Booze Bombs return to Crash Music with new CD
FARMINGTON – Though she serves as the brassy, strutting lead singer for a German rockabilly band, Annie Leopardo never feels far from her Italian roots.
“Italian girls seem always to be shy, first, until their fire comes out,” she wrote in an email from Germany last week as her band, the Booze Bombs, prepared to pay a return visit to Crash Music in Aztec this week. “And that's what is happening every time when I am on stage. People always tell me that it is my Italian spirit they can feel.”
While her Italian and German credentials may not at first seem to be the perfect match for a singer asked to front a band that performs a decidedly American form of music, Leopardo makes sure nothing gets lost in translation. She grew up on a steady diet of Wanda Jackson, Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline and Janis Martin records, and no doubt has a much deeper understanding of and appreciation for the genre than most of the Americans who have caught her act during the Booze Bombs’ frequent tours of the Southwest over the past several years.
Leopardo is an authentic greaser and proud of it. And lest anyone think she has trouble holding her own as she travels around the world with three male bandmates, well, no one should doubt her ability to handle that aspect of the music lifestyle, either. Leopardo said she loves being the only female in the group and is very comfortable with her fellow Booze Bombs.
“All three are excellent musicians and good guys,” she wrote. “I love them.”
The group was founded 10 years ago by guitarist Stephan McBread, who recruited Leopardo shortly thereafter. They’ve stuck together through thick and thin.
“You know, it is not easy to be together in one band for such a long time and having 80 shows a year,” Leopardo wrote. “Sometimes, you can get problems with the family or your work. But we have (had) a fixed lineup for almost four years now.”
The Booze Bombs have arrived at a simple formula over that time. McBread composes the tunes, and Leopardo writes the lyrics.
“It is a perfect collaboration,” she wrote.
The band has cranked out five releases over the past decade while touring extensively through the United States, Australia and Europe, where it is a favorite on the summer festival circuit. The group will be showcasing a variety of new material during its Aztec show and throughout the summer, as its new CD, “Ice Cold Whiskey,” is due out in the next few days.
Leopardo said the 14-song collection is made up of 10 originals and four covers, and was recorded in October and November at McBread’s vintage studio, Black Shack Recordings, in the band’s hometown of Calw in the Black Forest in south Germany.
“So for a couple of days, the studio became our home to record 14 songs,” she wrote. “Recording an album is always a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.”
The Booze Bombs shook up their usual sound on the disc by bringing in a harp player, a piano player and an organ player, Leopardo said, as well as two guest male vocalists who performed duets with her.
“I love these two songs, and I love the voices from the guest singers,” she wrote. “They are both front singers in also popular rockabilly bands in Germany called Johnny Trouble and Marc & The Wild Ones.”
The disc will serve as the band’s sixth release in 10 years, which represents a brisk pace. Leopardo said that kind of workload comes with the business.
“Since we started with the Booze Bombs, we never stopped publishing every two years a new CD or a vinyl (recording),” she wrote. “You have to be permanently … present in the music scene. Otherwise, you will be forgotten. Over the last 10 years, we created our own sound and style — wild rockin’ with a shot of dirty boppin’ blues.”
The group is touring throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California in support of “Ice Cold Whiskey” through February before heading back to Calw in March for a CD release party.
Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.
If you go
What: The Booze Bombs concert
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2
Where: Crash Music at the Aztec Theater, 104 N. Main Ave. in Aztec
Admission: $15 at crashmusic.com, by phone at 505-427-6748 or at the door
For more information: Visit reverbnation.com/boozebombs