After a relentless 2009 in which the band released their self-titled debut and a live album entitled, Live In Tulsa, in addition to touring in support of both, TUMBLEDOWN was ready to get back into the studio to start work on Empty Bottle.
The music of Tumbledown takes that sepia-tinged image of Americana and sends it hurtling into the present, with the help of some punk-inflected riffs and pure rock & roll attitude. All of the album’s songs written on the road, the characters in Herrera’s songs drink to forget; they ask for a reason to stay in town without really expecting to get one; they look at the madness around them and wonder whether it’s them or the rest of the world that’s gone crazy.
“I want to paint those colors that they've been missing but never knew were missing until they heard them on this new record and now life is never the same after that,” Herrera explains. “We have a good time each time we perform and we want our fans to have the same reaction while listening.”
On Empty Bottle’s first single, “Arrested in El Paso Blues”, Herrera accompanied by Jack Parker on guitar and brothers Marshall and Harley Trotland on standup bass and drums, respectively, sings about country and roots music staples – drinking, fighting, gambling, ladies of the night and brushes with the law. From the full-frontal cowpunk attack of the opening cut, “Places In This Town,” where the narrator braves harm to body and soul but still finds strength to forge ahead, to closing track “Not Hung Over,” a classic morning-after-madness tale of a dizzy-headed drinking man’s denial, Empty Bottle offers an image of Americana that’s as true, tragic, tumultuous, and tantalizing.
Under the influence of great American songwriters, countless punk rock shows, pop music and folk musical legends, Mike Herrera's Tumbledown was born. Forged from Herrera’s experiences on tour – miles and miles of landscape, experience, and the lonely open road, Tumbledown encompasses the love and heartbreak that comes with a life spent on the move, away from home in Bremerton, WA. While the world-traveling musician may be most well-known as the dynamic bassist and lead singer of the Left Coast three-piece MxPx, beneath all the tattoos and piercings, the ranting and stage-wrecking, Herrera has long been an acoustic wielding songsmith. His alt/country/pop-punk-a-billy solo project Tumbledown is at the root and on the flipside of all that (distinctive) punk rock.
“It's all about the songs,” Herrera says. “What it sounds like depends on who you are.”
The music carries an old-school country-western swagger, reminiscent of Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, with Herrera strumming a big dreadnaught acoustic over a chugging snare drum and stand-up bass. Guitarist Jack Parker adds to the Americana, with swiftly meandering, mean lead work.
“I don't claim that we're a country band... we're just a band...I just like the fact that it's a different sound,” Herrera says. “Different than a country band, different than a punk rock band, different than a rockabilly band -- we're somewhere there in the ether, somewhere in between it all.”