Molded by his time spent jumping from one rock band to the next and inspired by those truck-stops and mid-western diners that seemed to play classic '70s country on repeat, Troy Richardson, the mastermind behind TruckerBomb, stands as a testament to what an amalgamation of alt-country and Americana sound like when infused with some hard rock temperament.
On his latest musical escapades, the Minessota-bred songster and Berklee College of Music alumni looked to his plethora of musical companions for a bid at creating the ultimate team to launch TruckerBomb's debut single, "Irregardlessly." And with great success, he managed to find a talented troupe to cast an audible dose of opaque dive-bar grunge and up-tempo honky-tonk straight into the hearts of anyone who can get behind some gyrating sonics.
With Troy Richardson on Vocals, bass, and acoustic guitars, Michael Berthold taking helm behind the electric, Dave Rodway laying waste to the drums, Fernando Perdomo blessing the B3 organ, and Mike Brenner sweet-talking through his Lap steel, it's like the days of 80s country hooks and empowered guitar-driven rock personified in a quintette of skilled southern-kissed maestros.
Inaugurating with the salubrious and rousing vibrations of Mike Brenner's lap steel, and a bolstering rhythm section close behind, "Irregardlessly" instantly gives you the feeling like you just walked into a watering hole in South Dakota, where the band is playing loud, you can barely hear the waitress asking you for you drink order, and the dance floor is absolutely jam-packed. When Troy comes in crooning with a buoyant rhythm appended to his subtly saturated and clear-cut voice, it's almost impossible not to feel like you've been transported to another space entirely, where the crowds surrounding you are bumping their heads and swinging their hips without a care in the world.
As he sings about unconditional love ("irregardlessly, I love you, and I know you love me too, irregardlessly, we'll make it through this life"), he sets down the bass-line like he's on auto-pilot. As Dave Rodway propels the song's energy forward, you're met with an outrageously catchy top-line hook that comes festooned with Michael Berthold's scintillating electric guitar solo for some added punch.
It's a straight-forward rocking jam that has the meticulous attention to detail you'd expect from a group of well-seasoned musicians like the ones in TruckerBomb, and with Fernando Perdomo recording, producing, and filling in the spaces with his subtly gelling organ, it's no surprise "Irregardlessly," sounds like a potent dose of innovative southern-rock that borders on the edges of alt-country and Americana with timeless fashion.
How did you go about corraling this team together to perform as TruckerBomb? And what was the recording process like for "Irregardlessly" at Reseda Ranch Studios with your team?
Well, it was an adventure. TruckerBomb was performing around town, rehearsing and getting all the arrangements tight in anticipation of recording an album. This was about a year in the making. We booked a studio and about a week before we were going to head in, Covid hit. Somewhere around a month later, one of the guitarists was no longer available. We had everything arranged for two lead guitarists, and since we weren’t playing live, we didn’t have an opportunity to redo anything. The whole plan with that first studio fell apart. So, we had to devise another plan or else we’d be doing nothing for a year. We decided to move the project to Reseda Ranch Studios and do a single.
Reseda Ranch is like the Millennium Falcon. It may not look like much, but it’s got it where it counts. That makes Fernando Perdomo the Han Solo of the studio. Or maybe he’s Chewbacca? I don’t know, but the hyperdrive was definitely working.
We picked “Irregardessly” to be the first single, since it represented the band pretty well. It’s a rock song with country elements. Instead of lamenting the current state of events, I thought, “What would I do with this song if I could do anything?” That opened the idea of getting Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner on lap steel and just making the best recording possible. That Fernando is a multi-instrumentalist in addition to being a producer and engineer helped immensely, too.
When you think about some of the emotional influences that inspired the narrative behind "Irregardlessly," what comes to mind? Is this an emotion that manifested itself through a personal life experience, or was this a simple fictional tale used to facilitate a tasty country slam-dunk?
Well, the first couple lines are about getting older, thinning hair and gaining weight so it obviously couldn’t be from my personal experience. Ha ha ha.
One of my favorite songs of all time is “Unsatisfied” by The Replacements. This song isn’t anything like that, obviously, but I was always fascinated by the sort of call-and-response quality those lyrics had — the “I’m this” and “you’re that” part of it. While “Irregardlessly” certainly has an element of sarcasm going on, I hope the honesty comes through as well. It’s kind of my idea of what a successful long-term relationship must be like.
How did you manage to fit so many influential musicians into a band and have them curate their musical talents effortlessly throughout "Irregardlessly," without feeling congested? Was this a coached endeavor or a natural flow of occurrences?
Each musician involved would be the secret weapon in any other band. I was really lucky to get such talented people. The song came together organically. Michael Berthold and Dave Rodway were playing it live for a year with me, and we got it to where the parts felt natural. When it came time to record, everyone played for the song. Mike Brenner and Fernando Perdomo “got it” right away, almost like they’d been playing with us the whole time.
If you could give listeners a few words that would act as the prologue for your intent behind, "Irregardlessly," and the experience they can expect after the initial playback, what would you say?
We rarely, if ever, are living our lives thinking, “I’m going to remember this as the best time of my life.” We’re all just living them. And that’s great. Living your life is a great thing to do. The personal disasters we all face are only going to be blips on the radar in the long run. How we let them affect us is what we have control over, although it may not seem like it at the time. So, that’s a little deep for a silly country-rock song … It comes down to this: enjoy life on your own terms, don’t worry about what it looks like to anyone else, and you have the power to make any time in your life the best time.
What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020? What is some advice you can give an artist who might be struggling creatively?
It’s been a tough year, for sure. I try to focus on what’s available rather than what’s been taken away. There’re no live shows, but there’s also no commute to work anymore. Take the time to get better at your craft. I still take a voice lesson every week. I added an extra voice lesson once a month with the vocal coach I had in Boston. Read everything you can. Write every day… even if, or maybe especially if, it isn’t any good. Try to write a truly bad song every day… chances are after about five days you’ll fail and start writing a good one. If you can’t be great, be interesting. Be personal. No one has ever seen the world in the same exact way you do. Merle Haggard once said, “You can write a song about a flower, or you can write a song about the person who picked the flower.” I’d say you could also write from the perspective of the flower being picked, you could write about a person who walked by and chose not to pick the flower, or write about an empty spot where a flower used to be.