“That’s what’s really cool about a guy like Nick, that he’d agree to something like this,” Los Straitjackets guitarist Eddie Angel told Rolling Stone last year of the masked instrumental rockers’ ongoing collaboration with veteran singer-songwriter Nick Lowe. “We had nothing to lose. But he did: his reputation!”
Apparently Lowe is comfortable with the risk. In May, he’ll follow up a 2018 EP featuring Los Straitjackets with another four-song release on which he’s backed by the Nashville outfit, known for their Mexican-wrestling–style headwear. Love Starvation / Trombone will include three new Lowe songs, as well as a cover of Sammy Turner’s Phil Spector–produced 1960 single “Raincoat in the River.” Above, you can hear opening track “Love Starvation,” a peppy-sounding old-school rock song that paints a bleak lyrical picture of romantic fallout. “I’ll tell you something ’bout love starvation — it’s like a prison in your mind you’re locked up in,” Lowe sings. “Disappointment, desperation, your two old friends.”
“We had just finished recording the last EP and I was sitting around the hotel, killing time before the flight home and I came up with the idea for ‘Love Starvation,'” Lowe said of the song in a statement. “I knew it was perfect for the Straitjackets, so it was the impetus for going back in the studio the next time we got together to tour.
“The Straitjackets definitely influenced these new songs,” he adds. “‘Love Starvation’ was written very specifically with them in mind. It has a kind of Ritchie Valens feel to it that I thought might suit them. It’s funny, that song could’ve been a Rockpile song. But in a way, I don’t think I was good enough to write a song like that back then. It’s a very pro little number. It all flows and works. It sounds like old stuff, but I’m just better at doing it now.”
“Nick came in with such a great song and I really wanted to come up with the right part,” Eddie Angel writes. “In the end, I was trying to channel a jam session between Trini Lopez and Reggie Young.”
Lowe and the Straitjackets first teamed up in 2012, at the 15th anniversary gig for their shared label, Yep Roc.
“Apart from being a fantastic rock ‘n’ roll band, they know how to play tons of different styles really well,” Lowe writes of his collaborators. “They can knock you out a version of Bacharach & David’s ‘The Look of Love’ with no trouble at all. Plus, we get on with each other really well. And that makes the music work. This is a collaboration. They’re in no way my backing band. At first, they very kindly started learning up my records, note for note. I told them, ‘Don’t do that. Just learn the chords and we’ll play them together so it sounds as natural as we can make it.’ Rather than doing some kind of tribute band kind of act, you know? And that’s when it started being fun and click into gear.”
Love Starvation / Trombone is out May 17th from Yep Roc. Los Straitjackets will back Lowe on the next set of dates on his ongoing Quality Rock & Roll Revue.
Nick Lowe’s Quality Rock & Roll Revue Starring Los Straitjackets Tour Dates
April 3 – Atlanta, GA @ The Variety
April 5 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
April 6 – Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom
April 7 – Washington, DC @ The Hamilton
April 9 – Philadelphia, PA @ Ardmore Music Hall
April 11 – Boston, MA @ The Wilbur
April 12 – Tarrytown, NY @ Tarrytown Music Hall
April 13 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom
April 14 – Infinity Music Hall and Bistro – Hartford, CT