Electric Touch: British By Way Of Texas

Lawlor—Shane Lawlor (frontman—perfect frontman)—is 27-years-old, British as hell, and piss drunk on America.

I mean, he cannot get enough.

It’s 7 p.m. Monday in Austin. Practice is finally over and the sun sets on “glorious Texas.” The band has been at it since noon. Seven hours. This is a daily thing and easy to schedule because the four of them live together, “like The Monkees,” Shane once said.

He’s in the kitchen, cooking dinner and reciting sonnets to Uncle Sam.

“I wanted to follow my dreams / And come to America where I thought / You could be anything and do anything / As long as you had a good heart / And worked hard,” he says.

You can see in the concentrated swivel of his knees and hear in his sincere voice that Shane Lawlor works his heart out and his arse off. In America, for America. Like Davey Jones.

And America is so fantastic Shane wouldn’t even care if the other guys in the band were just using him for the accent.

“Ha!” laughs the pilgrim. “Maybe they are, I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that before. I always feel like the looky one, to be honest with you.”

Fine, Shane’s the looky one. Or why don’t we just say it’s a mutual thing. He gets to trade the apparently Dickensian nightmare of a Nottingham factory for the Minute Man fantasy of rock ‘n’ roll.

He gets to dump the tea out and grab the mic and “thankyooverymoowutch” and speak in tongues so thick and rich. In the old country, when folks hear the way he talks, they hear a commoner.

“It’s a big class thing, and I just wasn’t interested in that,” he says. “One of the reasons I got up on stage and started singing was because people don’t judge you on your background, you’re just judged on what you do on that stage, and in America I found I could do that. I could be who I wanted to be, without any of the negative connotations I might have if was in my regular home place.”