon Smith was forming his own acts, toured relentlessly and building a DIY following with his high-energy live shows.
Looking for Love, Ready for War is an album that has been a long time in the making and due to be released in 2021. It is the culmination of Smith’s already impressive career in music and showcases the versatility of his songwriting. His love of rock, punk, and glam come together into a unique amalgam that is at once fresh and new and also harkens back to music that is missing from today’s musical landscape. In many ways, it’s a musical homecoming for Smith that shows that though he’s covered with battle scars from perfecting his craft, he’s come out on the other side with an amazing collection of songs.
Gates of the West & Dark Horse Records present ‘A Song For Joe: Celebrating the Birthday of Joe Strummer’ on Friday, August 21 at 8pm BST / 3pm EDT / 12pm PDT.
Taking place on Joe’s birthday, the event will honor Joe’s legacy and feature performances and testimonials by many of the former Clash front man’s friends and notable names in the music & arts community, as well as never-before-seen Joe Strummer live footage.
“To see so many musicians and artists come forward to honor Joe is really touching,” says Joe’s wife Lucinda Tait. “Community was always important to him. Whether it was playing music with friends, organizing all night campfires, or hijacking festivals, Joe was always focused on bringing people together. Even though we can’t all be in the same room together, I cannot think of a better way for us all to feel united. Joe would have loved this.”
Joe Strummer (never before seen live footage), Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes), Beto O’Rourke, Bob Gruen,Bob Weir, Brian Fallon, Bruce Springsteen, Butch Walker, Cait O’Riordan (The Pogues), C.C. Adcock, Cherry Glazerr, Craig Finn & Tad Kubler (The Hold Steady), Dave Hause, Dhani Harrison, DJ Scratchy, Dropkick Murphys,
Eugene Hütz (Gogol Bordello), Frank Turner, HR (Bad Brains), Hinds, The Interrupters, Jesse Dayton, Jesse Malin,
Jim Jarmusch, Joe Ely, Josh Cheuse, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Lucinda Williams, Lyza Jane, Matt Dillon, Nikolai Fraiture (The Strokes), Ray Gange (Rude Boy), Richard Dudanski (101ers), Sara Driver, Shepard Fairey, Spider Stacy (The Pogues), Steve Buscemi, Tom Morello , + very special guests
This free event will benefit Save Our Stages, which is being spearheaded by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to preserve and protect the USA’s independent live music venues and promoters.
Save Our Stages
The mission of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States. NIVA is making a final push to Congress to pass the Save Our Stages Act and the Restart Act in order to keep independent venues nationwide from closing permanently. Take action here.
Gates of the West
Jesse Malin & Jeff Raspe created Love It To Life and the Gates Of The West shows to bring together some of the best musicians and celebrate the music of Joe Strummer and The Clash. Every show is a benefit for The Joe Strummer Foundation, Music & Memory and other charities. The six sold-out shows to date, have featured many special guests performing songs written and performed by Strummer and The Clash.
There are many mysteries in this world, but one of the greatest for me is why Butch Walker is not a household name at this point in his career. From his humble beginnings with glam rock hopefuls SouthGang, to chart bothering, power pop sensations Marvelous 3, onto a burgeoning solo career that has accumulated no less than 8 solo albums over the last 20 odd years. Oh yeah, did I mention the day job? His production credits include the likes of Weezer, Panic At The Disco, Pink, Taylor Swift and most recently Green Day…need I go on?
For me, Butch Walker has a certain way with melody and wordplay that few can match. He has the ability to tell a story and tug at the heartstrings, putting the listener right in the picture. Every album has its own merits and every album is better than the last, as Butch strives to not repeat past work and continue to do something fresh.
When I first heard ‘Sycamore Meadows’, I thought he wouldn’t better it, until with his band The Black Widows, he released ‘The Spade’, and so it went on. A master of introspective and retrospective lyricism, his work culminated in 2016 with ‘Stay Gold’, a masterpiece of 80’s throwback stadium rock and lashings of Americana. The blue collar ethics of Springsteen and Bon Jovi were recreated and produced to perfection, the likes of ‘East Coast Girl’ and ‘Can We Just Not Talk About Last Night’ solidifying his reputation as one of America’s best kept secrets.
So how does Butch Walker take it up another notch in 2020? He only goes and releases a concept album, doesn’t he! ‘American Love Story’ is a full blown rock opera, a story of hate wrapped up in glorious, upbeat signature melodies to die for.
Inspired by the 2016 presidential election, Butch started writing songs about bigotry and race hate, and he then found he could write about nothing else. No love stories, no break up songs. This is a story loosely based on his upbringing in Georgia and the characters he saw around him growing up in a small town environment. These are bittersweet tales told to a soundtrack of late 70’s /early 80’s rock radio from the point of view of a cast of characters. Most songs are sung from the perspective of Bo, a white, middle-aged bigot, along with the gay classmate he bullied in school and a hippy chick named Paris that he ends up marrying.
As with every story it has a beginning and an end. The album flows as one body of work, to be experienced with the press of a button and it will have your attention until the disc stops spinning. With segues and radio interference throughout, it does feel like a journey, a movie in audio if you like.
