The Rides: Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd 'Can't Get Enough' of the Blues
Exclusive lyric video premiere: Cover of "Search and Destroy" by The Stooges
The first album and tour by the new "supergroup" The Rides -- Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Electric Flag keyboardist Barry Goldberg -- are still a few weeks away, but the trio is already hatching plans for a follow-up.
Stills tells Billboard that often during the making of the Jerry Harrison-produced "Can't Get Enough," which comes out Aug. 27, the group "figured that, 'Well, this'll be the first album, so we'll do it like that.' I'm sure we'll have a different method (the next) time because this (album) is what worked this time and now we're just gonna bear down and really have an idea of what we want to do."
"Can't Get Enough" mixes originals with covers of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," Iggy & the Stooges' "Search and Destroy" (Watch the Lyric Video, Above) and songs by Elmore James and Muddy Waters as well as "Word Game," a song Stills says he first wrote during the early 70s, but for the next album Stills predicts that "we're going to keep writing until we've got enough for a whole album of original material. There were some songs that we didn't quite have time to polish, but the writing team of me and Barry and Kenny just seemed to fall together. The trick is not to try too hard, don't set out to write the great American epic or the next Bruce Springsteen anthem or something, just let it be the song that it was born to be."
Shepherd says that he expects The Rides could be back in the studio as soon as December to work on the group's sophomore effort.
"We're all very committed to this band, and we're already looking to the next record," he says. "We went to Stephen's house awhile ago and we all brought stuff to the table, but Stephen already had a song that he was halfway through writing. And it was interesting because our band is supposed to be somewhat of a blues band, but the song sounds like vintage Crosby, Stills & Nash, so I'm kind of interested to see the direction that our next album will take, though I do believe that it will pretty much stay firmly routed in the blues because that's what this band ultimately is."
Stills and Shepherd have known each other since Stills played shows for Shepherd's father in Shreveport, La. but bonded as players while performing a party Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay threw before Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Stills and Goldberg were already working together when Stills' manager Elliott Roberts relayed music industry executive Bill Bentley's suggestion to bring Shepherd into the fold as a kind of modern version of the 1968 "Super Session" project Stills was part of.
"It was very fast," Stills says of the recording. "We really wanted to go by the old rules and go in and do an album in a week. We worked civilized hours, from, like, noon 'til about eight or nine, and we didn't drive ourselves crazy or destroy our families. We just came out flying and got everything done in one or two takes."
The Rides hit the road for a 17-date U.S. tour on Aug. 28-29 at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, and Stills says he's champing at the bit to get a little louder after spending the summer in Europe with David Crosby and Graham Nash.
"I love playing with those guys, but their new songs are real jazzy and hard to learn and have a lot of stump-the-band Crosby tricks in them," Stills says with a laugh. "And ours, the Rides', are pretty straightforward, so I can't wait to get into rehearsing. It's going to be a real shot in the arm."
Stills and Shepherd have plenty to keep them occupied outside of The Rides as well. CSN is eyeballing a potential new album, and Stills is continuing to work on his memoir, which will follow Nash's "Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life" which publishes in September. "I'm still at that point where I'm just writing vignettes and stories, but I'm looking for a thread that's going to make this worthwhile, not just a summation of a ghost writer's interview," Stills reports. "Too many of them are like that. Quite frankly, I'd rather just make shit up and write a novel, but nobody wants that. If I do good on this one, then maybe they'll let me write a novel."
Shepherd and his band, meanwhile, recorded an album of blues covers -- mostly obscure and lesser-known songs, he says -- with guests such as Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh and Robert Randolph, which he plans to release during the first quarter of 2014.
"It doesn't really sound like a covers album because I've dug real deep into a lot of people's catalogs and tried to find songs that haven't been done a million times," Shepherd says. "We tried to make it all our own but pay homage to the originals, too."
Pre-order The Rides' "Can't Get Enough" here.