Brian Setzer Sings Cinematic On 'Lonely Avenue'
Brian Setzer's new album, "Songs From Lonely Avenue," was inspired by film noir themes from the '40s and '50s. Now he'd love to see someone make a movie based on the record.
"I'd love Quentin Tarantino to take a crack at it," Setzer tells Billboard.com, noting that the album's 13 songs are "a loose storyline to a movie. It is thought-out, though. To me it could all be part of a movie."
To ensure that "Songs From Lonely Avenue" had an authentic cinematic quality, Setzer reached out to Frank Comstock, the 87-year-old arranger who worked with Judy Garland, Stan Kenton, Benny Carter and many others and also wrote the theme songs for "Dragnet," "Adam 12" and "Rocky & Bullwinkle."
"Comstock is just a hoot," Setzer reports. "He's the last one of his generation. He's a genius, up there with Nelson Riddle and all the great arrangers of his day. But he always wants to do it his way, too. We'll fight about chords. 'That chord's wrong!' 'Well, Frank, why is it wrong?' "It just is. It doesn't make sense!' So we have our musical thing, but no one I've met can write arrangements like him. He writes around the lyrics and never steps on my singing, but the words speak through the instrument. It gives you chills."
While Setzer waits for Hollywood to come knocking for "...Lonely Avenue," he's gearing up with his Orchestra for their annual Christmas Rocks! Extravaganza Tour, which kicks off Nov. 20 in Detroit. The show will, of course, draw from his "Christmas Rocks!" album -- which is packaged with a DVD of a 2006 concert for PBS as "The Ultimate Christmas Collection" -- but Setzer says he'll be playing plenty of "...Lonely Avenue" and other non-Yule selections from his catalog.
"I didn't go out last year, so I'm really looking forward to playing this Christmas," says Setzer. "The Christmas tour now is pretty much whatever I want to do. I still do a lot of the Christmas songs, but I want to play some of the '...Lonely Avenue' stuff, Stray Cats stuff, just pick the songs I want to do now. People don't seem to mind; they just want to hear the songs."
Setzer doesn't have anything planned yet for 2010, and he's not ruling out another run of Stray Cats shows. "Y'know, I really miss the guys," he says. "I really hold that (band) dear, more now than I ever used to. I would like to play with them again. I don't know about running around places like Europe or Australia anymore, but I will play with those guys again, I don't care if it's the corner bar."