July 25, 2021
Photo: Russ Harrington

BRIAN SETZER has shared Smash Up On Highway One, the second single from GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE, his first solo album in 7 years. The album will be out August 27 on Surfdog Records physically (CD) and digitally, with the vinyl due this fall (TBA). The iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and 3-time Grammy award-winner, who last month announced the all-original 11-track album with the single and animated video for Checkered Flag, co-wrote the blazing Smash Up On Highway One, with frequent writing partner Mike Himelstein. Listen to the song here and at streaming services everywhere

“I usually start out with a guitar riff,” says SETZER about writing Smash Up On Highway One. “I was playing Misirlou by Dick Dale with the Stray Cats, and I thought, ‘wow I’d love to write something as cool as that riff.’ So I came up with something out of left field. I don’t know what you would call it–Middle Eastern or Eastern-European. Some college professor probably has a name for that scale. I had that riff laying around. I guess you could say I’m always collecting cool guitar parts. Mike Himelstein sent me those lyrics and they just fit right in. I think it’s really cool–it’s a way to move the whole rockabilly genre forward. The surf drum part in there with the guy playing the tom-toms similar to Wipeout. I love it.” 

Produced by Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell and Cheap Trick), GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE contains songs, all written or co-written by Setzer, and was recorded in Minneapolis (Setzer‘s adopted hometown) and Nashville. GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE is a red-hot album from start to finish–American music amped up to 10–with songs that are full of dynamism and bravado.  Highlights include Checkered Flag, Smash Up On Highway One, Drip Drop, The Cat with 9 Wives, One Bad Habit and Rockabilly Banjo.  The track listing is below.

“Obviously, it’s a reference to my motorcycles and hot rods, something that hasn’t changed since I was 15 years old,” says SETZER about the album title GOTTA HAVE THE RUMBLE. “I still have the same passion for going fast and adrenaline. But it’s also about my hearing problem with tinnitus–the ringing of the ear. It was pretty bad, and I realized that I couldn’t play the way I wanted to. As I recovered, standing in front of a small amplifier just didn’t cut it. The sound from my big amp makes the guitar rumble. Which is a big part of my sound. I was really despondent for a while because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do that again. So, Gotta Have The Rumble refers to both of those things.”

Gotta Have The Rumble track list

  1. Checkered Flag (Written by Brian Setzer and James McDonnell)
  2. Smash Up On Highway One (Written by Brian Setzer and Mike Himelstein)
  3. Stack My Money (Written by Brian Setzer and Mike Himelstein)
  4. The Wrong Side Of The Tracks (Written by Brian Setzer and Mike Himelstein)
  5. Drip Drop (Written by Brian Setzer)
  6. The Cat With 9 Wives (Written by Brian Setzer and Mike Himelstein)
  7. Turn You On, Turn Me On (Written by Brian Setzer)
  8. Rockabilly Riot (Written by Brian Setzer and Mike Himelstein)
  9. Off Your Rocker (Written by Brian Setzer and Stephen “Dibbs” Preston)
  10. One Bad Habit (Written by Brian Setzer and Mike Himelstein)
  11. Rockabilly Banjo (Written by Brian Setzer and Stephen “Dibbs” Preston)

ABOUT BRIAN SETZER

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and 3-time Grammy award-winner BRIAN SETZER has achieved one career milestone after another. He’s sold millions of albums and is a “Musician’s Musician” credited with continually taking chances with innovative and daring musical styles.  Setzer is widely credited for taking two forgotten genres, rockabilly and swing, adding his own blend of gunpowder and rockin’ style, and completely reinventing and single-handedly resurrecting them in the process.  Along the way, he has scored chart-topping hitssold 13 million records and received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award throughout his decorated career as founder/leader of the Stray Catshis 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra, and as a solo artist. He is consistently cited as one of the world’s greatest living guitarists, and has a best-selling, extensive line of elite Gretsch signature model guitars bearing his name. SETZER is also, fittingly, in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.  On the live front, Setzer has headlined venues and festivals worldwide, including a 1983 headlining slot on the iconic US Festival in California, The Playboy Jazz Festival, a three-night, sold-out headlining run at the Hollywood Bowl with the 98-piece Philharmonic Orchestra, Woodstock ’99, and performing in front of more than 150,000 people as headliner of the Montreal Jazz Festival.  His reach also includes films and TV, where his roles include portraying rockabilly pioneer Eddie Cochran in the 1987 film, La Bamba,  Fox’s “Beverly Hills 90210,” among many others, and he is one of the few musicians to be animated in an episode of The Simpsons in 2002. That same year, SETZER was personally requested to induct Chet Atkins into the 17th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  SETZER had the honor of being invited in 2006 to perform at the White House for the President of the United States. Also in 2006, he was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame with the Stray Cats. In 2014, SETZER received the distinct honour of being asked by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. to donate a replica of his original 1959 Gretsch 6120 “Stray Cat” guitar, joining an elite collection of iconic treasures at the museum.


Brian Setzer online

Official Website