I had the opportunity to get an early copy of Ship Of Fools, the debut album by American Speedway. These guys rock! I was so impressed that I pestered my good friend Clint from MVD, and he managed to get me an interview with Michael Thursby, frontman, Guitarist, and lead (loud) Vocalist. American Speedway are most certainly a band on the way to the top, they are getting extensive airplay on satellite radio, and I am sure it is only a matter of time before we start to hear them on the more progressive regular radio stations.

Hi there, and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Maybe you can tell us a little about American Speedway and how it got started?

Well I (Michael Thursby) was actually the last member to actually join the band, so I can give you the story of that at least. I’ve known Bill and Johnny for about 10 or so years and was in a band with them when I was about 18. After that the band kinda fell to the way side, I still saw them around once in a while. Then one day Bill was at a mutual friends hanging out and I met up with him and he told me about what he had going on. I was into it and asked if they had any room for a rhythm guitar player and that’s about the end of that story.

I know that you are Philadelphia based, but is everyone from Philly?

Na, actually none of us live in Philly proper, but it’s a lot easier to say “Philly” than it is “Royersford, Pottstown and Limerik”.

How did you come up with the name American Speedway?

Because “Motorhead” was already taken. But seriously, I wasn’t around when it was named, my guess is something about fast cars and shit.

The music industry is a tough one, just being a great band does not ensure success. Many great bands are forever stuck playing local gigs, and get no national recognition, never mind radio play. What makes you guys different?

I think that it has to do with the whole team that we have behind us. Be it Clint our PR guy, Mike Demonte or Jon Lanman, we just have a great group of dudes that are more supportive than anyone could ask for. Also, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we have been around the block quite a few times with other bands, so we kinda know what’s lurking around every corner.

Ship of Fools is quite the album. Some bands are studio bands and some bands are live bands, I think you belong in the latter category. Am I right?

I think the rest of the fellas would agree with you but I would say that we certainly don’t fall apart in the recorded realm. That being said, there is nothing that really comes close to the live audience, the beer spiting and the general “ballyhoo” of playing out.

Was it hard transitioning into the studio to record Ship of Fools?

Again, I can only answer for myself here but I would say that it wasn’t hard at all. I think as far as writing the album came together in about 3-4 months. As far as the sessions went, being that yours truly engineered a majority of it, there wasn’t much tension at all. No one telling us we couldn’t drink a copious amount of beer or take 30 smoke breaks an hour. However, though there was no rush for recording I would say that the project was probably completed in about 2 to 3 weeks time give or take.

You seem to be making quite the debut on Sirius radio, top 40 played band on Sirius 29. How important is this kind of promotion?

Yeah, we seem to be killing it on that channel, I believe we were recently the 5th most played song on it. The ball seems to be gaining momentum and each week we are getting added to something new so I think it definitely has caught the eye of a lot of people.

Who does most of the writing, or is it a combined effort?

The writing usually happens by John, Bill or I coming up with a riff, jamming on it for a bit, Callian working out drums and other rhythm stuff and then lastly me coming up with some bullshit words about boats, trains, cars, drinking, more boats or sharks.

In my review I refer to you as classic punk, is this how you see yourselves? And who are your musical influences, and favorite artists?

We usually just stick with the “rock and roll” tag but the punk thing is definitely there, that’s what we grew up with so its kind of ingrained in us. As far as influences go, I don’t want to speak for the other dudes but I can safely say there’s a lot of Motorhead, Supersuckers and Speeddealer in there. For me personally I constantly have the Murder City Devils and The Bronx in heavy rotation.

What is next for ‘American Speedway’?

A shit ton more shows and starting on album number 2 pretty soon.

I noticed that you have a web site, a myspace page, and you offer samples of your music. In my eyes this is the way of the future. How important is the internet to you?

Jesus, I don’t think we would ever be doing this interview if it wasn’t for Al Gore’s internet.

What else should we know about American Speedway?

Hmmmm, we’re loud as hell, fast as shit, and watch out for the beer spray.

Thanks guys, I really appreciate your help, and good luck in the future.

Simon Barrett


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