San Francisco’s favorite rock ‘n roll country (“cowpunk”) boys, Trainwreck Riders, provide a breath of front porch, hyperactive country air into an often indie-rock/electro/hip-hop dominated city. Based on their sound (often compared to Meat Puppets and Uncle Tupelo), you might assume that the TR lads are not from around here. Au contraire! Singer Pete Frauenfelder grew up in Bernal Heights while brothers Steve (drums) and Andrew Kerwin (guitar) grew up in the Richmond district. Together as teenagers in a San Francisco basement almost ten years ago, a band was born.
Putting their own twist on traditional country, the boys stray from the subdued honky-tonk, and opt for a more energetic, dynamic approach. While there are rockabilly fiddles and lap-steel riffs , their songs are also full of hard-playing drums and guitar. Citing Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr. and CCR as some of their influences, the band also credits the Kerwin brothers’ dad for their sound. It was his collection of “old timey music” and fiddle playing that brought the country to these city boys.
Having just released The Perch (Alive Records), the follow-up to their 2006 debut Lonely Road Revival, Trainwreck Riders have been on tour since summer. Never known to not disappoint when it comes to live shows, they’re touring warriors… good news for their cult following. Personal favorites off The Perch include “Chug Along,” which sounds like a hybrid of Modest Mouse and Band of Horses. “Safety of a Back” (listen below) is a great example of the band’s ability to ebb and flow their sound from fast and slow energy. Reflective of the TR boys’ backgrounds, their songs are a perfect blend of laidback alt-country and fast-paced city. - JM / Plastic Milk