Speedbuggy USA isn’t a band that you can keep down. Their last release, South of Bakersfield, came after a seven-year hiatus that had front man, Timbo, surviving and healing from a brain aneurism. Kick Out The Twang follows a year in which he had a major house fire just weeks before the band left on a seven week European tour. “It really threw a wrench in to us getting this record out in the US,” he explained. “The tour was a success but having to leave Los Angeles with a burnt home and then come back to financial strain and an uncertainty for the future is something I don’t care to go through again. But when you’re writing a record full of hard luck songs, I guess it doesn’t hurt to be beat down a bit.”
Kick Out The Twang shows just what this band can do in the face of adversity. This is lead guitarist, Seth Von Paulus’ 2nd time producing, engineering and mastering, and marks the bands 9th LP. “I first met Timbo in 2008,” said Von Paulus, “Immediately I recognized his passion and love for music. Even though we almost lost him he never gave up or gave in. It just made him stronger and more positive about life, people, and music. That has been one the greatest inspirations of my life.”
Speedbuggy USA was one of LA’s pre-eminent cowpunk bands and you can hear that influence on Kick Out The Twang. It’s an eclectic album of Americana, roots, country, rock, soul and blues that Von Paulus claims has “Great storytelling songs and some cool guitar licks.” Truckers, bull riders, rail riders, and heartbreaks all share space on the record. Identifying as a “blue-collar guy who’s pounded nails for years” Timbo said that he is “…always finding myself writing songs about the shattered spirits of the working class.”
Dipping in between sad honky tonk ballads and rocking cowpunk songs, the record is comprised of 11 original works and 2 cover songs; “The Last Train To Clarksville” (Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart) which kicks off the album, and “Unchain My Heart” (Robert Sharp and Teddy Powell). “Get Around” is a swampy blues of a song that echoes Timbo’s Louisiana’s roots. “Shaky Town” and “Darlin’ I’m Coming Home” are trucking songs (“I don’t think you can ever have too many songs about truckers”)—while “South Bound” is a song about riding the rails. Several of the songs on the record had been written for a while and were picked up again for Kick Out The Twang, “Sorry”, “Wood, Screws and Nails” and “Honky Tonk Singer”.
“Long Gone” is a song that was written by bassist, Brady Sloan and arranged by Timbo. “It was a song that I had struggled to finish back in the day,” said Sloan. “It had emotional ties to life back then and I think Timbo really wanted it recorded so he picked up the ball and ran with it. I’m glad it made the cut.”
“We spent a lot of time finding the right guitars, amps, and microphones for this album, which always pays off,” stated Von Paulus. “We really used lots of different guitars for this,” adds Timbo. “We had about 30 to choose from. One of my favorite guitars used is my pride and joy—a 60’s white Falcon that was given to me by Stephen Stills. It has great mojo and I love writing with it and playing on it. It was the first thing I grabbed in the house fire.”
The band’s last album, South of Bakersfield had them exploring the Bakersfield sound. “I love Buck Owen and Merle Haggard and you just can’t beat that Fender twang, so we have plenty of that on Kick Out The Twang,” said Timbo. ” But we also brought back some of our cowpunk roots. I also wanted to do a California Rickenbacker sound. There is something so magical about that jangling sparkle you can only get from a Rickenbacker.”
To underline the fact that adversity can’t keep Speedbuggy USA from going under, the band decided to do the photo shoot in what remained of Timbo’s burned out house. “I love how Steven Dewall captured us in the aftermath of the house fire,” Timbo said. “It gives you the feeling of the hard times that penetrate the lyrics of this record. I would like people to know that this album is about the stories and struggles of the American working class, outcasts, wandering souls and ghosts of the past. We had a great time working on this album. We all worked really hard to capture the right arrangements, sounds, tones and emotions behind each song. It was a journey back to the roots of American music. I hope everyone enjoys it…turn it up!”
Speedbuggy USA has a European release date of July 2 and and will be touring Europe in support of the release. The US release date is set for Friday, July 6th, 2018.