Introducing: Guards’ “You Got Me”

The Cults/Willowz members preview their new album.

This is a rock & roll song, and the world needs more of those right now. Not in a holy preaching kind of way, but I think the world will always need more reinterpreted rock & roll music. I wrote this song after listening to “State Trooper” by Bruce Springsteen. I love the howl. It’s a basic blues riff, which is something we don’t really get into, but it felt right so we kept working on it. Lyrically, it’s got a born-to-lose type of theme — being aware it’s not going to work, but going full on into it, because you are hooked. It’s about a feeling, and the process of the journey more than the end result.

We recorded most of this song at our drummer Loren’s loft studio in Bushwick. We ran the acoustic guitar through on of those Maestro “rhythm n’ sound” multi effects pedals from the ‘60s to give it that dirty slap sound. We used the fuzz on it a bunch, too. The bridge kind of just happened on accident as we were recording the song and we just kept the jam die down dynamic part which we were really excited about because at the time our live set incorporated a lot of that kind of feel into our songs, but it wasn’t really something we could ever get across on record. This track nails it probably because it was not done on purpose. We changed the bass line and players a few times and the end result was Mike Shuman’s (from Queens of the Stone Age) bass line which I think was the most “rock” of them all. I actually messed up the lyrics on the chorus and didn’t notice until long after the process was over. They felt right when I was singing them! The only time they are correct is on the breakdown chorus after the bridge. Mistakes make it real. 🙂


Richie James Follin

Richie James Follin plays and sings in Guards, and he also spent time in Willowz and Cults, the latter of which features his sister. The second Guards album — and first in six years — is Modern Hymns, and it features Money Mark, Patrick Keeler, and many more special guests.