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Off the Charts: Jimmy Speed

Bud Gambrell

May 22, 2024

Jimmy Speed's music is a unique blend of fast, hard, and heavy rock.

Hello all! Welcome back to Off the Charts! I’m glad you’re here!

I’m a bit excited to turn you on to this next band. Jimmy Speed is a local band I’ve heard of but have yet to see live. I assure you that will change! I may have heard the name from bands that played at a former location in Huntsville called Sidetracks Music Hall. If you’ve never heard of Sidetracks, I wrote a book about it, but we are not here to discuss that.

Let’s start this article a little differently. I want to wet your pallet just a bit with one of the band’s videos. Please turn this up before continuing to read this interview. See below.

Jimmy Speed comprises various musicians from the Huntsville area in Alabama. It had its humble beginnings in founding member/lead singer Lyle Douglass’s bedroom. I got invited to a band practice recently, where I had some time with Lyle before the band introduced me to their new song, Paradise, where I was able to ask Lyle for a little history of Jimmy Speed's origins.

OTC: How did you come up with the band name Jimmy Speed?

LD: Jimmy Speed started in my bedroom. I'm writing songs because that's always been my passion. I've been a songwriter since I was a teenager at home. And so, Jimmy Speed was sort of the name I gave myself just for my own released music because I didn't want to release a Hard Rock album called Lyle Douglas. And so, I thought, I need to come up with a rock'n'roll name. My first name is James, so I thought, well, Jimmy works perfectly. I had to come up with a stylish last name, so I thought Speed worked because some of the music I wrote at the time was fast, hard, and heavy. So that's how that name originated. Our music is a unique blend of fast, hard, and heavy rock, a style that we've honed over the years and that sets us apart from other bands in the area. 

Jimmy Speed
Credit: Facebook

OTC: What year did the band form, and how did you get to the lineup of musicians you have today?

LD: In 2015, I joined forces with Mono Stereo, a local cover band formed by guys from Blackeyedsusan and Dragmatic. Chris was in Dragmatic, Donnie Pylant, and Jay were in Blackeyedsusan, and then their bass player Glenn was the bass player for Brother Cane. He's back with them playing again. They brought me in to be their lead singer and rhythm guitar player. That's how I met Chris. And then, in 2016, my brother passed away. I had a bunch of songs written, some of them dedicated to him. I asked Glenn and my friends Brian and Chris, hey, do you mind just getting together and doing a one-time gig of original music at the Sportspage? It was just kind of a one-off thing. And so that's how it started. It was just an original gig that we did, and after that show, the guys said, it's cool. Let's continue doing some of these songs, and that's when it originated. I guess that was around 2017 when Jimmy Speed first formed with the lineup of Brian, Chris, and Glenn Maxey. But then, when the pandemic hit in 2020, Glenn had a tough year and had to step away from the band. At that moment, like many other bands in 2020, we had to ask ourselves, what will we do? Are we going to keep doing this? Brian, Chris, and I decided, yeah, we want to.

We're still passionate about this. So, we kept writing songs. We went back to the studio. We kicked around some bass players like Mike Staten from Tres Locos and Michael Cline from 5ive O’clock Charlie. They stepped in and helped us out for about a year or two. We've known Gary for 25 years. On a whim, we just said, hey, man, we're interested in you playing bass for us. The other guys are busy. Not that Gary wasn't busy, but he said I'm interested. And so, it looks like, hopefully, I crossed my fingers. He's going to be a permanent guy.

Jimmy Speed
Credit: Bud Gambrell

OTC: What are your biggest influences when you're making music?

LD: I am admittedly a product of the 1980s MTV generation. My riff writing is very percussive, so it's very Metallica-ish. Some of it is Megadeth-ish. But I also like Weezer-esk hooks. Chris is probably more of a 90s guy himself. And so, we bring out our inner Motley Crue, Weezer, and Metallica when possible.

OTC: How would you describe the music that you create?

LD: I try not to get too fancy with genres. I know there are so many subgenres of rock. To me, it just gets silly. I've always categorized this, just as you know, as heavy rock, heavy rock with elements of soft rock and elements of metal.

Let’s pause for a few minutes and check out another song!

OTC: Talk to me about your approach to writing new material. Is it a collective effort, or do you do the writing and bring it to the band?

