The High Plains Drifters are a group of New York City based Rock & Roll veterans who came together one night over a few drinks and Mexican food, and decided to start a band. The result was a wildly creative, genre-bending project that has caught the ears of fans across the globe.
The band’s eponymous debut album dropped in 2019 to commercial and critical success. They followed that in 2020 with the hilarious Christmas song “Santa! Bring my Girlfriend Back.” In addition to widespread support from Amazon and Spotify, Harper’s Bazaar touted it among “16 Funny Christmas Songs That Will Add Some Cheer to This Dreadful Year,” and Spotify’s Listrionics Podcast heralded the tune as “one of the five best Xmas and holiday songs” released in 2020.
The group is led by frontman Larry Studnicky (lead vocals, lyricist) and includes John Macom (rhythm/electric guitars, lead/backup vocals), Mike DoCampo (rhythm/electric guitars, backup vocals), Kyle Cassel (drums, backup vocals), Charles Czarnecki (keys, accordion, backup vocals), and Dave Richards (bass, backup vocals). They spent 2020 recording their follow-up LP at Kaleidoscope Sound in Union City, NJ with producer Greg Cohen (Robin Thicke, Nile Rodgers) behind the board.
The first single from the forthcoming album is “Since You’ve Been Gone,” released to all major streaming services on February 5, 2021. The track is a smooth, synthwave-inspired tale of a man pining over a lost love. The song rolls on a chill, disco-tinged groove. Funky guitars play off of a mellow electric bass as ethereal synths set the horizon for the lead singer’s lonely tale, told in a smooth Pop tenor.
I wrote it after a particularly painful breakup when I was still young enough to believe in the theory of the ‘one and only’,” admits Larry. “This girl dumped me, broke my heart, and forever disabused me of that notion. The song came out of it. It captures the feeling of utter disbelief after your lover crushes all of your hopes and dreams.Larry Studnicky
Check out “Since You’ve Been Gone,” below. You can also hear the song on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. Follow the links below to connect with The High Plains Drifters and get in the loop on their upcoming album. Wanna know more? Read Larry Studnicky’s answers to our 8 questions.
8 Questions With Larry Studnicky of the High Plains Drifters
The Static Dive: Where are you from?
Larry Studnicky: I was born just outside NYC in Tarrytown, NY. Starting at age 5, I was raised 2 blocks outside Washington DC in Chevy Chase, MD. After college, I spent most of my adult life living in Manhattan. I consider New York City home.
SD: How long have you been making music?
LS: I started writing songs around the middle of high school — a long time ago. However, I didn’t form a band and start making music until I was in my 50’s.
SD: Who are the musicians involved in your project?
LS: The High Plains Drifters are a group of seasoned musicians comprised of myself (lead vocals, lyricist) along with John Macom (rhythm/electric guitars, lead/backup vocals), Mike DoCampo (rhythm/electric guitars, backup vocals), Kyle Cassel (drums, backup vocals), Charles Czarnecki (keys, accordion, backup vocals), and Dave Richards (bass, backup vocals). Our producer on the 2nd album we’re doing is Greg Cohen (who has produced, among others, Robin Thicke, Nile Rogers, Justin Timberlake and Celine Dion).
SD: Who are your biggest musical influences?
LS: I think more in terms of “inspirations” than influences, as I don’t start a song thinking that I’ll be emulating any particular artist. My inspirations are Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Burt Bacharach, The Beatles, The Eagles, The Ramones, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Style Council, David Bowie, Warren Zevon, Fountains Of Wayne, Weezer, Paul Westerberg, Ingrid Michaelson, Taylor Swift, and all those little guys who used to be One Direction.
SD: What is your greatest non-musical influence?
LS: My parents are my greatest non-musical influence. While they never once pushed me to explore music, they taught me to believe that I could accomplish any goal on which I set my sights. I’ve sorely needed that self-confidence as our unknown, over-the-hill band has gone tilting at windmills.
SD: What inspired you to create this project?
LS: The pure joy of working with my bandmates on our debut album spurred me to do this 2nd album. There is nothing cooler than watching the lyrics and melodies I bring to the band — sometimes with specific musical parts also in my head, but sometimes not — take flight as each of the brilliant guys I work with adds his own magic sauce to the mix. It’s exhilarating and reason enough to keep making records.
SD: What are your plans for the future (musically)?
LS: The immediate plans are to finish the demos for the last 6 songs on Album 2 and then record them. Then I guess we’ll begin Album 3.
SD: Is there anything else you would like to say?
LS: Yes: The truism that life is short. Forget about COVID and go pursue whatever dreams you’ve put on hold. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Don’t worry about “success”. The creative process is its own reward.