‘The Singer’ immediately gets the brain ticking with its “are we having a conversation? “ refrain, before first track proper ‘Gridlock’ introduces our protagonist as he returns to his childhood town. Musically, it’s prime Butch Walker, harking back in feel to ‘Letters’. Lush harmonies, a cool guitar lick and though provoking lyrics draw the listener in from the off. Whiffs of 70’s power pop emanate from the speakers, and the sounds of ELO and Gerry Rafferty fill the ears.
The radio friendly ‘Flyover State’ mixes spoken word drawl with upbeat acoustic vibes. Here Butch channels Lou Reed and Tom Petty, while the genius pilfering of Tight Fit’s ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ melody is cleverly changed to fit the theme, “freedom, dumb my way” he sings.
‘6ft Middle-Age American Man’ explores redneck stereotypes, to a happy-go –lucky, Billy Joel like piano led tune. And answers on a postcard if you can guess who the line “my Jesus wore a frown and a red ball cap” refers to.
Anti-love song ‘Fuck It (I Don’t Like Love)’ paints a stark picture of where our man comes from over a soundtrack of Kiss guitar harmonies and stadium-sized handclaps. We are then introduced to his school victim and his struggle with living the American Dream and ultimately coming out in the piano-led ‘Divided States Of America’.
We are mid-album and that leads nicely into the moment of change in the story. ‘Out In The Open’ is told from the perspective of ‘the bullied classmate’ in vivid detail. From the school days of bullying, empathising with Bo and ultimately the irony of pulling “the guy who called me ‘faggot’” from a car wreck and saving his life. Musically it’s ‘Hazard’ meets ‘Dry County’, FM territory done the Butch way, with an epic guitar solo to boot. I feel the contrast between the melody and the lyrics is what makes this song so damn immersive.
“So, are we having a conversation yet?” Announces Butch, as if needing confirmation that we are hooked. Side two sees Bo questioning his beliefs on ‘Torn in the USA’ and following pro-white radio interference, the funky ‘Everything White’ owes as much to Chic as it does to Springsteen and Gerry Rafferty.
‘Pretty Crazy’ introduces the hippy chick Paris, who comes along and changes Bo’s life for the better. Again, this is classic Butch, it could’ve easily fitted nicely on either of the Black Widows albums. A nice guitar line that follows the church choir “wooh-wooh’s” on a sweet melody. Catchy, soaked in summer vibes, with great bluesy guitar licks and handclaps, what more could you ask for in a song about a girl who claimed she did coke with Jesus in the bathroom of a train!?
‘You Gotta Be Just Who You Are’ sees our story jump a few years. Bo and Paris got married; they had a kid who turns out to be gay, oh the irony! But Bo is now a changed man, and this is a love letter to his son told over bombastic 80’s beats, swathes of electronica and choppy, guitar chords straight off a Duran Duran record.
Emotive piano-led closer ‘Forgot To Say I Love You’ is a haunting reprise. Bo, now an old man, has lived, loved and lost. He takes the ashes of his wife across the desert to see the country as he always said they would.
Apparently, Butch has been sitting on this album for 2 years waiting for the right time to release it. With racist and homophobic references that will surely offend the not so open-minded, it’s a brave and ambitious album to put out into the world and it is sure to jolt minds and fire up conversation. Many will take it out of context and not realise these are the actions of characters from observations of an artist who grew up in a redneck town in Georgia, a place that still holds a place in the writer’s heart.
Even though ‘American Love Story’ was recorded pre-quarantine, the collision of upbeat, radio friendly melodies and dark subject matter make for a thought provoking rock opera, a snapshot of American life that is needed in these troubled times.
Here I sit on a transatlantic flight bound for Minneapolis with my best mate Matt Seddon. Last night we saw Living Colour play at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, tomorrow we visit Paisley Park, then fly to San Francisco. The start of a carefully planned 10 day road trip that will ram in all the sights, sounds and experiences that Southern California can offer.
So, how did we get to this point you may ask? Well, in the summer of 2016 Sedd and I both lost our brothers within 6 weeks of each other. My brother Dan after a short battle with cancer and Sedd’s brother Andy to a heart attack. Obviously, these events changed our lives forever, it made us both re-evaluate our lives and what we take out of it in the future. Life is short and sometimes it takes a tragic life experience to give reality a jolt and make you question life, the universe and everything.
We are both music lovers and musicians, as were our brothers. Sedd and I spend our Saturday nights together drinking, putting the world to rights, talking music and planning things we may never actually do. This trip is about doing some of those things before it’s too late.
Call it a voyage of discovery, a pilgrimage or simply a tribute to our brothers, but what started as a chat about how cool it would be to visit Paisley Park quickly snowballed into a rock ‘n’ roll roadtrip. We are both Prince fans as were our brothers, Minneapolis seemed the perfect place to start. Then catch a plane over to San Francisco for a few days, hire a Ford Mustang and drive the Pacific coast road down to Monterey, onto LA for a few days and end our trip in Las Vegas. Take in the sights, the sounds, the history and maybe catch a few bands too, who knows.
