Along with Elmore Leonard’s crisp dialogue and the stellar performances by stars Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins, FX’s Kentucky lawman series Justified was distinguished by its brooding theme song. For “Long Hard Times to Come,” the New York City collective Gangstagrass married bluegrass and hip-hop for a brooding credits sequence that set the tone for the gritty series.
Now, the leader of Gangstagrass, who goes by the moniker Rench, is readying his own solo album. Them’s the Breaks, out April 7th expands on the sound he discovered with his band. Rench announces the record with the lead single “Mugshot” – and an irreverent video that features an army of sock monkeys. (Watch the premiere above.)
“Mugshot,” with its winking “I look good in a mugshot / in the back of a cruiser I’m still hot” chorus, details Rench’s own run-ins with the law. He says he’s been arrested three times, two of them for participating in political protests, and he’s committed to answering the call again during the Trump presidency.
“Turning the idea of getting arrested into a badge of rebellion was a really important thing for people’s movements for civil rights and democracy in many countries, including the U.S.,” says Rench. “I think we should definitely keep that alive now. We have a law and order administration and people are going to speak up and act out, and making arrests for taking a stand as part of a peaceful non-cooperation trend would be a good thing. I also acknowledge that getting arrested often does not play out the same for people that are not white, and that is a discussion that should be had everywhere. Right now though there is a need for people to have pride in resistance and maintain it as a playful thing, not an antagonistic thing. Hell, I expect I will be getting put in a squad car before long so it will be nice to have a theme song for that.”
But Rench tempers the serious subject matter of the song with those dance-happy puppets in the video, directed by Annie Pace and Daniel Lafrentz. “Even though I see it as a political song that maybe will have a role to play in all the action against the new administration, I also want to keep the focus on fun, and I knew I wanted these sock monkeys in a video one way or another,” he says. “So the video showcases the wild side of the song.”
Them’s the Breaks is available for pre-order now.