When Scott Borchetta, the founder of Big Machine Records, was charged with helming the soundtrack for Liam Neeson’s upcoming June 25 Netflix thriller The Ice Road, he decided on a rocking ‘psycho-billy’ track to anchor a collection of songs sampling the American roots music tableau. Borchetta pitched Nikki Sixx on possibly writing and executive producing a song for the film. Sixx recruited Rob Zombie and John 5, who decided to name their supergroup L.A. Rats.
Back when the idea was coming together, Sixx asked Borchetta to send him an example of the kind of song he envisioned for the soundtrack. Johnny Cash’s thumping “I’ve Been Everywhere” was already earmarked as a hopeful to be included in the film. Nikki listened and then sent it to Rob Zombie, who he thought would be a fit on the track. The two recruited Zombie guitarist John 5, and the rest is history. Both rockers felt the iconic Cash track was the perfect song for them to record. Sixx called Borchetta and asked, “Why don’t we just cut this?”
The guys were all in on the song that name-checks cities across the nation―and Zombie had the vocal gnarl to bring that weathered, long-haul tone to the song that spent 22 weeks at No.1 for Hank Snow in 1962. Laughing, Sixx says of the L.A. Rats and their affinity for this song of hard traveling, “Isn’t it ironic? This song that’s so Rock & Roll, that’s so Country, that’s so all of it – it’s the traveling circus, city to city, riff to riff, greasy cheeseburger, rinse and repeat. It’s poetry based on reality – and it’s something every one of us has lived.”
“We wanted to bring that fire that’s Johnny Cash, but it’s also how do we flip it? So John 5 and I brought in this Zeppeliny half-time thing from the beginning with Rob talking on the outro. But I also did some stuff (that suggested the original) like those big walks through the guitar parts upright player style, which is something I don’t do in Mötley or Sixx:A.M. We all had that freedom to go other places, and we did.”