“We love coming to Reno because, being from Las Vegas, Reno feels like you’re reconnecting with home.”
So says Andrew Himmler, lead guitarist of Vegas rockabilly and Americana influenced band The Delta Bombers.
In the midst of a national tour that will bring the group to The Ranch House in Sparks on Sunday, January 28th on their Hounds Of Hell Tour, the band is on the phone from the tour van in the middle of a run of western states shows that see them with nearly no off nights.
Reno and Lake Tahoe area crowds might be familiar with the band – and also not surprised to see the workhorse-like touring ethic – as openers for Reverend Horton Heat on several of their past tours through Northern Nevada. In fact, the members of Reverend Horton Heat found themselves so impressed by the Bombers’ sound and tour ethic that they’ve invited the Vegas group to open over 200 shows over the years.
“The truth is we’ve learned a lot from those guys,” says Himmler of RHH. “They really taught us the value of touring hard and paying attention to having a professional attitude night after night.”
The Delta Bombers new album, Neon Sounds, takes the group’s rockabilly-influenced roots, however has expanded on them in a creatively diverse way. On their fifth album, you can easily tease out roots, gospel and even oldies influences on their sound. Songs like “The Ballad of Big Al” builds on storytelling that fully embraces dramatic flair to the lyrics as well as the music. “Dogs of Pavlov” toys with an auto tune intro before turning into a pulsating barroom juke jam bordering on honkey tonk.
“Coming up in the rockabilly scene, everything was painted in one direction,” Himmler says as he talks about the expansive sound on the Bombers’ more recent records. “I think where we got to as a band was pushing things. Like bringing a lot of blues influence, a lot of garage, bringing a lot of country. And we just kept pushing and pushing. Finally, come Neon Sounds, we’re all in our 30’s, we have a lot more experience, and we decided to just take the handcuffs off and make an album that had all of our influences.”
Himmler mentions that while rockabilly is still a major influence, the guys in the Delta Bombers will also listen to artists like Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, and Cypress Hill, so the idea when writing the new record was to not rule out anything.
“As long as the songs sounded good, we went ahead and made it!”
One irony that the band enjoys is that the popularity of American country music in Europe is leading to the Bombers booking larger shows when they cross the Atlantic for more shows later this year.
“They went crazy with the whole Stray Cats thing in the 90’s and they’ve always had a huge love of American vintage style music,” Himmler says talking about the band’s audiences in Europe.
“They have some great bands over there,” he says talking about European groups playing American country music, “but they just kinda do it differently. Our shows there tend to do well because they always seem to dig what they consider to be authentic American music.”
The Delta Bombers’ upcoming show in Sparks will come after just under two weeks on the road. Andrew laughs that in a weird way, playing near the casinos of Tahoe and Reno can be comforting.
“Reno usually comes a few weeks deep on a western tour, and the smells, the casinos…” he notes on the group’s upcoming date. “We love staying a couple days at the Sands or something like that. It feels like stopping back home, so Reno has always felt like a refresher date for us where you’re just excited to be there.”
Catch The Delta Bombers playing with The Goddamn Gallows and Volk at the Ranch House – 906 Victorian Ave, Sparks – on Sunday, January 28th.
Tickets and info here.