A powerful song for a powerful subject – and it’s inspired by real events. It was late fall 2017 when California was hit with it’s most destructive wildfire in history, the Thomas fire, in Ventura County. About the same time firefighters were trying to contain that fire, a homeless encampment caught fire alongside the 405 freeway at Sunset Boulevard. Another day later, a new wildfire was sparked in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles. From Mike Dawson’s front porch in the San Fernando Valley, he witnessed evidence of all three fires: smoke and ash everywhere, the red sun in a grey sky, and an ominous feeling of the coming apocalypse. So Mike sat down on his porch with his favourite guitar and wrote ‘Watching Hollywood Burn.’ It takes that reality and mixes in a metaphorical destruction of California’s version of the American dream.
Mike Dawson formed The Smokin’ Kills when fate rolled his way – he had a spare ticket for a gig – Shooter Jennings at the Troubadour in Los Angeles as it happens – and advertised the fact on social media. The guy who offered to buy him a beer for the ticket – Tyler Kershaw – turned out to be a drummer. They got talking, and Ted Russell Kamp (Shooter Jennings’ bassist) joined them and by the end of the evening there was a new band. We’re not sure how Kevin Fosmark got dragged in, but he rounded the band out to a classic four piece.
‘Watching Hollywood Burn‘ is from the new album, ‘The Last Honky Tonk Hero’, which should appear late Summer or in the Autumn this year.