A little over a year ago, it looked like there may be no more SHURMAN. Aaron Beavers, frontman and founder of the Austin, Texas based rock n roll band, was dealing with an overwhelming series of unfortunate personal events, and it all became too much—he was ready to quit the music game for good. Not ready to give up, his bandmates rallied around him, and set out to remind him all that was at stake. Confronted by a massive audience of adoring fans at an appearance at the Circus Mexicus music festival in June, Beavers had a sudden moment of clarity. “People had SHURMAN tattoos, our old tour t-shirts on, and were singing along to all of our songs,” he recalls, “I told [the guys], even if we wanted to walk away from it, I don’t think we can.” Now the band is back and as strong as ever, set to release East Side of Love on November 6th.
Elmore has an exclusive blow by blow from the band of what promises to be their most introspective, mature album to date. Beavers takes us song by song through the inspiration behind the tracks from the latest release.
Check it out below, and listen to the album’s title track, “East Side of Love.”
“East Side of Love”
This is the title track of the record, and pretty much sums up my last relationship. ‘It took a lot of bruises for me to hurt this bad. I had to give up some things I never really had.’ It stems from the idea that life is fleeting, and if you try to define it or hold it, you will soon realize you never really had it. And when it’s over, it hurts worse than a knife in the gut.
“Never Gonna Quit”
I thought I was writing a song about my music career, but it ended up being a song about the inability to change even when logic and reason are screaming in your ear. The line ‘if I was gonna give up I woulda done it by now…’ is probably about my career, but the following lines–‘it’s a losers game, I never played to win’–is definitely about love.
“I Don’t Know Why”
This song would have never made it on any previous release. It’s just too long and too sad, but it is probably my favorite song on the record. When I told the band they would be sitting out for the first three or four minutes of the song, they looked at me like I had lost my mind. I love the tension that is created by the restraint of the vocal and how long the song takes to build.
“You Don’t Have to Love Me”
This is the only song that wasn’t part of the writing session for the record (other than “See You Smile,” which [bassist] Mike Therieau wrote). It was the last song I wrote before leaving L.A. for Austin. Originally, it was going to be on the Inspiration album but Blues Traveler asked if they could include it on their record Suzie Cracks the Whip. I thought I would let them take it around the block first and our version is much different (theirs has more harmonica–haha). This song fulfilled a desire I have always had: to write one of those ‘nah nah nah’ or ‘doo doo doo’ endings a la “Hey Jude” that anyone can sing along to.
“Dive Right In”
[Lead guitarist] Harley Husbands really knocked this one out of the park. I told him I wanted a guitar lick that people could sing back to us in concert (like the kinda stuff Mike Campbell writes for Tom Petty). This song is a love letter to my son Lennon. It was inspired by a line in an Alejandro Escovedo song where he sings ‘I hope you live long enough to forget half the stuff that they taught you.’ That line really hit me and I sat down and started the song. I enlisted Mike Therieau to help me finish it, but we got hung up on the bridge so I called my old friend Jono Manson to help us finish it. He came up with that line ‘when you’re falling don’t you worry about the ground.’ It eloquently summed up the idea that sometimes we worry about the end when we should be enjoying all the time that it takes to get there.
“Saving It Up”
One of my favorite bands is the Bay Area group, The Mother Hips. Their two singers Tim Bluhm and Greg Locciano sing together like one voice. That was my goal for Mike and I on this one. We wrote the song together and originally Mike was going to sing lead. Right before we cut it, we swapped parts and the song just took on a whole other vibe. It was still a sad song but it became a sad song with a triumphant chorus.