Lost Highway will be playing at the FCC Mansion this Saturday, 26 April. Recently band member Tommy Nick was interviewed by FCC about the soul of the band and the upcoming show. Check out the event details here.
Talk a little about the history of the band. How and why did it form back in 2008? Since then, where has the band gone? Have the shows always taken place in Cambodia?
I met Kenny Smith in Sihanoukville back in 2008.We were both playing mainly acoustic music until I found some second hand drums, and we were later joined by American guitarist, Larry Lowinger. It was then that we realized that electric was the way to go. The energy was there. We first named the band “Route 66” and it gradually evolved into “Lost Highway.”
What are some of the major influences for the music Lost Highway plays?
The band draws its inspiration from a certain period of American music that includes Chicago Blues from the 50’s & 60’s which would include Chuck Berry and Elvis and other greats. And we are heavily influenced by the 60’s & 70’s Psychedelic Blues Rock that began with the British Invasion, bands like The Beatles & Rolling Stones. The late 60’s brought Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale, Grateful Dead, the list goes on. We play a lot of Classic Rock from this era. That’s mainly what we do. We don’t stray too far from the blues, though, so you’ll be hearing some Texas Blues, like Stevie Ray Vaughn and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, on this show, as well as Blues legends from Chicago, like B.B. King and Little Walter and Muddy Waters. But we also like to play snappy old Rock & Roll numbers. Tunes like “Wooly Bully” and “Tulsa Time”, and “Mustang Sally” are fun to play.
How did you get involved in the Mansion? Have you played it before? What are you most excited about?
We played at the old FCC venue back in 2010, when it was up on the roof. I’m looking forward to the Mansion because it’s always cool to try out a new room.
And what are your thoughts on music in Phnom Penh and Cambodia in general?
Wow. It’s come a long way since when we first began. There were only a few of us doing it back then, some solo artists as well as Filipino groups. Occasionally, some traveling musicians. We were Pioneers of sorts. But now there all these new bands springing up like crazy and all these new clubs. The only new trend I dislike is that some bars have decided to charge a door fee. Music has always been free of charge since I’ve been coming to Cambodia, all the way back in 2002. It changes the Spirit of the music somehow when there is a door charge. Let’s hope the trend doesn’t catch on and music remains free.
What else can we look forward to with Lost Highway (or your other projects) in 2014?
I’ve been working pretty full on with my other band in Siem Reap, “The Koolers.” We do some blues but more Soul, Funk, & Reggae. Ken lives in Phnom Penh so we don’t play Lost Highway gigs very often anymore, so this should be a special performance. Larry went back to U.S. last month after his yearly holiday, so we’ll have one of our former bass men, Dave Z, joining us for this show. And we have a new guy on board, Gary Eyles, on guitar & vocals. I’m planning to record some of my original songs in the studio soon. I also play spot gigs with a jazz band in a few hotels down in Siem Reap. I’d like to tour in the future with at least one hot band.
The other guys have their own projects going on. The Koolers have a Rock & Roll show coming up in May with a Filipino lady singer. I also play some Khmer Rock music with Cambodian Ladies singing the 60’s Khmer music. And I also have a Latin Jazz project. I like to mix it up and play with a lot of different people in various styles. I’m not just a drummer.
But, somehow, I keep finding myself back on the road, with Lost Highway, down at the Crossroads, as close as I can possibly get to that magic sweet spot, where the rubber meets the road.