5 Seconds of Summer Discuss 'Desert Cowboy Riff' in 'She's Kinda Hot' - Rolling Stone
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5 Seconds of Summer Discuss ‘Desert Cowboy Riff’ in ‘She’s Kinda Hot’

Guitarist Michael Clifford and drummer Ashton Irwin explain story behind Madden brothers-assisted new single

5 Seconds of Summer have been teasing the first official single off their as-yet-untitled sophomore album for weeks on social media and their 5 on the Wall site. On Friday, the Australian pop punkers released the catchy, old-school song “She’s Kinda Hot.”

With the new track, 5SOS have made a rockier departure from their self-titled debut. Sounding more like the early-to-mid-Aughts bands that the group had writing sessions with for their new LP (Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Simple Plan), the Australian band have honed the California punk whine.

“I’m surprised that people love that song because it’s heavy as hell,” guitarist Michael Clifford tells Rolling Stone. “I’m so happy that people are supportive of that type of music again, which is always the type of music that we’ve wanted to make.”

Clifford and drummer Ashton Irwin co-wrote the song with Joel and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte and the album’s executive producer John Feldmann. “I went into the desert with my girlfriend at the time for two days or something, and I was like ‘Okay, I have to be back by Monday morning because I have a writing session at John’s,'” Irwin explains about the song’s origin. “I got there and everyone is talking about my time in the desert ’cause I had never been to the desert before.”

“Benji started playing the riff that’s in the song,” Clifford adds. “He thought it sounded like a desert cowboy riff. We just all came around that riff. That first verse is literally the first thing that came to our head, which was just real stupid stuff.”

Originally, Irwin handled lead vocals on the track. “When we wrote that song, we were like ‘Ashton is going to sing that whole song because it’s going to be, like, a drummer’s song,'” Clifford says.

“Kiss did that with ‘Beth,’ but that was a different type of song,” Irwin elaborates. “We got everyone’s vocals on it and now it’s a totally different song. I actually haven’t listened to the one I sang in a long time.”

With lyrics like, “We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene,” 5SOS are hoping to offer a little inspiration and solace to their fervent fanbase. “I think the song’s got a really cool message,” Clifford says. “It’s like, ‘Yeah we’re screwed up kids, but we’re going to be okay.'”

5 Seconds of Summer kick off the North American leg of their world tour Friday night in Las Vegas. 


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