We’ve all got those bands. Bands that not only have a way of writing songs that strike us right in our respective emotional cores, but have a fundamental way in altering how we listen to music. Hell, if you’ve been actively listening to music long enough (and let’s be honest, if you’re reading a story about a band like Lucero on a site like Dying Scene, you’re probably an active music listener), you’ve undoubtedly got a metric ton of those bands. The band that first made you fall for punk rock. The band that first broke you from your childhood love of manufactured pop music. The band whose style you copied and adopted as your own. The band that wrote songs that made you realize that music could be intense and personal and still make you laugh your ass off. The band that first got you to care about politics/social causes or made you break out the thesaurus/dictionary/Google search bar. The band that first wrote songs that made you understand…like, really understand…pain and loss and heartache.
Which brings us to Lucero. The genre-bending Memphis band just rounded the corner on fifteen years since the launch of their self-titled debut full-length. Released May 22, 2001 (MadJack Records), Lucero marked the result of three years of cutting their collective teeth as songwriters and, perhaps most notably, one of the hardest-drinking, hardest-working bands in the game. The album dropped with relatively little fanfare, at least by today’s standards; looking back, there was never really a clear moment when the band burst on the national stage or took the scene by comparative storm. What the album’s release did do, however, was put an official time and date stamp on the beginning of what would become a slow build of a career rooted in earnestness and authenticity that would find them a home in myriad genres. Or, perhaps more accurately, eschewing labels and creating their very own genre.
To honor the occasion, Dying Scene decided to revisit Lucero’s self-titled debut album. From there, the project took off, thus the reason this particular installment is labelled “Part I.” You see, over the course of the last decade-and-a-half, Lucero the band has taken on a level of importance that long since eclipsed the relative importance of Lucero, the album. So what happened as this story developed was a shift in ideas, from a story celebrating Lucero as an album, to a story celebrating Lucero as a band and all of the things that that entails; their continually evolving sound, their devoutly loyal fanbase, their rightful place at the flash point of some rather sizable changes in the punk rock landscape. To do Lucero justice, it’s certainly not enough to hear the long-winded ravings of a Dying Scene editor and Lucero fanboy (don’t you worry, though, there will still be plenty of that in the space below). Throughout the process, however, we called on some singer/songwriter friends to have them chime in on what sets Lucero, the band and the album, apart from the rest of the field. So grab a whiskey and head below to view our revisit of Lucero (with a little help from Dave Hause and Sal Medrano), and stay tuned later in the week for a longer, entertaining piece on the band at large!