Eck’s Men boldly issue a warning about a female archenemy in disguise.
The New York City power pop-abilly quintet of Drew Eckmann (vocals), Rick Norman (guitar, backing vocals), Roger Astudillo (bass, backing vocals), Tom Wise (saxophone) and Dennis Vallone (drums, backing vocals) alerts unsuspecting “citizens” to the hidden motives of an evil-hearted woman on their latest fiery single, “The Girl Who Never Was.”
“It’s inspired by someone I know … it’s kind of a mean song,” said Eckmann. “People rub you the wrong way, and you step back and look at their situation … try to see what they’re seeing. Sometimes though, what you see is what’s in the song.”
Eckmann sings, “Watch your back/She’s talking behind it/It’s a sneak attack/But she doesn’t mind it/Ask her why, she’ll tell you because/She wanted to be, but never was.”
“Writing the song took about 15 minutes. I had some alternative verses, but I think the ones I used were the best balance,” Eckmann said. “Recording the song was a lot of fun. We went to Flux Studios and recorded in the same room that had been used by both The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.”
Eck’s Men enlisted producers Jesse Malin and Geoff Sanoff to bring “The Girl Who Never Was” and another eye-opening single, “Conspiracy Theories,” to heroic light. Both tenacious singles serve as the band’s first new material since releasing their rockabilly-infused debut album, Who Knew?!?!?, in 2020.
“We put in two 10-hour days, and then Jesse and Geoff worked on the songs for a bit more after that. Like all of our songs, I come up with the melody, and then the guys put my melody to actual music. I’ve known Jesse for over 15 years, and he’s a good friend. He offered to produce, and I sent him four or five songs. He picked the two that we recorded,” Eckmann said.
“Geoff has worked with Steve Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen, The Smithereerns and others, but we hadn’t met until the first day of recording. Jesse has a great ear for what makes a good song and changed both the beginning and the end of ‘The Girl Who Never Was.’ ‘Conspiracy Theories’ was pretty much left how it was. We’d already been performing both of them in shows.”
Tackling ‘Conspiracy Theories’
While already an Eck’s Men live show staple, the earwormy “Conspiracy Theories” quickly uncovers the absurdities of history’s rumor mill for past and present public figures. Pulsating drums, glistening cymbals, contemplative saxophone, radiant electric guitar, energetic bass and hopeful organ sonically question each eyebrow-raising theory.
Eckmann sings, “Did Lee Harvey Oswald really shoot JFK?/Is JonBenét Ramsey Katy Perry today?/Don’t get vaccinations, they’re certain to kill?/Did you know Adolph Hitler escaped to Brazil?”
“Ya know … people put their own spin on absolutely everything. The genesis of the song is probably from three or four years ago, so the line about ‘vaccinations’ just happened to be pertinent today. I didn’t plan on it vis-à-vis COVID,” he said. “Originally, I was making up conspiracy theories myself, but then realized that the ones that were actually circulating were nuttier than anything I could make up.”
Those outlandish storylines allowed “Conspiracy Theories” to instantly become an addictive new reggae-inspired track for Eckmann, who liked the way the title flowed.
“I had envisioned it as a much slower, spookier song, but we could never get the melody right. I thought it would sound something like Mink DeVille’s ‘Slow Drain,’ but it never really sounded right … or good,” he said. “Then, one day I was singing the song to myself at different speeds, and I came up with the melody that we eventually used.”
The stuck-in-your-head melodies and lyrics of Eck’s Men’s “Conspiracy Theories” and “The Girl Who Never Was” also resonate with satellite radio audiences on SiriusXM. Bill Kelly’s “Black Hole Bandstand” has been spinning “Conspiracy Theories” while Little Steven’s “Underground Garage” will start playing “The Girl Who Never Was” on May 7.
“Bill has been a big supporter of the band, as have a lot of the DJs on Underground Garage. Seven different Underground Garage DJs played songs from our debut album,” Eckmann said. “Bill’s show is on in prime time on Saturday night, so that gives us a good chance for a larger audience to hear the songs.”
With two new singles under their belt, Eck’s Men continues to write and record new material and anticipates playing full-band shows next month in the New York City area.
“We’ve got about 20 songs that we’re waiting to record. I’d love to do that late this spring. Yes, we’ll release a few more singles, and then maybe an EP collection of those, before we move on to the next songs,” Eckmann said.
“We’re working with Kris Rogers on our next stuff in Maine. Kris did some nice work on a few songs we recorded before we did the first album. A few of the songs we have are real rockers, so Kris seems like the guy.”