Jeff “Skunk” Baxter: First-Ever Solo Album ‘Speed of Heat’ 6/22; Stream a Fresh Take on “My Old School”

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, revered Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist (and ballistic missile expert with the United States government), with a resume featuring timeless work as a key figure in Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers and beyond, will release his very first solo album on June 22.

Titled Speed of Heat, the collection features original songs and some inspired new takes on classic tracks — like the Steely Dan favorite “My Old School,” which Baxter shared as a preview of the record. Featuring a rare lead vocal turn by Baxter, it’s a lively introduction to the album to follow:

“I always felt that the song had a lot of rock potential,” said Baxter of that song, per a news release. “That was my goal going in, to muscle it up.” He reveals that his gutsy vocals came about by accident: “I laid down a scratch vocal because I really wanted Steven Tyler to sing it. He heard what I’d done and said, ‘Hey, who’s singing on this?’ I told him it was me, and he said, ‘Well, it’s really great. You should do it yourself.’ I thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t. So I took a shot and the reaction has been very positive.”

Click here to pre-order Speed of Heat on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pre-order Speed of Heat on LP from our Rock Cellar Store

More on what to expect on the record, per a news release:

Another standout track sees Baxter revisiting his back pages once again for a spine-tingling re-imagining of Steely Dan’s first hit single, “Do it Again,” this one built around a spacey, slithery, almost hallucinatory R&B groove over which Baxter drizzles spunky, jazz-tinged leads. There’s also the luminous original ballad “Juliet,” radiant with dreamy, glistening guitar lines and a lyrical nylon-string interlude that aches with emotion. “When I played it for my daughter, she said, ‘It’s like a sunrise,’” Baxter recalls. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

“You go into making a record with so many expectations, but I can honestly say that the finished album met and exceeded all of them,” Baxter says. “It was immensely gratifying when my musical peers would come up to me and said, ‘Hey, I heard you’re making a solo album. Can I sing or play on it?’ That’s a wonderful feeling. Throughout the entire process, and with CJ Vanston’s extraordinary talent and support, I strove to achieve something new, compelling, singular and exciting with each track. I believe this collection of songs and performances realizes that goal and trust that those who listen will come away with the same sentiment.”

Baxter has led an incredible life and career — and Speed of Heat is its next exciting chapter. Stay tuned for more.

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