Punk is alive and well, and American Speedway are the living proof. Punk as a genre was born out of frustration at the established rock bands that in the late 70’s had distanced themselves from the fans. Punk was here and now, loud, often discordant, and very much in your face. This was a game that anyone could play in. Musical ability came a distant second to enthusiasm.

Three decades later the genre is still going strong, but we are seeing a new breed of punk. This is a generation of players that have great musical abilities, and no band sums this up better than American Speedway. Yes they have the raw enthusiasm, but they couple it with some great musical ability.

My guest this week on The Week In Reviews was Michael Thursby, front man for American Speedway.

Michael is an entertaining guy, and certainly not what I was expecting. When I listened to their latest CD Ship Of Fools, I had a mental image of mayhem and bloody carnage. What I found in talking to Michael though was a very different story. While I am sure that he can be hell on wheels while on the stage, he also has a very clear focus about the music business and how to take American Speedway to the next level.

What I found interesting in talking with Michael is his business sense. The old music model didn’t work, bands rebelled against the restrictive practices that labels used in the 70’s and 80’s, the upsurge of Indy labels, self publishing and the Internet has changed all that. The new media has in some ways leveled the playing field for the smaller band, but it comes at a cost. American Speedway have found the happy medium, independence from control, but a support team that guides them.

PR companies are often viewed with suspicion, costing hard earned dollars, but not delivering the goods. It is a rare event indeed that any artist gives credit to their PR people, but Michael certainly does. Kudos to Clint Weiler for doing such a great job for this band.

You can listen to this interesting interview with Michael Thursby here.

Simon Barrett


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