BRIAN SETZER today has shared “Smash Up On Highway One,” the second single from GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE, his first solo album in 7 years. The album will be out August 27 on Surfdog Records physically (CD) and digitally, with the vinyl due this fall (TBA). The iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and 3-time Grammy award-winner, who last month announced the all-original 11-track album with the single and animated video for “Checkered Flag,” co-wrote the blazing “Smash Up On Highway One,” with frequent writing partner Mike Himelstein. Listen to the song here and at streaming services everywhere. Pre-order the album here.
“I usually start out with a guitar riff,” says SETZER about writing “Smash Up On Highway One.” “I was playing ‘Misirlou’ by Dick Dale with the Stray Cats, and I thought, ‘wow I’d love to write something as cool as that riff.’ So I came up with something out of left field. I don’t know what you would call it–Middle Eastern or Eastern-European. Some college professor probably has a name for that scale. I had that riff laying around. I guess you could say I’m always collecting cool guitar parts. Mike Himelstein sent me those lyrics and they just fit right in. I think it’s really cool–it’s a way to move the whole rockabilly genre forward. The surf drum part in there with the guy playing the tom-toms similar to ‘Wipeout.’ I love it.”
Produced by Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell and Cheap Trick), GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE contains songs, all written or co-written by Setzer, and was recorded in Minneapolis (Setzer‘s adopted hometown) and Nashville. GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE is a red-hot album from start to finish–American music amped up to 10–with songs that are full of dynamism and bravado. Highlights include “Checkered Flag,” “Smash Up On Highway One,” “Drip Drop,” “The Cat with 9 Wives,” “One Bad Habit” and “Rockabilly Banjo.” The track listing is below.
“Obviously, it’s a reference to my motorcycles and hot rods, something that hasn’t changed since I was 15 years old,” says SETZER about the album title GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE. “I still have the same passion for going fast and adrenaline. But it’s also about my hearing problem with tinnitus–the ringing of the ear. It was pretty bad, and I realized that I couldn’t play the way I wanted to. As I recovered, standing in front of a small amplifier just didn’t cut it. The sound from my big amp makes the guitar rumble. Which is a big part of my sound. I was really despondent for a while because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do that again. So, ‘Gotta Have The Rumble’ refers to both of those things.”