Action Packed Thrill Ride has a new album, and they celebrate with a show this Friday, 4/18, at the Hi-Dive. They're playing with Mothership (which is planning an acoustic guitar set), Roger, Roll (they have a new record) and The Vitamins.
Back when APTR was being born, Lucas Johannes was pounding out disco beats as the drummer for Mannequin Makeout (RIP) and writing country songs to practice recording. One of those country songs ended up on a friend's record label's compilation, and they asked him to play at a small show. "There was no way I was going to play alone," he said. He got some friends together (Mark Cawthray, guitar; Jeni Sykes, violin), started playing out, and what do you know, now we have the five-member band of today's Action Packed Thrill Ride (which now includes Duncan Dotterer on drums, Jon Evans on bass). A bunch of their songs are up on MySpace, so you can get a taste there and then buy their CD to hear the rest. It's fun stuff, with pretty harmonies (because no one felt totally comfortable singing by themselves, ha) and organ and toy piano thrown in
The agreeable Lucas sat down to talk us through the songs on the new album, "A Looseleaf Script," and agreed to talk slowly enough so I could write it all down:
"Something Tells Me" :: The intro, with the slide guitars, I recorded that a long time ago, over a year ago. The rest of the song got pasted on later, in January. But the first 30 seconds have been on my computer a long time. I use a PC (as opposed to Mac). I'm addicted to right click and roller ball.
"On My Way" :: That's the first song we started playing as a full band out of this batch. It kinda sounds like a train. The 'ooh-ooh', and the shuffle beat kinda sounds like a train.
"Stomp Clap Jubilee" :: It's in 5/4, so 'Mission Impossible' time. I had the rhythm in my head. I sat down with a kick drum and shakers. The guitar and violin came after that.
"I Was A Good Man" :: The basic idea was to do an a cappella song (there's still instruments on this, it just gives way to the vocals). We try to stay away from doing it live because it doesn't always work. It's a spiteful song. It's about getting drunk to piss someone off. Maybe it's a horrible thing to do? But everyone's done it.
"Hug of War" :: It's the most driving song on the record. This is the first song we wrote with our new drummer. Our original drummer was more into jazz. He quit to play guitar in a jazz band, but it was cool. Then Duncan came in and within 30 seconds of the first audition, we were like, you can play with us.
"Your War": Mark wrote this. Usually I bring skeletons of songs to the band. This is one Mark brought the skeleton of.
"Two Dreams" :: This is one of two older songs that made the cut.
"Songs in Reverse" :: Mark brought this one to the band. We made it spacier than he had in mind. There's toy piano. I wasn't too hot on it til we started recording.
"I Can't Recall" :: The point of the song is to have this driving, happy sounding song. But it's about being at a bar, being alone but having high hopes, trying to talk to girls, but then having a sad lonely feeling. It's kind of backwards. The verses are much catchier and upfront than the chorus. That was the idea too.
"I'm a Sinner, You're a Saint" :: This is one of my favorites to perform live, although we have to tune down for it. It's the song we can't mess up in practice. It's always the most solid.
"Yours Truly" :: Features Luke Mossman (Achille Lauro, Hello Kavita) on banjo. The idea was a classic murder ballad. There was a version before this that wasn't working. It had a lot of organ, it was loud, in your face. We decided to go the opposite way, with finger picking. Luke came in, he learned the song in 30 minutes, played amazing. He's just what the song needed, I guess.
"Clean Break" :: Features Jenny Brackhan on trumpet. I told her what I wanted. She wrote the solo part. It was awesome.