Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs
Follow The Big Takeover
Lenny Lashley – Photo Credit: Mike McLaughlin
It’s barely 9 o’clock in the morning. Punks shouldn’t be awake this early in the day, let alone actually being functioning members of society. But Lenny Lashley is different.
He’s up early, driving back to his Boston stomping grounds following a show in Brooklyn the night before with Street Dogs; he’s been their guitarist for the past half-decade.
They’re not Lashley’s first band, and they likely won’t be his last: The 53-year-old musician is a punk lifer through and through, and his respect and reverence for the scene is only bested by his innate ability to make music that resonates with the listener. “I take what comes down the pike,” Lashley says, as he steers his way back home. “Fortunately, people seem to want to have me around. I’m fortunate in that regard.”
Lashley might very well be Boston’s best-kept secret (his long-running band Darkbuster is held in the highest of regards locally), but it’s through his solo project, Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One, that he hopes to foster deeper, more meaningful connections — not just with the listener, but with himself. “As a singer/songwriter, I get more of a personal level connection with my solo music,” Lashley admits. “I’m more open and honest on a personal level with myself.”
Lashley’s new album,the heartfelt and dynamic All Are Welcome, arrives February 15th via Pirates Press Records.
Standout track “Lonesome” a perfect example of his deep commitment to self-reflection and realization. The song is a nakedly honest look that anyone who’s been around the bar scene long enough can relate to. “I wrote that three years ago, just before I got sober,” he admits. “In retrospect, that was me at a low point, expressing it through song. That’s kind of how I communicate with my inner self.”
All Are Welcome isn’t actually a solo release, even though it was recorded under the Gang Of One moniker. Lashley tapped some talented friends to give him a hand. The LP’s hooks were cultivated by Pete Steinkopf, best known as the guitarist of The Bouncing Souls but who has become a formidable producer in recent years, documenting Beach Slang, Dave Hause, the Menzingers, and more.
“I just love working with Pete,” Lashley professes. “He’s a great dude with great ideas. Plus I was lucky enough to get Joe Sirois from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to play drums, and Johnny Rioux from Street Dogs handled the bass, so all the cards really fell into place.”
Another highlight from All Are Welcome is “Betty’s,” which sounds like a Springsteen song recorded at 33 and played back at 45. Lashley credits his bandmates for the electricity. “The energy comes from Joe and John,” he says. “I was playing it a bit slower than that, and Joe jumped on it and said it should be on the quicker side. To sing and play it that fast, it took a little while for me. It’s a heart-pumper!”
While the album is full of anthems (“Revolution” is quickly becoming the MLS club New England Revolution’s official fight song), the true meaning behind All Are Welcome comes in its title track, which earnestly drops in a chunk of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech atop a powerful mid-tempo number that finds Lashley getting political in the kindest way possible.
“I tend to not want to be preachy or standing on a soapbox about my own personal views, but as I was writing that song, recent developments in immigration… it undermines my idea of what we should stand for as a country, basically,” he admits. “That’s where that all came from. The MLK speech was such an enlightening thing for the time. It seemed like a catalyst, a change. I think that’s what we need: More people who are willing to speak out and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t right.’ Unfortunately, everybody isn’t as eloquent as Dr. King was. So with all respect and reverence, we used that soundbite.”
All Are Welcome uses its brisk runtime to effortlessly jump from country and folk to punk and classic rock, with Lashley digging deep to express himself in new ways.
Lashley will have a chance to showcase his talents in front of thousands of people every night as he hits the road alongside Dropkick Murphys for a month this February and March. But no matter the crowd size, Lashley has one goal in mind: connection.
Pre-Order All Are Welcome on CD, digital, and vinyl formats at Pirates Press Records
Check Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One TOUR DATES at BandsInTown
More in news