Remember that 1968 movie in which Bruce Dern plays the leader of a biker gang that accidentally gets sent back in time to 1868 and they have to help a Texas border town fight off a band of Mexican marauders led by two werewolf brothers (played by Gian Maria Volonte and Mario Brega), but also the mad scientist creator of the time machine (John Carradine) and his group of modern-day mercenaries who go back in time so they can secure the rights to the vast uranium deposits near the border town?
Me neither, because (sadly) it never existed. If it had, however, Spindrift probably would’ve scored the whole thing. Classic Soundtracks Volume 1 is an amazing record because it is fourteen movie score tracks from films that never existed but you will swear that they did.
Kirpatrick Thomas, lead singer and guitarist, started Spindrift back in 1992 and the band has gone through a few personnel changes over the years. I saw them open for the Black Angels and Dead Meadow on October 20, 2011 at the Metro in Chicago. Those of us lucky enough to come early for Spindrift’s set got to see something very cool.
First, Thomas and the current line-up (Henry Evans on double-neck bass, Lucas Dawson on pedal steel and guitar, Sasha Valley-Certik on vocals, mellosonic, and flute, and James Acton on drums and autoharp) came out looking like they’d just stepped out of a cryogenic chamber Sergio Leone had lying around Almeria. Second, they flattened the place with epic spaghetti western rock.
Leone is my favorite film maker of all time, and when I learned (before the show) that Thomas and crew had once created their own spaghetti western film and accompanying soundtrack (The Legend of God’s Gun) I knew Spindrift would be high on my “coolest band ever” list.
All of them are excellent musicians, and Classic Soundtracks Volume 1 is a great place to jump on the Spindrift bandwagon if you don’t know where to start. The album begins with a flute solo by the disarmingly beautiful Valley-Certik on “Japexico” and then slides into a slice of weird, hip space rock (“Space Vixens Theme”) that damn well should be in the proposed remake of Barbarella.
“Hellbound” will have you chanting and is dangerous to listen to while driving, as is “Theme from Confusion Range,” but for completely different reasons. While “Hellbound” makes you want to drive like you’re Diabolik escaping from the cops, “Theme from Confusion Range” (with its great groove and coyote howls) will mellow you out to the point where you might get asked by those cops if you’re high even though the only thing you took that day was the fish oil your doctor recommended.
“Shadytown” could be from a crime noir piece or a blaxploitation film. “When I Was Free” is so beautiful (with crisp guitar work from Thomas, a simple yet perfect beat by Acton, and excellent pedal steel playing by Dawson) that I keep expecting Jason Robard’s Cheyenne from Once Upon a Time in the West to tap me on the shoulder. “Theme from Ghost Patrol” should be played at the beginning of every late night TV monster movie marathon. “Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace” belongs in a forgotten Amicus Studios horror anthology film. “Theme from Amboy” could be from a Euro-Western, a Euro-space opera, or a mix of both (which would be awesome). “Roundup” is so blood-pumping that if you don’t have cattle or horses to wrangle, you will pull down the clothesline in your backyard to lasso the paperboy as he rides by (It’s also great during their live set.). “Showdown” will be the song you blast on your iPod before you walk into that “I’m finally telling the boss off.” meeting, and if Classic Soundtracks Volume 1 had been released in 1961, Sergio Corbucci would’ve hired Spindrift to score every one of his films based on “Theme from Drifter’s Pass” alone.
The album perfectly ends with “Red Reflection” – a song ideal for heading off into the sunset, either on your trusty four-legged mustang or in a Mustang Fastback with the top down.
Spindrift got eight different directors to make videos, film clips, and film trailers (which premiered on IFC) based on the tunes from this album. You can see them and pick up Classic Soundtracks Volume 1 (as well as their other great records) at spindriftwest.com.
Nik Havert is a writer, DJ, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer.
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