Wednesday, June 26, 2024


With “I Wanna Rule Somebody” and its album, Norman Collins illuminates Current American Cultural Clashes.


By Kurt Beyers- Edited by L Casserly Boomerang Beat

To introduce his new album, Front Porch Philosopher, Norman Collins offers “I Wanna Rule Somebody,” a pure piece of hard-driving, rock guitar and messaging in which the subject is the betrayal of belief and trust.

The album and the single will be released on May 22.

Guitar and a steady, hard fast drum begin, but not just to philosophy’s beat. In this song, we get rock metaphysics. After the rest of the band crashes in, setting the rhythm and harmony of the argument, Norman introduces the subject:

Join my church, I can

Save your life

Take my hand, and I might

Want your wife

The song, and the album, are full of Norman’s brand of progressive Americana. It is a fusion of a lot of different kinds of music —but mainly rock, blues, soul and country — and delivered hot and sweet.

“I Wanna to Rule Somebody” is rock with what he describes as something like “Led Zeppelin goes country punk.”

Oddly, the only tone that might be called “philosophical” is Norman when he’s talking about the album.

What does he want to say about “I Wanna to Rule Somebody” or Front Porch Philosopher

“Well there’s — I hate to brag — but there’s some pretty good guitar playing on there. If people like guitar playing, there’s good solos and,” he pauses, thinks a second, continues, “oh, nice chord changes. And interesting arrangements.”

Which is a sedate, academic way to talk about music that, fast or slow, gets the pulse involved in listening and drives lyrics into heads like nails into walls.

Let me prove, that you

     Got a soul

     Join our faith, under

My control

Proposition-conclusion, proposition-conclusion. Drums provide punctuation.

I wanna to rule, rule somebody

I don’t care about who it is

Norman knows his music and, as in “Get Back in the Car,” “What the Cat Dragged In” and “All I Wanted Was Roses,” he also knows how to put a story into lyrics.

Norman has been making music, playing, and touring with a wide variety of musicians and bands since the late ’60s, mainly out of San Francisco, though he was born and raised in St. Louis. He has also lived and worked in Nashville.

Progressive Americana, for him, he says, “has something to do with a little bit of country and blues,” but influenced by much of American music from the last century. That becomes clear as he talks about influences.

“Everybody has the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry as influences,” he said. “But I also like bands like, say, The Lovin’ Spoonful. Nobody seems to mention them much. I like them a lot. I bought every album by them.”

He includes all the English invasion bands, not only the Beatles and the Stones but bands such as the Zombies and the Kinks. He puts in San Francisco bands like  Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, Hot Tuna and others. 

As he goes on, he comes to people as varied in time and place as Howlin’ Wolf, Sturgill Simpson, Rodney Crowell, BB King, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, John Lee Hooker, early Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green.

Progressive Americana indeed. His 2023 EP, Something to Say, has almost come to define the term for much of South America.

“Hey Marie,” a single from that album, went close to viral on that continent and in Spain, said Larry Casserly, Norman’s artist manager. 

“Due to my flexibility and experience, I enjoy the opportunity to stay busy here on the West Coast” Collins mentions. 

The band in Something to Say and Front Porch Philosophers is Norman Collins and the Tumblers.

“I’ve been performing my own songs since I was 28,” he said. “I had a pretty popular band here in San Francisco, The Confessions, back in ’81, and since then I’ve never been out of an original band.

Front Porch Philosopher has a mix of old and new material. “I Wanna to Rule Somebody” and others are older tracks redone with a new producer/ arranger, Paul Kraushaar owner of PSR Recording. 

“Paul did a great job with these songs. The songs are more aggressive,” said Norman. “The guitar playing is more aggressive, the drums are more aggressive.”

“We are mostly playing festivals and clubs type venues right now, and I’d like to take a step up in that direction” Norman states. “I know this new release will provide for more recognition and a chance to tour more places, larger venues and hopefully attract attention from an Indie label that believes in this music and might be willing to invest in this project,” said Norman. 

“This band,” he said, “is ready to go.”

Get ready and go with Norman Collins and the Tumblers and connect on all platforms for new music, videos, and social posts.

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