The night the members of Pecos & the Rooftops wrote the song that gave them their breakout success, they really weren’t even a working band yet – just a bunch of friends who went to college together in Lubbock, Texas and liked to hang out and jam to cover songs.
The quintet’s frontman, Pecos Hurley, had just begun writing songs, and he was playing the chords to one when magic struck: One of the other guys began singing a chorus to it.
“Damn, that’s good,” Hurley recalled saying during a phone interview for BandWagon. “Do you care if I try to finish it?”
Finish it he did, and the result, “This Damn Song,” was such a smash that many struggling songwriters are probably throwing up their hands upon reading this. The single now has nearly 55 million streams on Spotify alone, which is 50 million more than their next most popular song on the platform, “Wouldn’t Have To Miss You,” part of the band’s 2020 extra play release Red Eye E.P.
In fact, the release and success of “This Damn Song” two years after it was written inspired them to get serious. “Once we released it and it did so well, it was, ‘Well, I guess we have to be a band now,’” Hurley tells BandWagon.
Of course, Hurley finished the song in 2017, before the band began writing songs together and touring as Pecos & the Rooftops. They haven’t matched that song’s success yet, but they have high hopes for their first full-length record. They released a song on December 17, “Last Night’s Lashes,” which has had a good response on Spotify so far, Hurley said.
They’re now touring in support of the upcoming record, playing the Outlaw Saloon in Cheyenne on January 13 and Summit Music Hall on January 15 in Denver, surrounded by dates in Deadwood, South Dakota, as well as Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The Rooftops haven’t tried to match the success of “This Damn Song,” nor have they tried to copy the sound, Hurley said.
“That’s when you just start spinning your wheels or trying too hard,” he said. “We’re just trying to write what feels right and staying true to that. [“This Damn Song”] was just one of those songs. I don’t know how to explain it, really. The other music is doing well, too, but it’s just not on the same level. That song just caught a different kind of traction.”
That could be frustrating, but Hurley calls the success a blessing. They might not have even become a proper band if it hadn’t hit so hard; they were just friends from school who liked to play music together, after all. The tune got them a touring slot with Kolby Cooper, which led to more success and even more gigs. Hurley calls that tour, more than the song, their big break.
The band, or “This Damn Song” at least, sounds a bit like Hootie and the Blowfish back in the day, with a gritty mix of mid-tempo country, folk and straightforward southern rock. But The Rooftops have never talked specifically about their sound or what they would want it to be. Among the members, they have similar tastes in music, but only kinda, Hurley said. They just write.
“It’s still all over the place,” he said of the band’s style. “We will all enjoy it whenever someone plays some music, but you can also tell who [the writer] is by the music.”
Hurley says the new album won’t stray too far from what the band’s fans know and love, with an aesthetic he calls half rock and half slower, more mellow vibes. They feel prepared for the next steps and feel good about the music they’re making. They’re looking forward to building their longer-term careers after such a fast start.
“We had the songs written before we went into the studio,” Hurley said. “I feel confident about it now, and the guys like the songs. We are just ready to get it out.”
BandWagon Presents Pecos & The Rooftops live on Thursday, January 13th at the Outlaw Saloon in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Visit Pecos-Rooftops.com for more on the band and grab tickets at BandWagonPresents.com