The Slow Drag (East Nashville, TN)
American Rock ’n Roll
“Music has broken my heart more times than I can remember,” says Austin James, sole member of The Slow Drag, after a deep pull on yet another cigarette. “But I always come back. And this time I’m doing it on my own terms.”
‘American Rock ’n Roll’ is a genre as broad as it is nebulous, which is just where Austin feels comfortable.
“I hate talking about genres,” Austin sneers, rolling his eyes up to the moon. “Look at artists like Beck, Butch Walker, or Green Day. None of them would be as interesting to listen to if they hadn’t grown and changed dramatically over time. You can hear the way they occasionally harken back to the artists they used to be while consistently being who they have become. The music of The Slow Drag is meant to be an audible expression of who I was when I started playing music as a teenager and how that person resonates with who I am today. And just like any other human, I’m full of complexity and cannot be reduced to a single label, which is exactly why every song The Slow Drag puts out is looked at as its own project. Some songs are going to sound better with saxophones and a chorus of ladies, others will sound better with big drums and rusty distortion. As an artist, I want the songs of The Slow Drag to be able to stand on their own, with the lyrical style being the connecting thread, rather than the instrumentation… I don’t want to be part of your road-trip playlist, I want to be that playlist.”
A lust for hedonism and a hunger for transcendence. A celebration of liberated sexuality and the desire for intimacy and connection. A cynical disdain for complacency, and the daydream of finding one’s place in the world. These are thematically woven throughout lyrics sung over musical arrangements reminiscent of classic American genres ranging from motown to punk. “I’m a first-wave Millennial, for better or worse. That means that all my life I’ve heard I can be everything and anything, so that’s what I’m doing. The punk in me doesn’t give a shit what it looks like from the outside. If you like it, great! And if you don't, go listen to something else.”
Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Austin began touring internationally as bass player and co-songwriter for the LA-based pop-rock trio, Everybody Else. During his time with the band, he had the opportunity to open for acts like Beck, Xzibit, Rooney, and The Veronicas, as well as lend his musical skills, on and off-stage, to Billboard charting-artists like Hanson, Ben Lee, and The Summer Set.
You can hear a few of the songs he's co-written with his former bandmate, Carrick Moore Gerety, in the films "Lovelace," "Demoted," and "Grace is Gone," as well as on the small screen in the ABC series, "Jane By Design" and "Back in the Game."
After Everybody Else dissolved, Austin released his first solo EP, entitled “Dance Moves." It’s since been buried deep, deep in the internet. “Where it will STAY," says Austin. “Promise Ring," the first track from that EP, was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, and was featured in USA’s “Complications," while the final track, “So Much Time” won the Pop Category of the Song of the Year contest.