Go Fast

Great American Get Down

by Patrick Schabe


It’s hard to understand where Go Fast is coming from with their music. The cover of Great American Get Down has the cartoon band driving in a Rat Fink-styled hot rod complete with speed freak grimaces. There are also some vague intimations to rockabilly, although there’s no Reverend Horton Heat or even Mike Ness here. The photo collage inside the CD booklet has some conspicuous Supersuckers and Zeke stickers in it, but Go Fast is neither of those bands. They sound, for all the world, like a Rolling Stones cover band.

This has all led me to the grand conclusion that Go Fast is targeted to pit mechanics at race tracks looking for a sound that compliments their turbo charged lives.

cover art

Go Fast

Great American Get Down

(HTS Recordings)

This is not saying that you have to work the Indy 500 to enjoy the music. This is, in some sense, classic rock at its most basic level. Blues tinged rock and roll, with a cocky swagger, a predisposition to speed and power chords, and a lead singer who sounds eerily like Mick Jagger. In fact, it’s vocalist Scott E. Diffie’s strange Mick-ness, including a (coincidental?) photo of Diffie with his lips puffed out in a Warhol-esque expression, that strikes me the most about Go Fast. Which is not to say that this is the only thing about Go Fast worth noting.

Their lyrics are rock Americana: girls, cars, booze, and rock and roll itself. Take this classic line from “Mad Hatter”: “I’ve been thinking, thinking about drinking / I’ve been drinking, drinking when I’m thinking.” Brilliance? Without making any jokes at anyone’s expense based on groundless stereotypes, the Go Fast fan club is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. Hmmmm.

The thing is, Go Fast wouldn’t be a bad band to be stuck with at the roadhouse bar if you happened to be there on band night. There’s a great deal of Southern-fried rock talent in the playing that, yes, does sound like the Stones, but is that so bad? Go Fast’s “Judy” is no “Angie,” but every ballad must have its day. So what if they’re able to sing a song called “Rock Star Ready” with a straight face? So what if they violate one of those musical rules of taste by actually recording a song called “Go Fast” (get it! That’s the name of the band! It’s like…like a theme song or sumthin’)? This is rock before the exposed metanarrative we’re talking about here. This is a band without irony, something of a rarity in the last five years. Screw post-rock, let’s haul out the proto-rock carcass.

Heading to a party where you’ll be hanging out with Brill-O creamers over beers and talking about carburetors, camshafts, and drive trains? Pick up Great American Get Down. Otherwise, well….

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