Elvis Costello Reunites With First Band for New Album ‘Rusty’

Elvis Costello and his first bandmate, Allan Mayes, will release their debut album, Rusty: The Resurrection of Rust, on June 10, 50 years after the band formed.

Costello and Mayes were still in their teens when they performed together in local clubs. Five decades later, they’re returning to their musical roots. “So, when [Mayes] asked me if I wanted to celebrate this anniversary by getting together to play a few songs that we used to know, I said, ‘Absolutely not!'” Costello explained in a press release. He had another idea in mind: “Let’s make the record we would have cut when we were 18 if anyone had let us.”

Mayes had already established Rusty, then a quartet, by the time Costello joined the band on New Year’s Day 1972.  Performing under his birth name, D.P. MacManus, Costello performed in Liverpool clubs several nights each week for the next 12 months with Rusty. They secured a Friday-night pub residency during that time in nearby Widnes. Despite the abundance of live shows, they never made it to the recording studio before Costello left Liverpool the following year. “I asked if Allan wanted to come with me,” Costello said. “But I had a place to live with my dad and he had a steady job to give up, and I suppose I thought we might travel lighter and further alone.”

Costello is now touring with the Imposters in support of their recently released album The Boy Named If. Mayes now lives in Austin, where he “still plays other people’s songs that other people want to hear in a strong true voice,” according to Costello. Mayes contacted Costello about a reunion project, and the new record was born.

Rusty: The Resurrection of Rust reunites the old friends with newly recorded versions of six songs drawn from Rusty’s 1972 set lists, including the Costello-penned “Warm House” and an original Costello-Mayes collaboration called “Maureen and Sam.” The album also features duets on two Nick Lowe songs, “Surrender to the Rhythm” and “Don’t Lose Your Grip on Love,” plus a version of Kentucky songwriter Jim Ford’s song “I’m Ahead if I Can Quit While I’m Behind.” The album wraps up with an arrangement incorporating two Neil Young songs, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and “Dance, Dance, Dance,” which features Costello’s debut on the electric violin.

The album not only serves as a reconnection with Mayes but ties together Costello’s musical past with the present: Rusty includes backing by the Imposters. “Allan and I quickly rediscovered the vocal blend that convinced us that we might conquer the world (or at least Widnes) when we were teenagers, but to bring Rusty into the 21st century, I enlisted the talents of the Imposters,” Costello said.

Elvis Costello & the Imposters will wrap up their European tour on July 1 in Aarhus, Denmark, and plan to launch a U.S. leg of the tour in August.

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