In 1994, Eric Shouse, Ben Eggehorn and Steve Guiles put together their first gig at a coffee house in California. Guiles quite hastily penned their first songs, ‘Open,’ and ‘Weird’ which have been part of the repertoire ever since, and that is how Pushstart Wagon was born. Along with the first album, Squeaky Clean, came opportunities to tour the nation with several bands you’ve undoubtedly heard of, and a decade of friendship.
With all those details stuffed in your back pocket, it’s time to reintroduce yourself to Pushstart Wagon, and grab a copy of their new release, L.A. Was Our Alamo...
Bio: by L. Jeanette Strole/ Amorphous Media Agency
In every high school there was always at least one student who marched to the beat of a slightly different drum. “"Pushstart Wagon is that kid," says bassist Eric Shouse. "He wasn't a jock, but they never trash-canned him, and he wasn't a nerd, but they all respected him. He may have sat alone at lunch once in a while, but he didn't seem to mind. And at the end of the year everyone wanted to sign his yearbook. Yeah, I think Pushstart Wagon is that kid."
In 1994, Eric Shouse, Ben Eggehorn and Steve Guiles put together their first gig at a coffee house in California. Guiles quite hastily penned their first songs, “Open,” and “Weird” which have been part of the repertoire ever since, and that is how Pushstart Wagon was born. Along with the first album, “Squeaky Clean,” came opportunities to tour the nation with several bands you’ve undoubtedly heard of, and a decade of friendship.
With all those details stuffed in your back pocket, it’s time to reintroduce yourself to Pushstart Wagon, and grab a copy of their new release, “L.A. Was Our Alamo.”
Singer/guitarist, Steve Guiles, immediately makes one thing clear. “We’re not trying to be something we’re not.” This honesty translates into music that fills a niche where alternative pop, roots and All-American rock converge. Despite fads, or maybe in light of the fads, the band stays true to itself by filling “L.A. Was Our Alamo” with a mix of thought-provoking ballads, and radio-friendly, jangly, alternative pop.
Guiles alludes to their music being filtered through the sieve that contains the likes of U2, The Replacements, Wilco, and Pavement.”
Among the songs on “L.A. Was Our Alamo”, one song comes out of a particular anecdote that Guiles shares. Once, when approached by an aspiring country singer looking for material to perform, he nearly sold her a song he had written to his wife for Valentine’s Day. This, in turn, became the basis for another new song with a catchy promise to his wife, “May I never sell these songs that I wrote for you, to a country star who sings ‘em out of tune.”
“I love singing in front of people. I want to impact people the way U2’s The Joshua Tree impacted me when it first came out. It rocked. It was spiritual and searching. That was honest and real to me and that’s what I would like to do. And I want people to have a good time, because I know that sometimes people just want to shake their butts, and we’d like to help them do that too.”
“I write music that I like. Don’t get me wrong, I want people to hear my songs, but I don’t want to have to be validated by them in order to write. I do it because I need to do it.”
Along those lines of dedication, loyalty and commitment, Shouse says, “The relationships within our band are a part of who we are and who we want to be. We really are a family in many ways. Many of the songs are built on that sense of relationship. We love making music, and we love the music we make. There is something special about each of the songs, something that catches our imagination and hearts, and that's why we chose them.”
Guiles’ view of the band is admirable. “Our original focus was always to be a great band, to write good songs, and treat everyone we met with respect (the sound guy, the doorman, the people at the show.) Originally we just wanted to get signed to a label, which we did within our first two years as a band. Now I think the only change is that we don’t necessarily need or want to be on a label. [To any record execs out there] please note the word ‘necessarily.’”
So where is that high school kid now? Maybe you saw him at the ten-year reunion, and said hello. But Pushstart Wagon won’t settle for those obligatory rare reunions. Their history and tenacity leaves ample room for a deeper commitment. “We are hoping for a long-term relationship with our listeners, because Pushstart Wagon is in it for the long haul.”