The Forty-Fives' third album, High Life High Volume, recorded in Detroit and produced by the Dirtbombs' Jim Diamond, is packed with the sonic fury and thrumming bass parts that the Nuggets series never quite captured.
But bringing that surge of sound to the stage ain't easy. For example, a hard-driving song such as "Superpill" loses the juicy bits of Moog (hard to service) and old tube amps (way too fragile for six weeks in a van). Trey Tidwell's hip-massaging Hammond B3 fills up every corner of the record, including "Backstage at Juanita's," a slanky rest-stop rumba that would've made the recently departed organ genius Jimmy Smith proud. Yet while Tidwell's on board, the B3 stays at home. "We can't lug that thing around," Malone says. "Some [bands] do it, and God bless 'em. It's hard enough to try to move a Rhodes piano around. That's a nightmare all by itself." Quietly, he adds, "We have a digital Hammond."
So those background singers on "Daddy Rolling Stone," the ones evoking fantasies of daisy-print minidresses that make us forget that the Who and the New York Dolls ever covered Otis Blackwell?
"On the road, we can't have an entourage of ten people. We're not making that kind of money yet," Malone says with a laugh. "It's all self-contained. It's really, really loud, and we're kind of jumping around and going crazy, keeping the kids excited. "
What about those horns, the ones that bring the Otis Redding to a ballad like "Too Many Miles"?
"There will be no horns on tour," Malone says, blunt as a hammer. "It's a good sound, but horn players smoke way too much weed."