Wrapping up a 2018 that saw him release the critically acclaimed album Tell It To The Judge and open for Spoon at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium, Austin singer-songwriter Walker Lukens recently played a concert for local radio station KUTX. Before the show, the station polled their listeners on what song Walker and The Side Arms should cover. The Huey Lewis and the News hit “I Want a New Drug” was the clear audience favorite, winning over Fiona Apple’s “Sleep to Dream,” “Cinnamon Girl,” “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” and “Crazy in Love.”
As Lukens told KUTX:
“We found out a few hours before the session in studio 1A that “I Want A New Drug” had won the poll. Most of what you hear was recorded live, except the backup vocals and guitar. The idea was just to strip away the cheeseball arrangement and make something a little sleeker. Once Grant locked in the synth part, the rest of the arrangement pretty much just fell into place. James Westley Essary engineered and mixed the hell out of this thing.”
A treat to the ears, the cover starts out with a steady synthesizer beat, then quickly morphs into Walker doing his best Huey impersonation. Things really kick into gear 30 seconds in when band secret weapon McKenzie Griffin and the rest of sidearms jump in and make the song their own. With all systems now go, the song was performed live for the first time in Austin’s Mueller Park. If the audience reaction is any indication of what is to come, “I Want A New Drug” should become a staple of their live shows throughout 2019 and beyond.
Check out more Huey Lewis covers here.