By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Last Saturday night, at Hailey's Club in Denton, The Slow Burners celebrated the release of the band's debut full-length, This Is Where We Fight. And in doing so, the band blazed through every one of the album's tracks, from toe-tappers like "Think of Me" to, what the band really excels at, its memorable, anthemic fist-pumpers such as "Yeah It's Gone" and "Captain John."
Like the band's 2008 Returning to the Air EP, the band self-released This Is Where We Fight on its own Holy War Records. And, unless another label scoops it up, The Slow Burners plan on releasing a second full-length as early as Summer 2010, because, as frontman George Neal (formerly of Little Grizzly) says, the band's already got its sophomore follow-up "in the can."
"We were finishing one as we were starting the other," Neal says, explaining that the debut album was originally slated for release last fall. "You know, lots of things contributed to the delay, but mostly it was money and time. And when you're putting something out yourself, pretty much everything that can go wrong, or could go wrong, did."
But, with the album out now, will the band be taking the typical next step by launching a tour?
"No," Neal says, rather bluntly. "We're not planning on touring. It's actually kinda hard for us to play, because with Ryan [Thomas Becker] and Grady [Don Sandlin] in RTB2, well, it's a lot. And a lot of us have full-time jobs. So, it's hard for us to tour."
This next Saturday night, the band will travel about as far as it usually does, heading to Dallas' City Tavern, again to celebrate the new disc. But The Slow Burners won't be the only band celebrating an album release that night. Neal and Co. will be sharing the night and, well, Ryan Thomas Becker with Fort Worth-based Eaton Lake Tonics, which also just self-released its most recent release, Rancho Folly IV.
Neal admits that, because each member of the band is also in other musical projects, sometimes booking a Slow Burners show can be a little tricky.
"It can be difficult, but I don't want to sound like I'm complaining or begrudging the other guys and their other bands, because I'm certainly not," he says. "But it does make it difficult when you're sort of competing with a band that plays a lot, that's a much-loved band. It does make it difficult, logistically, to play."
But, on the other hand, when the stars do align, Neal's explosive backing band is hard to beat.
"I'm playing with the best musicians I've played with in my life," says Neal, who first started playing music in Denton in 1991. "These are guys who anybody would be really, really lucky to have, and they wanted to play, you know, with me. So I can't really look a gift horse too hard in the mouth."