Buffalo Killers: Let It Ride

We are living what we do. We are not in it for money; we are in it because we want to say something. We want to do what we love. There is no other ambition I have in life.

-Zach Gabbard

Photo of Buffalo Killers by John Curley

The Let It Ride Sessions

Buffalo Killers by EvilWren
"We recorded it in two weekend sessions with Dan Auerbach. We were focused but it was a very relaxed situation," says Zach, while sprawled across his bed in Cincinnati just off a tour leg supporting The Black Keys.

"The atmosphere surrounding this record was completely different from the debut. We knew what we were doing, what we wanted to do, and half of the songs were already fleshed out on the road while supporting The Black Crowes. When we got off the road we went right into the studio for the sessions that would become Let It Ride."

"I got involved with the project simply because I was a fan of the band," says Dan Auerbach. "I invited them up to my studio in Akron. Zach called and basically said the band was ready to record and plans were made."

The recording sessions for Let It Ride were born from a meeting of longtime friends to create a testament of expression that unearths the primal endorphins buried deep within the souls of men.

"I have been into those guys for a long time. Back when they were in Thee Shams I brought them on the road with The Black Keys. I didn't hear anything from them for a while after Thee Shams disbanded until the next thing I know the Buffalo Killers first record is coming out. I bought a copy of it and was stunned, like 'Holy shit.' They transformed from a good garage rock band to light years ahead of what they were doing in terms of songwriting, arrangement, and harmonies," expresses Auerbach. "Not to mention, Joseph Sebaali is an animal behind the drum set. The entire conception was particularly impressive."

Auerbach's studio is as much of a refined gem as the recordings that have propelled The Black Keys' catalog into vinyl necessity. Custom built from the ground up with a simple design, accented with classic flashback d├ęcor and baked-in vintage cool.

Andrew Gabbard - Buffalo Killers by John Peets
"It only took a few days to record Let It Ride. They were practiced," says Auerbach. "As a producer I was there as someone for those guys to bounce ideas off of. These are the kind of guys that don't need a lot of help when it comes to making records or sparking their imagination. These guys just don't need it. They have so much natural ability and talent that all I could do was just be there to answer any questions they might have. Occasionally, I would give some input but I knew the most important task was capturing their sound; the raw live sound of this band."

"I think anytime you get talented musicians together who are writing original music it is important. They may not be important to MTV, but apparently they don't like to see real musicians playing instruments," continues Auerbach. "I'm partial to people who have an idea of the past and the related sounds, because that is what I like - the sounds from the late '50s through the '70s. Not necessarily the songs, but the tone. The way things were recorded back then sounded better in my opinion. When the '80s came around things just seemed to go to shit. Engineers and producers took liberties with editing devices and really screwed up a lot of band's recordings. Recordings became so clean it was nauseating. The pops and hiss are as much of a part of the music as the songs themselves. People might refer to the sound as vintage, but to me it is just simply rock 'n' roll."

The Ideology

Let it ride, don't you hide
Cause tomorrow might never come, so won't you let it ride
Don't you lie or wait one minute
Just hold up your hand and make a stand

Buffalo Killers by John Curley
"It is beyond the point of faking it these days," says Zach on the philosophy of the band. "You can't fake it because there is so much fake stuff out there; people see right through it. Artists like Devendra Banhart and Vetiver aren't faking it. They are living what they do, as we are living what we do. We are not in it for money; we are in it because we want to say something. We want to do what we love. There is no other ambition I have in life."

"I think it is great how rock 'n' roll has gone back underground. You can have a group that tours the United States, puts out their own records and nobody in the mall knows they exist," continues Zach. "That is how rock 'n' roll should be, not on MTV. As a fan you want it to be yours and that is what it is again."

"We put out records [and] we don't worry about if we are going to get reviewed by the papers. We set out to sell records to people at shows. We make a recording and we hit the road. We don't stop until the next album is ready to be recorded," says Zach. "Playing music onstage is one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced besides having a child or being in love. Nothing compares to people connecting with something you are creating for them. That is why I cannot stop. It is better than any drug you will ever take."

"I want people to cherish the song," Zach states. "We write songs about our families and being in love rather than telling you everything is bad and the world as gone to shit. It has but you don't have to believe that. You have your friends and your family. As stupid as it might sound all you need is love. Cherish what you have because it might not be here tomorrow. 'Let it Ride.' That is what it is. There might not be a tomorrow so you might as well let it ride."

Buffalo Killers - "Get Together Now Today"

Buffalo Killers will be on tour with The Black Crowes soon, dates available here.

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[Published on: 8/27/08]

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Flat5 Wed 8/27/2008 03:23PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


these guys play rock and roll, and it is good rock and roll. raw, free, psychedelic, nasty. nice article jambase.

Chaloupka starstarstarstar Wed 8/27/2008 03:46PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Sweet! Another band I'm not familiar with that has a great sound!

PooDolla Wed 8/27/2008 04:13PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I bought an album of theirs like a year ago. I listened to it once, liked it but for some reason have not listened to it again. Jambase you motivated me to give it another chance

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/28/2008 07:21AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Great article. I liked the youtube video so I downloaded the latest album. Really solid rock n roll. Hope they play austin sometime.

MartinHalo Fri 8/29/2008 09:16AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Glad you guys liked this one! I saw them open for the Black Keys in NYC and in stalker fashion had to track them down.

candise Wed 9/3/2008 07:07PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I caught them live at The Deep Blues Fest this summer and thought they Fnrocked. The new cd is brilliant -and so righteous that DA was in the studio with them. Alive Records RULES. Thanks for the article-nice read.

thehurricane23 Thu 9/4/2008 01:14PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Sounds good. It sounds really beatles/zeppelin inspired, especially the intro sounds like the beatles. I'd like to see them live.