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An accordion isn’t something that you typically associate with a bluesy power trio. Was that sound something you hear a lot growing up?
The Texas Tornados and Los Lobos were played all the time when I was growing up. Our cousin played accordion on the track. I tell you, it was like the song was written just for the accordion. When it kicks in, that’s that Texican rock ’n’ roll, man. When I hear “Blame it On Love” I just think of a big Texas barbecue.
The vibe and sound of “Rule the World” are a bit heavier than what you’re usually known for.
That was a fun song to do, man. I was never really into the whole Eddie Van Halen style of playing growing up. It’s not that I couldn’t do it—I just wanted a more Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimi Hendrix vibe. With that song I got to step out of the box a little bit and have some fun. It’s a sound and style that people don’t normally get to hear from me. We were trying to put our take on that modern rock sound and show people that Los Lonely Boys aren’t just a blues band. It was a little uncomfortable at first, because with that real heavy, dirty, gritty guitar tone, it’s hard for me to find some life in there sometimes. It was fun trying to put my heart in it. That style of music just makes you want to get in your car and drive fast or jump in the MMA ring.
There’s a hint of “La Bamba” on the intro to “Dream Away.”
You’re right on, bro. When I was writing that song, I had Ritchie Valens in my head the whole time. He was an inspiration on that song, and I was also thinking of that John Fogerty song, “Centerfield.” They have a similar feel in the intro. I don’t know if I could say I was trying to reinvent “La Bamba,” but it was just something that came out. The words, man, were a whole different deal. I was picturing myself as a family in one of those FEMA camps. I was doing some research one day and starting thinking, what if a family was stuck in one of these camps? How could get out? It didn’t matter if you were behind bars, or locked behind a fence, being forced to live in these quarters—you could always dream yourself away. Basically, I was imagining I was in a bad place and trying to dream my way out of it, because they can’t take your dreams away.
In our Rig Rundown you mentioned “The Ninja,” a homemade amp you used when you were younger. Can you tell me more about it?
Oh yeah! We were a pretty hardworking family, and we didn’t have a lot of money. My dad got a hold of some little Peavey amp and I had ripped out the speaker. I kept the brain and I put it on top of one of these Kustom amps with two 15" speakers. I built it myself, man! When we went out to play gigs everyone had their name-brand amps, and I was just being a little Einstein-ish, I guess. I wrapped the speaker box with a piece of black cloth. It looked like a ninja, so I painted “ninja” on the front. I was just putting together pieces of amps to make one work. I lost that sucker a long time ago. It did me some good for a lot of years, I promise you that. It was just one of those things that got lost in the whirlwind of life.