As it worked out, the trip is bookended by two bucket list gigs at my favourite North Yorkshire venue The Brudenell Social Club. The day after we return from Las Vegas Redd Kross support The Melvins and the night before we fly out, we witness Living Colour play a sold out show there.
Dan would’ve been so jealous. Living Colour were one of his favourite bands. I remember when he got their third album ‘Stain’, he would play it over and over to me. Being a drummer he would bang on passionately about Will Calhoun and his playing, the tempo changes they use in the likes of ‘Mind Your Own Business’ and so on. He had been a fan since their first album, but he never got the chance to see them live and now I had the chance to do it for him.
The new album ‘Shade’ is a great return to form and this UK tour of smaller venues the perfect opportunity to catch a bucket list band who rarely visit our shores.
They open with Robert Johnson’s ‘Preachin’ Blues’ and follow with the classic ‘Wall’, a fiery political statement, it’s an early highlight. Yet it’s a slow burner of a gig to be honest, although they sound great the band do seem to be holding back. Where’s the energy, have they still got it?
Bassist Doug Wimbish is mesmerising to watch, what a player. He does this mad, dramatic pull off thing on the strings that looks and sounds smart. Singer Corey Glover, dressed in baggy gear, an over-sized brown leather jacket, cloth cap and specs, looks like an extra from Starsky & Hutch. He seems subdued for the first few songs, maybe jet lag or maybe it’s just his style, I can’t quite figure it out. In complete contrast the ever smiling Vernon Reid pulls off staggering leads at the speed of light to his side.
It takes a few songs to get going tonight, but damn me if Living Colour don’t pull off one of the gigs of the year. Tonight they play a few songs that they have not played so far on this tour. So, as well as the usual suspects we get a raw and undiluted ‘Elvis Is Dead’, extended and jammed out with crowd participation, even breaking into a few bars of ‘Hound Dog’ with added Corey hip thrusting. “I’m gonna regret that in the morning” he jokes.
A surprise calypso tinged ‘Glamour Boys’ is an amazing highlight with full band backing harmonies that sound frankly amazing, it takes the song to another level. The extended bass and drum solos, although impressive, I could live without. While Doug’s soloing to his own looped bass line was highly inventive and impressive for all the musos in attendance, they could’ve fitted three more songs in the set.
The new songs mix well in the set. The angst ridden ‘Gunfight’ continues to show that this band always had something to say and they deliver their diatribe with passion. ‘Cult Of Personality’ ends a pretty much dream set from a band I never thought I would get to see.
As they leave the stage Doug announces they will be at the merch stand to sign anything that is put in front of them. If we weren’t getting up at 5 am to catch a plane to America we would’ve stayed for a chat, but tonight was about seeing Living Colour play live…job done.
A delayed flight from Manchester is soundtracked by Junkyard, Prince and The Foo Fighters along with the highly enjoyable new Alien film and the quirky Colossus starring Anne Hathaway, a film that is much better than it sounds in the plot.
We change flights at Atlanta and miss our connection. As we fly over diminutive estates of identical houses that look like monopoly pieces scattered between the miles of lush, green trees, I realise I forgot to load the phone with music, so the soundtrack to Minneapolis comes courtesy of a Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors live album and a Juliette Lewis EP on shuffle.
We have been up since 5am UK time, that’s 19 hours and counting, I wonder if we’ve flown over Butch Walker’s house?
So its that time of week again when your getting ready to head out the door but don’t worry RPM are here to put a spring into your step and a smile on your face but most importantly a tune in your head. this week Ben Hughes offers up three tunes he thinks would cheer up any day of the week and especially a Monday so here goes.
Butch Walker – ‘Closest Thing To You I’m Gonna Find’
Butch Walker has fast become my favourite singer/ songwriter over the years and this song, taken from the 2011 album ‘The Spade’, is one of his most heartfelt and uplifting country-tinged tunes. This performance, taken from a Fender Studio Session is probably my most watched video on YouTube and encapsulates everything I love about this guy from Georgia. The tone of that signature telecaster is unreal, the passion and emotion in every note is unsurpassed. The sentiment of the lyrics and the notes he hits on the final chorus, it sends goosebumps through my very soul. Utter musical perfection.
PJ Harvey – ‘Good Fortune’
A go-to song to cheer me up any day of the week. Polly Harvey can do no wrong in my eyes, I love the jangly, carefree feel of this tune. The way it builds in the chorus, the vocals are perfection. So upbeat, rapturous and sultry all at once. Love the video too, PJ on a night on the town, is she drunk? She looks it! Possibly the only woman to make swinging a handbag look cool.
Hands Off Gretel – ‘Kiss Me Girl’
Gamechanger of a song from the Yorkshire band. Here, Lauren Tate has upped the ante. While the previous material has been good, this ode to lesbian desires takes their post Grunge/alt 90’s sound to another level with a killer hook that adds a commercial element to Lauren’s inner Brody Dalle. She’s a Riot Grrl who knows what she wants and I think she’s gonna get it! She even produced the video. Watch out for big things when they release their as yet untitled second album.