Pensacola-based Cadillac Attack is branching out towards Destin audiences, but they are far from a new band.
Vocalist and guitarist Todd McCabe formed the band is 2000. “When I started the band, I played the stand-up bass and then I had another guitar player and I had a drummer, and we went like that for a little while,” he says. “Like any business you’re in, you have a turnover rate. Musicians come and go. It eventually evolved into where I moved back over on guitar and I sing, and Jimmy Ray plays the stand-up bass.”
For nearly 10 years, Cadillac Attack has pressed on as a duo.
As for the origins of the band name, McCabe says there isn’t a grand story behind it. “I wish I had more of a thrilling story for it, but I don’t.” After putting a slew of names in a hat, Cadillac Attack seemed like the best fit.
Although known for their lively covers, the duo has a few originals up their dapper sleeves. “I don’t have a stockpile of them, but I’ve got, let’s see, four or five that we do,” says McCabe. “In the old days when I was young in the rock bands, I wrote a lot of songs for all those type things. I guess I write rock songs a lot easier than I do country-type songs.
“When it comes to seeing us, I’ll be honest with you—you almost have to be there to really get it. The first thing you’re gonna see, of course, is you’re gonna see two hillbillies standing up on stage, wearing the old-fashioned cowboy hats and we got the old shirts on and our boots. Jimmy lifts up his big, black upright bass and you think, Oh boy, we’re in for a honky-tonk ride.”
He adds, “I tried to make this old, really old country music come back to life. We put a lot of energy into it. And by no stretch of the imagination am I a comedian, but I like to banter with the audience and have fun.”
Country tunes are their primary wheelhouse, but ‘80s rock, Radiohead and other surprises often make appearances in their sets.
McCabe began his lifelong relationship with music due to a neighbor. “I must’ve been, I don’t know, five?” he says. “The father of the family that lived next door, he played guitar. He’d always sit on his front porch and play his guitar, and I’d be playing with the other kids. I would just kinda go over there and watch him play guitar for a while, and for some reason, one day he said, ‘You like that guitar, don’t you, boy?’ And I said, ‘I sure do.’
“He started showing me a few things, and then I was ate up with it by this point. Of course, I run home, tell my parents I want a guitar and they’re like, ‘What?’ Okay. So they buy me a little cheap guitar and I practiced, practiced, practiced, practiced, practiced, and it just started from there, basically. I can blame the neighbor.”
The neighbor’s introduction to the guitar paved the way for adolescent garage bands and high school gigs at the Pensacola Fair. Cadillac Attack isn’t McCabe’s first band, but even he admits that he had “no idea it would survive this long.”
“I had my doubts at first,” he says. “Remember, I’m wanting to do old-time country music, and a lot of folks, especially young folks…I had in my head that no one will probably really want to hear this. But it’s something I like to play. I love that music and always have. I was like, well, we’ll see what happens. Much to my shocking surprise, a lot of people do like the old stuff like that.”
As McCabe puts it they are “slowly injecting ourselves into Destin more.” Keep up with Cadillac Attack as they slow inject themselves into Beachcomberland at CadillacAttack.com.