A teenager sees my Wild Records shirt. “Whats Wild records?” I go into a little detail and included that they have a lot of rockabilly bands. He then replies “soooo its a record label full of bands that sound like Social Distortion”. If my eyes could bug out of their sockets that would’ve at this statement. After ten years in this so cal beach town (that really really really cut themselves off from the rest of the world) I never got used to hearing “the only rockabilly band I listen to is Social Distortion”. Even typing this I’m shaking my head.
I’m not sure if anyone else has experienced this. I seem to tell folks this and they usually look at me in complete disbelief. Coincidently its the same look I get when I explain that SD is NOT A ROCKABILLY BAND. There is nothing remotely close to the 50s style to it. There is no stand up bass (it’s not totally essential but I love the sexy wooden animal). It’s mostly distorted guitars. But not once in their entire discography have they ever done anything to the style they seem to be associated with! Though Prison Bound was sort of cow punk album I could never consider them that style. They are a punk/ rocknroll band that’s it. Id imagine people would cry if they were to be sent back in time to 1954 and find out none of the bands sound like SD!! I mean become near suicidal.
Now why do so many folks jump to this conclusion. I understand that unless you’re into the music you have no clue to the scene outside of Stray Cats. Surely it’s not because Mike Ness has his hair slick back?…it can’t be? You can’t categorize a band purely based on the lead singers hair cut!…..Who am I kidding that’s exactly what they did. Same folks will literally assume a band is BILLY based on little details.Hipster folk bands that include a stand up bass will get that label. Hell, I had another guy run up to me cause he went to a rockabilly show. I looked at him prepared to hear something mind blowingly stupid and asked who did he see. His reply “REEL BIG FISH”.
Now I don’t blame Mr Ness or Aaron Barret (he has better hair in my opinion and I also like third wave ska). I’ve been told Mike is a good guy and he does not consider his band a rockabilly band. His solo album full of country covers Under The Influence is a really good album and everyone should listen to it (I’m not including that album as a cause to the confusion based on the fact that I dont know anyone that has listen to or even heard that album). There I covered my tracks. Please don’t send any hate mail or death threats my way.
Tune into my next post where I’ll show you how to pin strip your toilet with a chicken.
p.s. You read that correctly on top. This is part 1. I have too much material by being surrounded by so many idiots that I’m gonna make this into a series of posts relating to the general public being super confused. And I’ve declared this deranged mental state Mike Ness Syndrome. Enjoy!!!
After the end of that one awesome weekender in Vegas I started to think. “Are my shorts too short for this pool party?” OK I didn’t go to the pool party. What I really thought was “who should be at next years event?”. But this isn’t just about who I’d wanna see at viva. This is more like what would cause me to go equally crazy like I did at this years vegas event. Who would i book if i could get my greedy hands on some awesome bands and have them at the same show. If it was a perfect world. Who would I get? Without further ado here are 5 bands I’d kill to see share the same stage in the United States of America!
1. Marcel Bontempi
Who didn’t hear at least one Marcel Bontempi song while everyone was dancing last week (or the week before, Vegas trip really messed with my head)? Since going on his own Mr Bontempi has made some of the best 45s the last couple of years. I think I speak for everyone when I say my heart sunk a little bit when I read his only US appearance was gonna be at the Nashville Boogie. Heres hoping that he comes over to the west coast (and everywhere else cause I’m not selfish) next year.
2. Shakin Pyramids
Now this is a little far-fetched. They’ve been broken up since 83. But members do tour in other bands. So why not come together since…you know they’re not the Smiths. Seeing Restless, Jets, Brian Setzer, and The Polecats really got me wanting to see some 80s English acts. To quote Tim Polecat “it used to be you had to be from the 50s to play viva, now you have to be in your 50s”.
3. Savage Breed
Yes they did play a few days ago in the city of sin. But it was in Brandon’s pub and that line was sooooo loooooong. It was so long the owner of their label look like he had trouble getting in! I gave up. Fortunately I’ve seen them about 3 times before (awesome and energetic live show) and got a hold of their debut album on wild records(eargasmic by the way). I feel more folks should have a chance to see this new breed of american rockabilly up close.And buy their lead singer a drink!
4. The Blue Cats
Yes MORE 80s bands!!!! MORE 80s BANDS WITH THE WORD “CATS IN THEIR NAMES”. I have no idea if they’re ever played in the u.s. before. I only recently gotten into these guys. Mostly from their recent(ish) live album.This was a good case of “HOW IN THE HELL DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS!?!”. I definitely wanna see these before the inevitable zombie apocalypse .
5. Frantic Flattops
We covered 80s and we covered current acts. Lets try to reunite my favorite 90s rockabilly act from the East coast The Frantic Flattops. I hardly know anything about these guys other than they’ve been broken up for a good ten years. I had sent someone to get me a Frantic Flintstones cd at amoeba but they came back with this band album by accident. Talk about a happy accident! Hi Fi Honey turned into one of my top favorite rockabilly albums of all time. I selfishly would get these guys back together just for MYSELF!!!
Like my list? Got anyone else you’d like to see? Got a fantasy list of your own? Think this list is stupid? Let me know!
Next blog post is friday where ill give pointers on making the perfect pin curls and how to shave your legs using a carburetor.
p.s. honorable mention The Sirocca Bros as a hologram!
This is the post excerpt.
After ALLLL these years I went to my first Viva!!! Holy hell what a time I had. Surrounded by rockabilly lovers from all over the globe. Folks from 20 countries were there. I knew there would be a lot of non american folk there but holy hell! I almost felt that they out numbered us. It was a beautiful sight. My respect goes out to all the folks that flew in from around mother earth. They rocked out so hard. Their enthusiasm was unmatched and I hope to one day travel to the other side of the globe to pay back the favor. One thing that can make a show great is not just the band but the audience and everyone brought their A game!
My apologies for the crappy video quality. I got to witness a total of 14 bands. Everyone spanked that crowd into submission. Highlights being The Jets, Delta Bombers, Jittery Jack and of course Brian Setzer. DON’T JUST GO FOR THE BOOZE SEE THE BANDS. I meet so many people that went, paid for the wristbands for the full weekend. Then find out they never saw a single band play. In Rockabilly the music comes first, in my humble and equally handsome opinion. Its insulting to the bands in my opinion. Why are you even there. Theres people there who don’t even look like they belong there having the time of thier life. God bless those folks.
I implore you to please sashay your ass to Nevada April of next year for Viva 20! Even if you’re not quite into the music. The people watching is epic. You get to drink out of a boot. And there are bands that truely deserve your attention. Tj Mayes especially( new album From the Plains to the Piers available HERE. As well as the Delta Bombers and classic bands like the Polecats and the Jets. Big shout out to Ezra Lee, if I had a pair of panties I would have thrown them at you! As well as The Space Cadets, you have a new fan in me.
Be sure to check back here where I’ll go on rants. Give reviews. And quite possibly impregnate your web browser.
p.s. Thank you so much Tom Ingram! You glorious man you!