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Hear Rare Song by Drive-By Truckers’ First Band Adam’s House Cat

Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley’s pre-DBT group release the track “Runaway Train,” off lost album ‘Town Burned Down’

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Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley's pre-Drive-By Truckers band Adam's House Cat will release their lost album in September.

Patrick Hood

The date is November 25th, 1990, and Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood are upstairs at Muscle Shoals Sound Recording Studio cutting an album — not for Drive-By Truckers, but for their first band, Adam’s House Cat. Twenty-eight years later, that album, Town Burned Down, is about to see the light of day, with a sneak peek in the form of the snotty punk rock of “Runaway Train.”

Not to be mistaken for a song of the same name by Soul Asylum, a Top Five hit two years later, “Runaway Train” shares a scrappy, twangy punk sensibility with the collegiate rock that was coming out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in those days, from artists like the Replacements and Hüsker Dü. Adam’s House Cat were from the other end of country, getting started in Alabama after Cooley and Hood had met in 1985. Joined by drummer Chuck Tremblay and bassist John Cahoon, the group laid the tracks down live, with Hood originally adding vocals the day that the Gulf War began in the winter of 1991.

“I wrote ‘Runaway Train’ in 1987 during my parent’s divorce. It became one of the signature songs of my then band Adam’s House Cat. We were convinced that it would be our hit,” Hood remembers. “‘Runaway Train’ is the first single from the album. Another band had a big hit with a different song of the same title a couple of years after our band broke up. The similarities are striking — albeit coincidental. We’re thrilled to finally be releasing our song.”

Town Burned Down never made it to release, as the group broke up less than a year later, in September 1991, after briefly relocating to Memphis, Tennessee. That the album is finally getting a release September 21st on ATO Records is something of a minor miracle, as the original 24-track recordings were lost when the Muscle Shoals studio was sold and the mixes done by producer Steve Melton (of Lynyrd Skynyd and Bob Seger fame) were lost when a tornado struck the building in which they were stored.

The missing masters eventually resurfaced in Dave Barbe’s studio in Athens, Georgia, where the Drive-By Truckers were founded in 1996 and are still based today. Making a New Year’s resolution after Tremblay suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 2017 (Cahoon had already passed away in 1999), Hood took another stab at recording the vocals, cutting the definitive versions for Town Burned Down in just two hours.

“We never had any tangible success but made a really fine record shortly before breaking up,” Hood says about his and Cooley’s old band. “We’re so proud to be finally releasing it — almost exactly 27 years from our last ever show.”

Last-ever until now, that is, as the remaining members of Adam’s House Cat will reunite for a handful of shows opening for Drive-By Truckers at the end of September.

Here’s the track list for Town Burned Down:

1. “Lookout Mountain”
2. “Town Burned Down”
3. “Runaway Train”
4. “Down On Me”
5. “6 O’ Clock Train”
6. “Buttholeville”
7. “Child Abuse”
8. “Love Really Sucks”
9. “Kiss My Baby”
10. “Shot Rang Out”
11. “Long Time Ago”
12. “Cemeteries”

Here are Drive-By Truckers’ upcoming tour dates, with select shows with Adam’s House Cat:

August 25 – Amsterdam NL @ Once in a Blue Moon Festival
September 2 – Sausalito, CA @ Sausalito Art Festival
September 3 – Richmond, VA –@Stone’s Throw Down
September 22 – Chicago, IL @ Goose Island Block Party
September 27 – Knoxville, TN @ Bijou Theatre #
September 28 & 29 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse #
September 30 – Chattanooga, TN @ Walker Theatre
October 2 – Peoria, IL @ Monarch Music Hall *
October 3 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre *
October 5 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater *
October 6 & 7 – Fort Collins, CO @ Washington’s
November 6, 7 & 8 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
November 9 & 10 – Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom &*
November 13 – Little Rock, AR @ Revolution Music Room *
November 14 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom *
November 15 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
November 16 & 17 – Austin, TX @ The Scoot Inn *
January 27 – Feb 1 – Tampa, FL @ Outlaw Music Cruise – SOLD OUT
# – w/Adam’s House Cat
*- w/T. Hardy Morris
& – w/Lily Hiatt

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