Exclusive Video: Bachman-Turner Overdrive Vet Randy Bachman Reinvents His Sound With New Single 'The Edge'

Randy Bachman
Courtesy of Linus Entertainment

Randy Bachman

If "The Edge," the opening track of Randy Bachman's new solo album Heavy Blues, sounds reminiscent of The Who, and particularly "Won't Get Fooled Again," it's kind of by design -- thanks, Bachman says, to his rhythm section.

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Both drummer Dale Anne Brendon and bassist Anna Ruddick come straight out of the Who school of playing, Bachman tells Billboard. "I went to see the new Tommy at Stratford a year ago this July, and Pete Townshend was there," the Canadian guitarist recalls. "And we're sitting together with Des McManus, who produced it, and Pete leans over to me and says, 'The drummer sounds like fuckin' Keith Moon! I can't believe it.' And I look in the program and see the drummer is a woman. And Pete says, 'It can't be. No bird can play like that.' So after Tommy's over we go backstage and she tells us she listened to Tommy and wrote out all her drum charts. And Pete was just amazed."

Bachman then saw Ruddick playing with Ladies of the Canyon at the 2014 Juno Awards and liked what he heard, "and she shows up to our first rehearsal -- we only had one -- in a John Entwistle T-shirt. I said 'Where'd you get that?' She said, 'Well, I collect old T-shirts and John Entwistle is my favorite bass player.' So I've got Keith Moon on drums, somebody who's an Entwistle disciple on bass, and I go, 'Here's a song' and I play 'The Edge' and we do it in one take and it's just bloody amazing. It was just so much fun to show up and do what we do best, which is jam and play off each other."

Watch the video for "The Edge," which Billboard is exclusively premiering below.

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The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive veteran sounds amazed by his fortune with Heavy Blues, period. It was inspired by an offer from Geoff Kulawick of True North Records, who told Bachman, "If you want to do an album, think of something new." And good he got the same advice from good pal and fellow Canadian Neil Young, who guests on Heavy Blues along with Peter FramptonJoe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph and, posthumously, Jeff Healey. "Neil said, 'Yeah, totally re-invent yourself. Do something new,' " Bachman says. "So I get this female rhythm section that plays like they do, and it's just flippin' amazing, kind of like Led Zeppelin and Cream at times. It gives me such a platform to write my songs and sing my songs over and play guitar. It's amazing."

Bachman and company recorded Heavy Blues with Kevin Shirley in just five days, owing to the producer's tight schedule. "Geoff comes in on the fifth day, on a Friday, and we're playing ('The Edge') back and he sits down and goes, 'Unbelievable! Where's the acid? It feels like 1968-69. I haven't heard this stuff on the radio since the late '60s. They don't play music like this anymore.' 

Bachman plans to tour with Brendan and Ruddick, and he's excited by a pre-release reception that he says "is like I felt with the Guess Who and BTO, and I feel it again and it's been a long time since I've had that feeling or reception to anything I've done." And the musician is so excited about it he's already planning another album in the same mode, with another crew of guest soloists who couldn't make it this time around. "Billy Gibbons couldn't be on this one 'cause he was touring, so he's lined up for the next one," Bachman reports. "I'm going to ask Robin Trower, too, and Lenny Kravitz." Bachman is also speaking with the late Rory Gallagher's brother about securing a track he can build a new song around, much like he did with Healey for Heavy Blues.

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"There's a list of great ones who want to be on the next album already, so it looks like a two-shot deal for me," Bachman says. "Y'know, I don't expect to get any airplay or anything with this. We're just having a lot of fun. That's what we did it for -- the love of the music and the fun we had playing with each other. This album's just a little idea that took on a life of its own."


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