LD: It typically starts with me at home doodling because that's just what I do. It's just kind of my passion. I can't help myself. I've always done it since I was a teenager. So, it usually starts on the guitar. I'll come up with something, some hook on the guitar. I will hear some vocal lines without any words. Something like that will come across my mind as I'm playing. I think, OK, those are the syllables I need. I need to come up with some words to fit, and sometimes, it's a random line like in one of our brand-new songs, Paradise. I'm playing the riff, and the line spontaneously came as “I'd Walked 1,000,000 Miles on a One-Way Road”, and I had to stop and go, OK, who's on a one-way road? Who's walked 1,000,000 miles? What is that story about? And so it could be a spontaneous lyrical line that comes to mind. And so, you write a song based on an idea. 

Jimmy Speed
Credit: Bud Gambrell

OTC: We talked last week, and you were in the studio?  I'm guessing that means we've got new material coming out. Tell me about that. When?

LD: It's probably going to be released later this year. We're now working with engineer Ben Holloway at Five Points Recording Studio. We've worked with Justin Miller down there. He's the owner. Head engineer. He did our last album, Weight of the World. But he's got a new engineer working night and night just from a scheduling standpoint, which works better for us. So, Ben is doing all the rough recording right now. We've got drums, all the main lyrics, and my guitar, but we still need to play lead guitar, bass, and some backup vocals. It's a slow process, so we chip away at it when possible. We don't have a regular scheduled time over there, but like I said, it will probably be released later this year.

Jimmy Speed
Credit: Bud Gambrell

OTC: How do the people reading right now find your music?

LD: In today's world, most people stream, so you must ensure your music's out on all streaming platforms. I've done that. Social media is such a circus, but at least it gives you the tools for reaching thousands of people at a very low cost. I've done sponsored ads, and we've got videos on Facebook with 10s of thousands of views. 20-30 years ago, I know the dream of all musicians was to get signed, and that's still great if you have corporate sponsorship and that corporate push, but social media at least gives small artists the tools to do it kind of themselves. But now, people must search for us on their favorite streaming service, Jimmy Speed.

OTC: All right, one last question. If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be and why?

LD: You know, I think that I've compared our music most closely with Volbeat. Love or hate them, Volbeat is hugely popular, and its music is heavy but melodic. They've got a lot of melodic hooks. Their singer is not necessarily a screamer, and that's always what I've gone for. They have a heavy sound but a lot of hooks, so that would be my dream.


I didn’t come up with that last question; my editor/publisher, Nicole, did. Thanks, Nicole! That was a great question! I liked it so much that I asked the other three band members the same question to see the variety of answers I might get.

First, I asked bass player Gary Fullerton.

Jimmy Speed
Credit: Facebook


OTC: If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be and why?

GF: My first choice would be Iron Maiden. Steve Harris greatly influenced me back when I was a kid. My second choice would be The Warning. Those girls from Mexico are kicking ass!


Next, I turn to guitarist Chris Robinson. Although I had already asked the question twice, the guys took their time and thought about the answer.


OTC: If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be and why?

CR: Oh my gosh, that's a great one. Oh, man. Oh my gosh, you stumped me. I was thinking Avenged Sevenfold, but I was like, am I that good? It would have been Mötley Crüe or Guns N’ Roses when I was ten. You know, next level.


One last band member. I asked drummer Brian Miller the same question and got a very eclectic answer.


OTC: If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be and why?

BM: Man, is that like a current existing band or any band?

OTC: It can be any band.

BM: Man. I would open for The Doors. Absolutely! Because I want to meet and talk to Jim Morrison. It's as simple as that. It's like a lifelong ambition stolen from me at age two. What can I say?

Jimmy Speed
Credit: Bud Gambrell


I’m going to have to take my advice on this band. Don’t snooze on Jimmy Speed! Unfortunately for me, I have yet to see them play live. Yet! I was fortunate enough to sit in on a band practice and could tell this band is meant to be seen live! Keep an eye out for upcoming dates. With new music coming out, that can only mean one thing. New show announcements!

Follow Jimmy Speed at the links below. Drop by and buy some new tunes. Watch the music and keep up with the band news.

Be sure to drop by and send me an email. Let me know if you have a good recommendation for a band out there that is killing it. Or you can drop me a line and say hello.

Until next time,

Keep your diamond down in the groove!


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