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Waco Brothers are "Going Down in History"

By Brian Baker, March 2016

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The Wacos more than made up for the delay by cranking out "Going Down in History" in record time. They also altered their standard songwriting procedure of Langford and Schlabowske bringing largely finished songs to the group. This time, the songwriters presented the band with bits of music and lyrics, and together, they crafted completed songs at a Chicago studio.

"It's the first album where a whole lot of the final product came from spontaneous creating in the studio," says Schlabowske. "Nobody really had much familiarity with the songs until we were trying to bash out things out, and we did that very quickly. Everybody came up with great parts on the fly. I think that feeling of spontaneity is more what the band has always been about live."

The songs themselves run the gamut of the Wacos' standard fare, from deeply personal to expansively aware. The division of that particular labor remains steadfast.

"Dean writes more personal songs, and mine are more apocalyptic but they work together," says Langford. "He kind of wears his heart on his sleeve on this album."

Coming on the heels of "Cabaret Showtime," it's no surprise to see a couple of covers in the "History" set list. Langford takes the lead on Jon Dee Graham's "Orphan Song" - he had done shows with Graham and thought it sounded like a Wacos Brothers tune - and Schlabowske does an emotional take on the Small Faces' "All or Nothing."

"I don't know what made me think it would be appropriate for the Waco Brothers because genre-wise, I don't think it matches," says Schlabowske. "It's a great song, and it's not easy to try and be Steve Marriott, I'll tell you. I was talking to (the late Ian) McLagan, and Joe, our drummer, was there and he said, 'We've been covering 'All or Nothing.' And Ian was like, 'Do you do it in D?' And I said, 'Yeah, we do it in D.' And Ian was like, 'High, isn't it?' I hit the absolute last note of my range in that song."

As the Waco Brothers approach their silver anniversary, they're not any closer to taking this venture any more seriously than they did when it began. Perhaps that's why they're still chugging along in the new millennium.

"Jon and I often refer to the Waco Brothers like an older gentlemen's club where we occasionally take excursions together," says Schlabowske with a laugh. "If it wasn't music, we'd be on fishing trips or something."

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