Premiere: Dead Rock West celebrates a freewheeling spirit with John Doe on ‘Boundless Fearless Love’
It isn’t necessary to know whatever real-life details inspired “Boundless Fearless Love,” the first track on the forthcoming album from L.A. roots music duo Dead Rock West.
What matters is the spirit of urgency and openness to embracing whatever lies ahead. The jangly, hard-driving tune sung by Cindy Wasserman and Frank Lee Drennen was produced by John Doe, founding member of long-running L.A. punk band X.
The Times is premiering the song from “More Love,” the album slated for Aug. 11 release.
Set to a propellant track that’s part R.E.M., part Tom Petty and part Neil Young, “Boundless Fearless Love” extols the virtues of anticipating rather than fearing the unexpected: “Hear it calling in the distance/ I’ll take it on like a boxing champ/ Though desolation has no secrets/ I still believe the loser stands a chance.”
Wasserman and Drennen wrote the song with Drennen’s former bandmate, Gregg Stewart, and Wasserman says it’s “about moving forward. It’s about moving in general. To stay stagnant is to be in a stalemate, or die … There is a new energy flowing through us with this record that we felt strongly during the recording of the new record.”
“More Love” follows Dead Rock West’s previous album, “It’s Everly Time,” a canny salute to the Everly Brothers that reframed that act’s tight sibling harmonies to bring a male-female perspective to the Everlys’ highly regarded body of work.
This time, the focus is as much on Dead Rock West’s songwriting as it is its singing, something that drew Doe to want to collaborate with the pair.
“Cindy and Frank are great songwriters, and the way they include that with their singing is a unique talent that they have,” said Doe, who had invited Dead Rock West to open X’s most recent tour. “They understand, as they’re writing the song, that it’ll be a duet. That’s something I’ve obviously got experience with and really appeals to me.”
Drennen notes that the song “started with two chords and a riff, on the second floor of a small apartment in Glendale right near the I-5, with the constant noise of automobiles. The rhythm felt upbeat and driving, and it made me want to get out of town, so to speak: L.A. town, small-town, anywhere-town. And really, I wanted to write a song we could sing that had a lot more joy in it than other songs in the set.”
Their backing band includes such Southland stalwarts as X drummer D.J. Bonebrake, keyboardist Phil Parlapiano, longtime X associate David J. Carpenter on bass along with Omaha-bred guitarist Geoff Pearlman and former Cars lead guitarist Elliot Easton.
Dead Rock West is scheduled to play an album release day show at McCabe’s in Santa Monica. It will be a full-band show, Wasserman said, “and we’re expecting some surprise guests as well—we just won’t know which till the last second.”
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