With Acceleratii Frontman Chad Lyons


Country music gets a bad rap. At least it should. With the audible track record of the past two decade’s worth of burgeoning country stars, it’s no surprise. I don’t mean to be crass, but it’s been pretty bad as far my ears can tell. It all kind of sounds the same. Country music went from legends like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson to Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks. There’s been a schism, a polarity shift within the genre over the years that went from outlaws and cowboys to crybabies and redundancy. At least in my opinion. But to be fair, country music is more popular now than it ever has been before and has been on a steady incline for last 20 years.
Chad Lyon’s band Acceleratii reminds me of old country music. It’s twangy, it’s energetic, it’s fast, it’s fun, it’s badass and it’s probably drunk. Their official genre characterization would be rockabilly, which for the laymen, is a combination of rock and roll and hillbilly, or country music. Chad Lyons and I had a brief, intimate Q&A over Facebook recently where he shared with me his affinity for sharks and Ghostbusters. Here’s the results.

MJ: How long has Acceleratii been together?
CL: The Acceleratii has been around for 6.5 years. Our first show was at the infamous Red Lion opening for Retribution Gospel Choir and the Black Labels.

MJ: What did you listen to growing up? What musicians influence your band’s sound?
CL: I listened to a lot of oldies as a kid, 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s stuff. I also listened to a lot of Beach Boys and Huey Lewis and the News. As I got into my teens my tastes switched to more classic rock, Skynyrd, Molley Hatchet, Zepplin, Creedance and anything I could get my hands on. My country influences came second hand from mostly my Father. He liked “Old” real country Cash, Hank, Waylon, Keith Whitley, Johnny Horton and others. The Band’s influences come from a variety as well. The Reverend Horton Heat’s sound being a major factor. Also the Ventures, The Trashmen, The Stray Cats, some country, a lot of vintage obscure 60’s rock, Hasil Adkins, David Allen Coe, Sam and Dave, lots of 50’s rockabilly and too many to name and a lot people have never heard of. Ben, Gomez, Scott and I all have very unique tastes in music and we as a group kind of mash all that stuff up and put our own stamp on it. Mostly the music has to rock, make people party, and drive fast, take chances.

MJ: Where do you guys feel most at home playing?
CL: I’d have to say RT’s is our old comfy shoe now-a-days. Mostly we love to play where we are treated respectfully but can still have a good time. Any bar that has a lot of character or unique dive bar-ish charisma. We also love the love we get on the range at the 218 (Virginia) and from all the rangers. We’ve played a good handful of shows in the Twin Cities but have struggled to grow our following down there due to it just being so expensive for 4 day jobbers to capitalize on.

MJ: What’s the deal with Gomez?
CL: Gomez! He’s the man. We’ve known him for over 20 years and he was a major influence on Ben’s love of the guitar. He also helped contribute to our delinquency as minors. We give him a hard time, but really actually do respect him and his guitar skills are pretty out of sight. We really put the pressure on him to play at the tempo we do but he handles it well. Gomez has a bajillion 45’s that we get a lot of music from. He balances full time work and a family with the band and does a hell of a job with that. It is okay to yell “F*ck you Gomez” at our shows, it’s kind of his mantra and goes way back to the Red Lion days. Newer fans sometimes get upset with people yelling that at him, but they fail to realize that’s where he gets his power. Lastly He is the ladies man of the group...whether the ladies like it or not.

MJ: What’s been your favorite show to play thus far?
CL: We have had a lot of great chances to play on some really great stages with a lot of other great bands. It’s hard to pick a favorite. We love basement shows and parties and any bar show that people really cut loose at. We always look forward to our homegrown set, they always seem to be wicked awesome times.
It’s hard to pick a favorite, there have been so many. My personal favorite is when we covered the Animals for “Ides of March”. We worked very hard on that show and I believe it showed in the end. What a blast. It’s always great to have Dan “Pillow Talk” Anderson guest with us. His keyboard style is the shit.

MJ: What’s your favorite thing about Duluth?
CL: It’s cheesy, but my favorite thing about Duluth would have to be the quality and resilience of the people. There is so much talent up here in all our arts and the camaraderie is fantastic. Lot’s of very supportive friends and fans including fellow bands. Also the city itself is not only home, but just f*cking beautiful.

MJ: What do you hate about Duluth?
CL: Least favorite thing about Duluth. Small town type bullshit. On the same token that it’s a great close knit community, it also sucks that everybody wants to know or talk about other people’s business. It’s a double edged blade.
Also that we are kind of geographically isolated kind of sucks, but what are you gonna do about that? It is what it is.

MJ: Who’s radder Waylon, Merle or Willie?
CL: I’m Waylon all the way. His music is something I just click with, also I can sing in his range which makes it all the better, and he was such a bad ass and did things his way, not the way the suits wanted it. I appreciate any rebellious spirit especially when they are fighting the status quo and following their gut. People that do their own thing and own it, good or bad, reward or consequence.
But I do also love Merle and Willy. How can’t you? Willy’s nasal singing doesn’t get him much in the rotation though...unless it’s with Waylon. They compliment each other so well. I’m sticking with my Waylon answer, but that’s a loaded question.

MJ: A lot of people think country music is lame. Convince them otherwise.
CL: Unfortunately a lot of Country is lame. Mostly the pop country or the manufactured stuff. But the real stuff is fantastic and you either dig it or don’t. In my experience though everybody likes a little country even though they don’t admit it. Tastes are tastes and there’s not much you can do to change it. But slip it in the cd player now and again, maybe work some in gradually.