You never know what to expect when you see a Lucero show. The band may perform without incident or the night could end in a complete drunken stupor. Either way, the music will always come from the heart.
Lead singer Ben Nichols has gotten used to getting up onstage and making a fool of himself. The band’s impassioned shows certainly energize the crowd.
“We’re not afraid of screwing up; it has become something we do. But in the end our music carries us through. It gives a reason for our existence,” said Nichols.
The common denominator among Lucero fans: these people like to drink. Fans will often throw beer and buy shots for the band. This core group has become like family to the band and Lucero credits that support for their growing popularity.
“In each town we visit we manage to grab that group of hardcore alcoholics,” Nichols said. “Our music seems to spread out from there.”
This Memphis band was formed eight years ago by Nichols and guitarist Brian Veneable. They later stumbled upon bassist John Stubblefield, another local musician, and found drummer Roy Berry in a coffee shop.
“We have progressed through the years but it has been more of a meandering path,” Nichols said. “Every record keeps becoming more and more who we are.”
Nichols feels like the band has worked so hard toward a common goal that they’ve become more like brothers united with an “us against them” mentality.
“We started this band eight years ago — man that makes us sound old and slow,” Nichols said, chuckling. “But after you spend 200 days a year touring in a small van with the same people for four years, you form a bond that some people can’t even begin to comprehend.”
Trying to classify Lucero is tough. Some might label the band alt-country, others indie rock. As far as the band is concerned, this is their take on American rock ‘n’ roll.
On their newest album, “Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers,” the band continues to define its sound.
“This is the first album where the songs that I hear in my head have actually come out exactly right, and that is extremely rare,” said Nichols.
Rick Steff adds keyboard to many of the new tracks, distinguishing them from the band’s previous material. But Lucero doesn’t lose sight of their roots. Songs like “I Can Get Us Out Of Here Tonight” and “San Francisco” show Lucero can still rock. The band also shows its softer side with “She Wakes When She Dreams” and “Nineteen Seventy Nine.”
The album will be released on Sept. 26 but is available for pre-order on the bands Web site, http://www.luceromusic.com/. A tour begins in late September.