Hunt Sales is best known for his work with others — including membership in the David Bowie-fronted Tin Machine and playing drums for Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop, Bootsy Collins, Lowell Fulson and the band Paris. Now he’s stepping out front with a solo album, Get Your Shit Together, due out Jan. 25 with a lead single “One Day,” whose video is premiering exclusively below, out now.
“This is where opportunity and preparation meet,” says Sales, who resides in Austin, and recorded the album in Memphis for Fat Possum’s Big Legal Mess imprint. “All these years I’ve been either producing people or flying around doing sessions, under the radar. But I’ve had my own band in one way or another for years here in Austin. I write and arrange and play every instrument, so when this opportunity came, I was prepared.”
Get Your Shit Together is the result of a number of fortuitous circumstances for Sales. Old friend Will Sexton invited Sales to visit him in Memphis — and then booked a gig for him. He also introduced him to Fat Possum’s Bruce Watson, whose interest in recording a Sales single blossomed into a full-album project when he heard Sales’ collection of material. “Basically Bruce understands what I’m about,” Sales says. “So I went back and recorded even more stuff. I’ve got tons of records in the can, but I wrote all new songs because I want to keep it fresh. That’s what I do; I’m interested in what I’m doing now. So I write all new stuff for this record.”
Get Your Shit Together‘s title makes reference to Sales’ life in recent years, including overcoming a heroin addiction and other substance abuses. “I had a problem — the problem was me and a lot of dope and I’ve given all that this shit up,” acknowledges Sales, who suffers with Bell’s palsy that forces him to wear sunglasses or a patch over his right eye. “I sing about that shit in one way or another. I’m not preaching, but I don’t do that anymore. It makes life a little less hard, and I’m very blessed.” “One Day,” meanwhile, offers a regretful lament that makes reference to his father (entertainer Soupy Sales) and mother but also offers hope that “one day I’ll worry a little less” and won’t feel “so all alone.”
“That song is about all of us,” Sales explains. “It’s about personal loss and the pain of living — moving on and becoming a better you because, basically, we all are trying to figure out how to live. It’s pretty universal. It’s about, ‘Lemme get my shit together and f***ing be a better person’ — not better than anyone, just better than I’ve been. I’m not saying it’s original, but it’s heartfelt. It’s got some real sentiments in it.”
Sales lost his mother around the same time Bowie died during January of 2016 — which led to regret in his life. “I always thought I’d run into him one day and he’d go, ‘Hunt, that’s really great. You got your shit together,'” Sales says. “I don’t have closure with that. I had heard he wasn’t well, but I thought I’d see him. I’ll deal with it, but I miss him. We were close. Tin Machine was a band; I didn’t work FOR him, I worked WITH him. I could say, ‘Y’know what I like about that idea Dave?’ He’s say ‘What?’ and I’d go, ‘Nothing!’ and he’d laugh ’cause at least I was shooting from the hip and being honest with him. For once he had some people who weren’t kissing his ass. I respected him for how creative he was, but I wasn’t buying some of his shit. I know what the guy’s capable of but he made some shitty records, too, when I thought he was much better than that.”
Sales plans to take his band on tour in the new year to support Get Your Shit Together, and he hopes this is the beginning of a string of solo albums he’ll produce in short order. “Y’know, all I’ve been left with is being grateful in my life, with all I’ve been through,” he says. “I’ve had some great opportunities and worked with some great people — it might sound corny, but it’s how I feel. What I want to do is try to play some music and inspire people. This is one record of many that will be coming out, and I’m back here to f***ing throw down and play some rock n’ roll.”