Drive-By Truckers are heading back to London for the first time since 2014.
The group, who release their new album ‘American Band’ on 30 September, play Roundhouse on 3 March 2016 as part of a four-date UK tour.
Formed in 1996 by Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers mark their 20th anniversary with their most political album yet, exploring issues plaguing the United States.
“I don’t want there to be any doubt as to which side of this discussion we fall on,” says Hood of the songs that address race, police brutality, gun control, xenophobia, and the rise of opioid abuse.
“I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding of where we stand. If you don’t like it, you can leave. It’s okay. We’re not trying to be everybody’s favourite band, we’re going to be who we are and do what we do and anyone who’s with us, we’d love to have them join in.”
Adds Cooley: “I wanted this to be a no bones about it, in your face political album. I wanted to piss off the assholes.”
It helps that the songs were recorded with a sense of urgency – after wrapping their November 2015 tour in Nashville, the band spent a few days at the city’s Sound Emporium studio with producer/engineer David Barbe. They ended up recording nine new songs in three 14-hour shifts and, early in 2016, wrapped the album in three more days.
“We tend to usually take about two weeks to make a record so this was really quick,” says Hood.
Much of that speed is down to the longest period of stability in the band’s history – ‘American Band’ marks the first time Drive-By Truckers have had the same line-up on three consecutive albums.
“I think we finally hit the magic formula. It’s made everything more fun than it’s ever been, making records and playing shows,” he says, crediting his bandmates: Cooley, bassist Matt Patton, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, and drummer Brad Morgan.
“I feel like Cooley and I both nailed what were going for on every song on this record,” Hood continues. “I don’t think there’s a wasted line or word on this record. There’s nothing I would change, that’s for sure. I think we got this one right.”
“I’m sure there will be people saying ‘I wish they’d keep the politics out of it,’” Cooley adds, “but one of the characteristics among the people and institutions we are taking to task in these songs is their self-appointed status as the exclusive authority on what American is. What is American enough and who the real Americans are. Putting ‘American Band’ right out front is our way of reclaiming the right to define our American identity on our own terms, and show that it’s out of love of country that we draw our inspiration.”