Song of the Week – Backseat Nothing, The Del Fuegos


Back in the 1980s there was a record label out of LA that signed a lot of very cool bands. Slash Records focused on the local LA scene with bands like X, Los Lobos, The Germs, the Blasters and more. They also ventured far afield to sign other “roots rock” acts like the BoDeans, whose T-Bone Burnett produced debut – Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams – is a classic. A song from that album deserves to be a SotW, and probably will be some time.

But this week I’m choosing a song from another Slash act, “Backseat Nothing, by Boston’s Del Fuegos.

The Del Fuegos were brothers Dan (guitars/vocals) and Warren (guitars) Zanes, and Tom Lloyd (bass) and Woody Giessmann (drums). The album was produced by the then young Mitchell Froom, who also added some keys to the set. (It was one of his earliest gigs as a producer.)

“Backseat Nothing” is from the band’s first album, The Longest Day (1984). It is very typical of their R&B/rockabilly garage band style – closer to The Rolling Stones than The Clash – which was pretty unusual in the mid 80s when MTV was minting stars and Madonna and synth pop ruled the airwaves.

This approach endeared them to a relatively small but loyal audience. But when the band accepted a sponsorship from Miller Beer to star in a cinema-verité commercial, some of their more sensitive fans smelled a sell out and abandoned them. That’s a little hard to fathom today when even top tier rock stars license their music to peddle goods or accept corporate tour sponsors. But back in the 80s (and before) it was taboo.

One last bit of trivia… “Backseat Nothing” was used in an episode of the FX Network firefighter program (starring Denis Leary) Rescue Me from Season 4 called “Babyface.”

Enjoy… until next week.

2 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Backseat Nothing, The Del Fuegos

  1. Dan Zanes went on to become a pretty popular singer-songwriter for children who lived in my neighborhood back in the early aughts. I would chat with him at the food coop from time to time, about food, not rock. But the only time I saw him live was at a big protest rally outside Hillary Clinton’s office, when she was in the senate, trying (unsuccessfully) to keep her from voting to authorize the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  2. I have a cousin that lives in Brooklyn that gave me pretty much the same feedback — that Zanes writes children’s music now and that the sees him at the food coop.

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