On a Good Night, the Drive-By Truckers are one of American rock’s great live bands — and at times one of its loudest. Acoustic shows are a rare thing, but two of the band’s frontmen, vocalist/guitarists Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, make a pairing appearance at City Winery this Saturday.
As for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who are known to Stones fans as the Glimmer Twins, the pair are jokingly billing themselves as the Dimmer Twins.
“It’s definitely its own experience,” Hood said this week. “Coolie and I have played together for 36 years now until next week and we have all kinds of crazy chemistry. Plus he’s usually hilarious and we egg each other on. I’ve heard it’s almost described as an evening of comedy with songs attached, so we’ll see. We are both in a very good place right now so it should be more fun.”
The Truckers were productive during the shutdown, releasing two albums in 2020. Both discs, “The Unraveling” and “The New OK,” were largely written before COVID, but were hard-hitting sets that looked unabashedly at national polarization. In. They’re now collecting songs for a new album, and Hood says the mood should be a little different.
“While I’ve always considered my band political, I think the last three reflected the time we were in to an extra degree. While I by no means think that bad things are over, in fact I Seems like when we’re all breathing, they’re really going to (mess up) all of us in a year or so. I think the new songs are a little more personal in nature. We’ve all gone through the years a lot. Have gone through bad times and I know some of it has made some impact on myself and everyone I know. Lyrically, the new songs definitely reflect some of that. I hope that too That there’s going to be some fun in all of that too, because of course now more than ever there’s a need for more music, no matter what we’re singing about, we all have a lot of fun together. Hopefully it’s all new Will appear in the album.”
The band has been through several personnel changes, including the departure of future headliner Jason Isbell in 2007, with Hood and Cooley as two constants. The current lineup, which should play Boston next year, is one of the most stable.
“After years of ups and downs and some periodic personnel turmoil, we’ve had a lineup for almost 10 years without anything of the sort. It’s a pretty well oiled musically The Machine is and is very versatile, plus we all get along really great and have a blast whenever we’re together – and now more than ever after a forced hiatus of a year and a half. We’re on our way to recording the next album. Going into the studio next week to start the process and we are stunned.”
Last year, Hood wrote an NPR editorial about his reservations in the band’s name and released the possibility of it changing, but now says the band will remain Drive-By Truckers.
“If I could push a button, I probably would, because I’m not particularly attached to the name, but it would be pointless to change it at this point. Everyone calls us DBT anyway. Never harm our name.” Well, it always made fun of ourselves and our love for old-fashioned country and hip-hop. God knows we tried to fight the good fight as far as we stand on most issues of Black Lives Matter and religiosity I’ve spent decades.”
The band’s history with Boston goes back to their early days, when they played small club shows.
“Can’t remember the name of the venue, but people basically had to pass through our platform, which seemed to be floor level, to get to the bathroom. It was our first visit, November 1997, and we all had some kind of stomach flu. Big fun, for sure. “