The members of Fortress Social Club make no bones about it – they want you to crack a beer and enjoy their music. Which makes the video for their spirited, soulful “I’m Not a Praying Man, But . . . ” – shot live during a house party with a few dozen of the band’s closest friends – downright apropos.
“The song was originally our imitation of Sixties soul music, complete with a lyric asking the ‘Lord’ to ‘bring me someone I can love,'” lead singer Shawn Harris tells Rolling Stone. “The groove was so tasty, we knew it had to go on the album, but the lyric felt overly derivative and out of alignment with the times. We started replacing the word ‘Lord’ with elements of nature – ‘Earth,’ ‘Wind,’ etc. – and the song suddenly became inspired.
“The original earnest request of a higher power, whether it be the Universe, its elements or God, to send someone to love, is still the song’s emotional center,” continues Harris, who formerly fronted the Matches. “We shot the video at a house-party show in L.A., well after midnight. Guys from Jagwar Ma and their crew showed up with a friend of ours after playing the El Rey, and they can be credited for starting the crowd dancing, which got pretty wild in the wee hours. That’s one of our cameraman friends at the end, getting caught in the act of finding himself someone to love.”
Aside from Harris, the L.A. collective currently consists of guitarist Mykul Lee, Shawn’s sister Jo on vocals, B-3 organ and Mellotron, guitarist Johnzo West, bassist Justin “Bird” Andres and drummer Rob Humphreys. FSC, who recently released Make Love, Not Babies, their third album of 2013, boast veterans of Mania, Miley Cyrus, Oh No Not Stereo, Philip Sayce and the Bellrays.