As bands get older they tend to accumulate members, adding the odd percussionist or keyboard player — but not so Indiana blues-punk veterans Left Lane Cruiser. Instead, for tenth album Claw Machine Wizard they’ve downsized, losing a third of their membership and recording as a duo. “Left Lane Cruiser was born as a two-piece,” says frontman Freddy J Evans IV, “and our attack and style of blues just works better as a duo.”
New single Booga Chaka shows how much the band has benefitted from the reduced circumstances. It’s a rattling chunk of furious, primordial blues with a seriously funky swagger, as befits a band who’ve spent a lot of time on the road listening to James Brown, Funkadelic, Parliament, Charles Bradley and underground hip-hop’s sample king MF Doom.
“This tune began with a riff I had been messing with, says Evans. “The name Booga Chaka is actually how I would mouth out the riff to Pete [Dio - drummer] to remind him what song I was talking about. I’d say… ‘you know that tune, man, the one that goes booga chaka booga chaka booga chaka booga chaka boom!’
“The lyrics came to me one day when I was drinking beer and watching the Jungle Book with my kids at home,” he continues. “It was pretty late. The kids were falling asleep. The brew kept flowing and I started thinking about some crazy cat in the jungle gettin’ his party on, chasing tail and raising hell.
“I then blended a lot of my old anthropology studies into it. I remembered studying this crazy tribe in South America called the Yanamamo. They would make this yellow dust hallucinagen from plants in the jungle. They would get their spears ready, do giant rails of this yellow dust, trip balls, then fight each other all night long. Now that’s a jungle party!”
Claw Machine Wizard is released on May 19 on Alive Naturalsound Records, and can be pre-ordered now (opens in new tab).
Left Lane Cruiser Tour Dates
Apr 04: The Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, IN
Apr 22: Burn Em Brewing, Michigan City, IN
Apr 28: White Rabbit, Indianapolis, IN
Apr 29: Goat Fest IV Pre-sale Party, The Basement, Nashville, TN
May 06: Monnrunners Music Festival, Chicago, IL
May 11: The Brickhause, Stevens Point, WI
May 12: Nakato Bar, North Mankato, MN
May 14: The Hook and Ladder, Minneapolis, MN
Jun 02: Muddy Roots Spring Weekender, Brown County, IN
Jun 24: Choice City Stomp, Fort Collins, CO
Jul 12: Three Rivers Festival, Fort Wayne, IN
Sep 01: 4 @ Muddy Roots Music Festival, Cookeville, TN