Brian Setzer Releases 1st Solo LP in 7 Years, ‘Gotta Have the Rumble’

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Brian Setzer (Photo: Russ Harrington; used with permission)

Brian Setzer has released Gotta Have the Rumble, his first solo album in seven years. The title arrived on CD on August 27, 2021, on Surfdog Records. (A vinyl edition will be released Dec. 3.) Watch several new videos from the iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy Award-winner below. The first single, “Checkered Flag,” arrived June 25, the day the album was announced. The animated music video depicts a classic hot rod race created by graphic artist Juan Pinto. See it below.

Of the song “Smash Up on Highway One,” Setzer says, “I usually start out with a guitar riff. 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. 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.”

Watch the lyric video for the song

Produced by Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell and Cheap Trick), Gotta Have the Rumble contains songs, all written or co-written by Setzer, recorded in Minneapolis (Setzer’s adopted hometown) and Nashville. The track listing is below.

“Rockabilly Banjo,” written by Setzer with Stephen “Dibbs” Preston (The Rockats), is a spirited countrified rockabilly song that shines a light on the star’s banjo playing, with Paul Franklin on pedal steel guitar.

Watch the video for “Rockabilly Banjo” with vintage ’50s black-and-white footage

“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. “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.”

Watch the video for “Checkered Flag”

Setzer turned 62 last April 10. He has scored numerous Top 10 singles and albums throughout his decorated career as founder/leader of the Stray Cats, his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra, and as a solo artist. He is also, fittingly, in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Gotta Have the Rumble Track Listing

1. Checkered Flag
2. Smash Up on Highway One
3. Stack My Money
4. The Wrong Side of the Tracks
5. Drip Drop
6. The Cat With 9 Wives
7. Turn You On, Turn Me On
8. Rockabilly Riot
9. Off Your Rocker
10. One Bad Habit
11. Rockabilly Banjo

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Listen to “The Cat With 9 Wives”

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