Brian Setzer dials up the twang on new single, Smash Up On Highway One

Brian Setzer
(Image credit: Steve Thorne/Redferns)

Brian Setzer has shared Smash Up On Highway One, the second single from his forthcoming album, Gotta Have the Rumble.

A rockabilly number at its core – albeit with “Middle Eastern” scale elements, as Setzer describes – the track incorporates a similar electric guitar twang as the record's first single, Checkered Flag, however with markedly more emphasis on leads. Check it out below.

“I usually start out with a guitar riff,” says Setzer. “I was playing Miserlou by Dick Dale with the Stray Cats, and I thought, ‘I'd love to write something as cool as that riff.’ So I came up with something out of left field. I don't know what you would call it – Middle Eastern or Eastern European.

“Some college professor probably has a name for that scale. I had that riff laying around. I guess you could say I'm always collecting cool guitar parts. [Co-writer] Mike Himelstein sent me those lyrics and they just fit right in. 

“I think it's really cool – it's a way to move the whole rockabilly genre forward. The surf drum part in there with the guy playing the tom-toms similar to Wipeout. I love it.”

Setzer says the upcoming album is “a reference to my motorcycles and hot rods. 

“I still have the same passion for going fast and adrenaline,” he says. “But it's also about my hearing problems with tinnitus – the ringing of the ear: it was pretty bad, and I realized I couldn't play the way I wanted to.

“As I recovered, standing in front of a small amplifier just didn't cut it. The sound from my big amps makes the guitar rumble, which is a big part of my sound. I was really despondent for a while because I thought I wouldn't be able to do that again. So, Gotta Have the Rumble refers to both of those things. 

Gotta Have the Rumble is available now for preorder. Check out its tracklisting below:

Brian Setzer

(Image credit: Press)
  1. Checkered Flag
  2. Smash Up On Highway One
  3. Stack My Money
  4. The Wrong Side Of The Tracks
  5. Drip Drop
  6. The Cat With 9 Wives
  7. Turn You On, Turn Me On
  8. Rockabilly Riot
  9. Off Your Rocker
  10. One Bad Habit
  11. Rockabilly Banjo

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.