In 1998, Thomas, Joe Baluta, and Zachary Hansen relocated to Los Angeles. While Thomas also began to develop a career in acting, the band's lineup began to expand to include Bobby Bones (Psychic TV), Dave Koenig, Frankie "Teardrop" Emerson and Rob Campanella (of the Brian Jonestown Massacre), and Jason "Plucky" Anchondo (the Warlocks). But it wasn't stable. As such, their sound began to evolve as well to reflect their collective interest (and Thomas' obsession) with the imagined sounds of the frontier West as depicted in the spaghetti Westerns of directors such as the three Sergios -- Leone, Corbucci, and Sollima -- as well as Ferdinando Baldi, Tonino Valeri, and Enzo G. Castellari. Spindrift performed but didn't record until 2002, when they cut The Legend of God's Gun.
In 2005, Thomas and filmmaker Mike Bruce began production on an independent feature film of the same name, inspired by spaghetti Westerns and the classic soundtracks of their composers such as Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai, Stelvio Cipriani, and Nico Fidenco. The performing unit at this time included Thomas on guitar and vocals; Koenig on rhythm guitar and harmonica; Julie Patterson on vocals, lap steel, and organ; Henry Evans on double-neck bass and baritone guitar; and Anchondo on drums. After the film's eventual completion, the soundtrack was updated and re-released in 2007 with additional tracks by Gram Rabbit and Bruce's band, the Low-Flying Owls. In 2008, Spindrift delivered the soundtrack to the Quentin Tarantino production Hell Ride and their own album West.
In 2009, Tee Pee re-released the Legend of God's Gun soundtrack again. It was followed by a tour, after which only Thomas and Evans remained in Spindrift. The lineup underwent several changes, even as the group remained active, contributing material to Vice's documentary series and HBO's Eastbound and Down, and scoring a restored version of the film Tecumseh's Curse by director J.X. Williams.
In 2011, the compilation Classic Soundtracks, Vol. 1 appeared from Xemu Records. The lineup solidified with James Acton joining the band on drums and Michelle Vidal on vocals, keyboards, and percussion. In 2012, Spindrift commenced their five-week Ghost Town Tour through 20 deserted American locales, where they played not only their own music but also songs from the classic cowboy songbook. Film director Burke Roberts and a crew were hired to film the proceedings. In the fall of 2013, Spindrift released the album Ghost of the West, featuring studio versions of the music performed for the film. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi