With his own sense sophisticated pop craft, it's no surprise Nick Lowe might be something a Bee Gees or Dionne Warwick fan. Those both translate into his version Warwick's 1982 Bee Gees-written (and produced) hit “Heartbreaker,” which is part the new Tokyo Bay/Crying Inside EP with Los Straitjackets that Lowe releases June 15 Yep Roc Records.
Lowe tells Billboard the easygoing, laid-back version the song is “a soundcheck tune…something we might play before the show. I always thought it was a really, really great song, and like a lot Bee Gees songs it really has got sort hidden depth. I'm a great fan the Bee Gees; You don't necessarily know what they're singing about a lot the time, but they just make this fantastic sound and a lot their songs are really soulful when you strip them all back. And that song 'Heartbreaker' I always thought was a really soulful song.
“I just started doing it in the soundchecks and then the Straitjackets liked it. They said, 'Let's have a go at doing that' and it really turned out well, I thought.”
The four-song EP comes in front Lowe's latest tour with Los Straitjackets — starting June 22 in Jersey City, NJ — and represents his first release new material in five years. “I'd rather gone f the idea making any more records,” Lowe says, partially because the marketplace and also because touring had become so busy and lucrative recently. Lowe also felt that, “I don't want to be one those guys who just churns out stuff that's not got much juice in it, one those old timers. So I wasn't exactly beating a path to the nearest recording studio to inflict my latest stuff on the public. There's such a lot time and expense in making a record, and I've made so many them, why would I put myself through them any longer?” Making an EP, however, does return Lowe to the earliest days his career in England, when “that was a perfectly legitimate thing to do, to just put out an EP.”
But, he adds, with a laugh, “I don’t know if anyone buys EPs nowadays — or albums anymore, right? It seems like sort a strange thing to do, but everything about the marketing records nowadays is a complete mystery to me.”
The EP does allow him to continue his relationship with Los Straitjackets, which began three and a half years ago with his tour to support his 2013 holiday album Quality Street. “They're an extremely good group, very, very good musicians, and also they're extremely agreeable people to tour with,” Lowe says the masked quartet, which shares the same manager and during the spring 2017 released the Lowe tribute album What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets. “The Christmas show was sort an excuse for us to go out and do a few gigs. It's not very difficult to replace the Christmas songs with some unseasonable material, and it's great to be able to do tunes that I don't do with anybody else nowadays, and that don't really work when I do my solo shows. It's a pretty good rock 'n' roll show we've got.” And even better news is that the Lowe-Los Straitjackets association may result in more new music sooner rather than later.
“We're doing another session in June, when I come back to the United States,” Lowe says. “So we'll record a couple new songs and maybe another soundcheck favorite, who knows? I feel like with these guys anything is possible.”