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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Music Video Premiere: 'Irregulars' By The Claudettes

By Stevie Connor.

The Claudettes released their new album "The Claudettes Go Out!" (by Forty Below Records) in October 2022. The band recorded four extra songs during those sessions, and one of them, "Irregulars," is coming out on all platforms on March 3, 2023. The Sound Cafe is delighted and honoured to exclusively premiere the lyric video for the song today.

The song "Irregulars," arose from two things. First: a strong distaste for the invented word "Illegals." Claudettes songwriter Johnny Iguana chose the word "Irregulars" to describe "people who are different," drawing the term from his teenage years of shopping for cheap shirts with sewing errors or buttons missing at Marshalls--shirts with a tag that said "IRREGULAR."

Second: Johnny saw a meme in which an old couple are staring out over their farmland, as the sun sets, and the caption is, "Can't we all just agree: we wish things were like they used to be?" This also summoned a bitter taste in the mouth. Things sure didn't used to be better for everyone! And so Johnny wrote the song as an arabesque, conjuring images of dancing around the campfire as a brief respite from a difficult life, in the old country. You wanna go back, let's go way back! At the end of every live performance, the Claudettes unanimously answer the final lyric, "Do you want Irregulars here?" with a resounding "YES!!!"

Ted Hutt produced "Irregulars," which he recorded with the Claudettes and engineer Stephen Shirk at Shirk Studios in Chicago. Johnny Iguana (piano), Michael Caskey (drums) and Zach Verdoorn (bass) recorded the live track, then Zach added guitars, Johnny added Mellotron and synth bass and Michael added percussion. Berit Ulseth delivered a commanding vocal, taking on the part of the narrator who can't stand to see the world changing--that is, diversifying.

Live performance footage of the band playing "Irregulars" at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival (2022) is blended with band photos by Timothy Hiatt. Johnny Iguana edited the video, added the titles and created additional visual effects.

The themes explored are Globalization, Nationalism, Xenophobia, Nostalgia, Wistfulness, Fear, Progress, Maintaining the Status Quo, Diversification, Satire, Immigrants, the American Dream. Johnny wrote the words and music, recorded a demo with Berit Ulseth, and then worked with Zach Verdoorn and Michael Caskey as they crafted their guitar/bass and drum parts. Influences include David Bowie, Queen, Flaming Lips, Classical Music, and Eastern Music.

Wielding a one-of-a-kind, piano-powered roots-pop sound, the Claudettes merge earthy blues and soul with pop hooks and punk spirit, writing an intriguing new chapter in American roots music.

Pianist-songwriter Johnny Iguana joins seductive singer Berit Ulseth, bassist-vocalist Zach Verdoorn and drummer Michael Caskey. Johnny, who toured for years with his cult-favourite rock band Oh My God, has played on albums featuring Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Derek Trucks, Keb' Mo', Gary Clark Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and more.

He has toured/recorded with Junior Wells and Otis Rush, played on three Grammy-nominated albums and earned a prestigious 2021 Blues Music Award nomination for Piano Player of the Year as well as a 2022 Living Blues Award nomination for Outstanding Musician.

The Claudettes recorded their 2018 album "DANCE SCANDAL AT THE GYMNASIUM!" (Yellow Dog Records) with Grammy-winning producer Mark Neill (Black Keys). In 2020 the Claudettes released "High Times in the Dark" (Forty Below Records), helmed by Grammy-winning producer Ted Hutt (Violent Femmes, Old Crow Medicine Show). The Claudettes worked with Hutt and with Grammy winner Kevin Killen (David Bowie, U2, Elvis Costello) in 2020 and 2021, resulting in the band's new album, "The Claudettes Go Out!," released by Forty Below Records on October 14, 2022.

Tour dates, photos, videos and more can be found on the Claudettes Website.


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