Stop by Clyde for Drive-By Truckers
Band has stuck together 26 years by following formula their fans like
Fueled by gallons of steady releases and onstage spontaneity, Drive-By Truckers will cruise into Fort Wayne for a performance at The Clyde Theatre on Wednesday, July 27, at 8 p.m.
Lead singer Patterson Hood says the Southern rock band has a lot of momentum from a recent tour in Europe, and they are in “extra good shape right now.”
When describing a Drive-By Truckers show, Hood used the analogy of “driving a little too fast on a windy road.”
“It can be fun, but you never quite know if a wheel (is going) to come off, and (you’ll) land in the ditch,” he said. “Usually it doesn’t: Usually it’s pretty fun. And I think a rock n’ roll show should be like that. As my partner (Mike) Cooley famously can put it, ‘Where’s the car chase?’ It’s like, if he goes to see a band, and he doesn’t feel like there’s going to be a car chase, then he loses interest. So we try to have the car chase.”
Album comes together quickly
Concertgoers can expect to hear the songs they know, plus a handful of tracks from the June 3 release Welcome 2 Club XIII, which Hood said was mostly written during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown.
“And, so, it wasn’t a particularly happy time of our lives,” he said. “A lot of it was kind of written during that time, but it was recorded super fast.”
Hood explained the band went into the studio for three days with the intention of just trying out some new songs and “getting reacquainted as a band” after not seeing each other in person for so long.
“But at the end of the three days, we basically had the record,” he said.
Of the nine tracks Hood points to “Every Single Storied Flameout” as his favorite, saying he relates to it personally, although Cooley wrote it.
“It’s a song about dealing, as a parent, with things that you did in your past that, all of a sudden, now you’re dealing with your kid doing,” he said.
You want your kid to live life and have fun, he said, but you also don’t want your kid to mess up and hurt themselves, or do something that seriously impairs their life or someone else’s.
“And you don’t want to be a hypocrite,” Hood said. “It definitely captured my feelings, even though it’s not my song.
“It says a lot with a little and, and yet, when you listen to it, without listening to it close, it just sounds like a really fun track. It’s got horns, it’s really rockin’ and fun, but then the closer you listen, the deeper it goes: And it gets pretty deep.”
Unlike the rest
Compared to other bands through the past several decades, two things set Drive-By Truckers apart. One is that, although they may not have gained mainstream success, the band has stayed steady for 26 years.
“We’ve survived, we’re still out here doing this,” Hood said. “Like I said, we never really had the ‘big hit record,’ but we’ve built a steady thing. I think of the bands that were the ‘hot’ bands when we first started out, or the bands that were the ‘hot’ bands five years later, or five years after that, or five years after that. There’s always the band that’s the hot band at the moment. I don’t think we were ever that, we’ve just kind of always done our thing, our own way, for better or for worse.
“Some records have worked better than others,” he said. “There have been times when we tried to make a record that we heard in our head, and maybe it didn’t quite come together like we wanted it to. And other times when we go in to demo some songs, we end up with one of our favorite things we’ve ever done. We’re always open to the happy accident.”
The other thing that sets Drive-By Truckers apart is that they do not use a setlist during their concerts.
“We decide the first song before we go on, and what happens after that is based on how we feel on stage, and what we get from the audience and from each other, and where it leads us,” Hood said. “And that keeps it always different, keeps us on our toes.
“When I’m playing a song, I know Cooley is going to play the next song, but I have no idea what song it’s going to be. And, you know, we actually even have hand signals, like baseball players have, to keep the crew and each other somewhat cued into what’s coming next at the last second.”
Hood concluded that, despite the darkness and craziness of the world, “the rock show still moves on,” and that it offers people a moment of reprieve from their hectic lives.
“Just like in the blues tradition, where the guy’s singing on Saturday night about the troubles he’s had all week, but for that brief minute, everyone’s lost in the moment or of having the fun of that moment,” he said. “That’s kind of what we do for a living, and I think it’s more important right now than ever.”