Singled Out: Kind Beast's Highway Madness

Keavin Wiggins | 05-02-2023

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Kind Beast Single art
Single art

Kind Beast just released 'Highway Madness', the lead single from their forthcoming album, "Dirty Realism". To celebrate we asked Sean Madigan Hoen to tell us about the track. Here is the story:

I started travelling North America when I was eighteen and the "drive all night" ethos was a thing that felt immediately close to heart. There were times when those trips were aided by psychotropic substances, but even without such favors I'd occasionally, due to sleep deprivation, hallucinate: the sky fragmenting; strange light ripping apart clouds; weird beasts soaring above. One recurring vision was that of wolves running headlong down the center of the road. I know that once or twice travelling companions awoke to my screams. I learned also of the crazy freedom one can feel driving deserts and seemingly endless plains, seeing lightning storms miles in the distance-I was escaping troublesome circumstances and losing myself, not really concerned with finding anything....

Those drives got into my nervous system, and I've never stopped craving the long haul. I have friends who feel the same, and share stories of having driven from Los Angeles to New York in record time only to feel a sorrow the ride is ending. I've loved the great road films-Paris, Texas; Two-Lane Blacktop; The Brown Bunny-and I've loved on-the-road writing by Sam Shepard and Denis Johnson. Perhaps most of all, I've savored the way music has accompanied my adventures in moving vehicles. There are albums I will always associate with travel; to hear certain songs is to feel myself on-the-move someplace far from home.

I've written many songs that reference driving, but one morning a year or so ago I was rereading Denis Johnson's miraculously-deranged epic noir Already Dead, during which one of the main characters, a California patrolman, encounters an incident which can only be described as a case of "highway madness." Insanity born of having driven too long on a lonesome road. I finished my coffee and wrote "Highway Madness" in about twenty minutes, realizing only after the fact that it meant to evoke that delightfully insane, transcendent state familiar to someone who has pushed the proverbial needle very far. That sense of the gods beaming down as a porthole opens in the sky to reveal a glimpse of the eternal Tao-was it all just Highway Madness?

The superior musicians in KIND BEAST fell right in and this song felt instantly a part of the fabric of my life. The ultimate delight would be to know that some stranger, some familiar-in-wanderlust might spin it on a long one... perhaps that forlorn stretch west of Green River, Utah where there's no unnatural light for hundreds of miles and to switch off the beams is to speed truly through darkness... or something like that...

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here

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Singled Out: Kind Beast's Highway Madness

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