Choo Choo Ch'boogie

The Derailers get back on track with a major-label deal

Though their Houston dates mark the beginning of a very stuffed schedule as their upcoming tour winds its way through the country, Villanueva hopes to find some time to shop. Outside of Villanueva's slicked-on-the-sides, crewcut-on-the-top hairstyle, the band is best known visually for their natty western suits. "We all have sources for them, and we were lucky that Manuel, who studied under [legendary Nashville tailor] Nudie and does suits for Dwight [Yoakam], Marty [Stuart], and Alan Jackson does some for us as well."

He found a less expensive source for the outfit that he wears on the record cover, however. "We had a photo shoot, and I didn't have anything to wear. So I went to a vintage clothing store in Austin. I walked in, and the woman took one look at me and said, 'Western suit?' and I said, 'Yes!' "

Villanueva wraps up the conversation by saying that he's taking his family to a nearby fair to see Mark Chesnutt and a bull-riding event. When it's suggested that perhaps it would be great publicity for the band if he donned that vintage Austin suit and entered the competition, he says with a chuckle, "That's notthe kind of publicity we want!"

According to Brian Hofeldt (far left), the Derailers are reverent, not retro.
According to Brian Hofeldt (far left), the Derailers are reverent, not retro.

Come to think of it, the headline "Derailed!: Slick-suited singer gored in ring" probably isn't the kind of notoriety they're looking for. But then again, there's nothing like a tearjerking near-death experience to grab radio's interest.

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