Kids today probably have no idea what a Studebaker is, but back in the day, those American-made cars were just about everywhere and didn’t look like anything else on the road. The same is true of singer-songwriter Mando Saenz.
Born in Texas and of Mexican descent, Saenz named his latest roots-rock album after the now-defunct vehicle, but the title really comes from a catchy song called “Pocket Change” co-written with Shelly Colvin.
Toying around with a slinky guitar riff one day, Saenz mumbled the line, “Where’s my Studebaker?” and Colvin ran with it.
“Shelly gave me lots of freedom in the song,” he remembers. “Most co-writers would have stopped me after blurting out ‘Studebaker’ and thinking we could build a song out of it. We had written a lot by that point, so she was used to my creative side, I guess.”
Now it’s his most popular tune, and fans often tell him how much they love “the Studebaker Song.”
When it came time to make a video for “Pocket Change,” there were no Studebakers to be found. Instead, Saenz and director Steve Condon came up with a classic comedic-chase montage through the heart of East Nashville.
“I was aware that there would be some running after reading the treatment for the video,” says the still-winded singer. “I just didn’t realize it would be that much. Riding that little bike was the hardest part, though. One of the tires was flat. Didn’t make it much easier.”
See Mando Saenz run for his life in his video for “Pocket Change.”