Playing raucous, strutting hard rock with a classic sense of style and contemporary sweat and swagger, American Bang were a four-piece band from Nashville whose were determined to prove there's still room for rock in the world's capital of country music. American Bang were formed in mid-2005 by members of two busted Nashville rock acts. Lead guitarist Ben Brown and drummer Neil Mason had worked with Llama, who released an album for MCA in 2001 that largely fell on deaf ears, while lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jaren Johnston played drums with the Kicks, who released an album for TVT in 2004 before splitting up.
Johnston had been writing songs after the collapse of the Kicks, and invited longtime friends Brown and Mason to help him put them into shape; teaming up with bassist Kelby Ray, the four friends began playing Nashville rock clubs as Bang Bang Bang, and were packing 300-capacity venues within months of their debut. By the end of 2005, Bang Bang Bang had self-released their first album, I Shot the King, and within a year the guys were sharing stages with acts as diverse as O.A.R., Shooter Jennings, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
In 2006, Bang Bang Bang signed a recording deal with Warner Bros. Records; one year later, the band began working on its first album for the label. Before the project was completed, though, the group learned that another band was already recording under the name Bang Bang Bang, and in August 2007 the bandmates announced they would now be known as American Bang. The group released an EP called Move to the Music in October 2007 and continued working on a full album, which eventually arrived in 2010 under the band's new partnership with Reprise.
American Bang's album failed to live up to sales expectations, and Ben Brown left to launch a solo career. Johnson, Mason, and Ray continued as a trio, first using the name the Cadillac Black and later the Cadillac Three; the new band opened tours for Eric Church and Dierks Bentley, appeared on the hit TV series Nashville, and released a self-titled debut album in 2013. ~ Mark Deming