Rockabilly at the Movies!

Besides music, the other thing that is universally beloved by 99 percent of humanity is movies. Today instead of just talking about music we’ll be checking out Rockabilly in the world of film! (if you have any complaints I believe a lot of you enjoyed my Wrestling with rockabilly post a couple of weeks ago). Lets just get this straight. We’re talking about modern-day rockabilly movies. Maybe one day I’ll talk about Hot Rod Gang and Don’t Knock the Rock. But I’m gonna talk about a list of films I’ve compiled from the past 20 or so years. No films that’s simply based on being in the 50s. No “Outsiders” and definitely NO “Grease”. It just doesn’t count. There is no BILLY music. Just a bunch of shlocky 70s pop music. I know there are lots of fans but that movie is a complete dumpster fire. I said it! Burn in hell John Travolta. Now to the list!

Rockabilly Zombie Weekend (2013)

 

First off, if you’ve been watching Walking Dead like I have. You’ll be annoyed that they are full on calling them “Zombies” instead of “Walkers”. After all these years of being annoyed that people in zombie movies didn’t know anything about zombies. We finally get what we want. And its annoying. The story is simple there is a hillbilly wedding going on. A crop duster filled with a chemical made by a mad scientist with an eye patch. Drops said chemical on towns folk in a rural florida town that turns people into man-eating zombies. Now to the music. All done by a band called Killer Moonshine. I have no complaints. Heres a music video..

The film honestly feels like a 90 minute cheap psychobilly music video. The acting is fairly bad. Nothing too original in the plot. The film in grade A cheesy. The cast gave me flash backs to folks that would go see Chops Tops in orange county back in the day. And for some reason the best lines in the film go to the lead actress’s asshole step father “I’m having more fun than a tornado in a trailer park”. Yet I feel this would be a great movie to see with your friends. Pop some popcorn and make fun of the damn thing. Have an MST3K night.

Rockabilly Vampire (1996)

I absolutely love the music in the soundtrack! Three Blue Teardrops, Frantic Flattops, The Amazing Crowns!

Next to the music I’m also a huge fan of Troma (Toxic Avenger movies, Class of Nuke em High, SGT Kabukiman NYPD). Love love love their movies. Low budget violence and gore that have charmed me for almost my whole life. So in 1996 I guess they ran out of fake skin and make up. Cause the most violent this film gets is fake blood dripping off this fake Elvis’s lip(I’m confused I believe he is supposed to be Elvis…or not…I’m just gonna watch Bubba Hotep). The story centers around a girl who is obsessed with Elvis and all things 50s. One day she meets a man who looks a lot like someone from the 50s. The man (you guessed it) turns out to be a vampire. If you’re a girl Id imagine that you’d find this film cute. Its like Twilight but my ass didn’t hurt while watching it. The dialogue can be painful. Without the gore, it makes it somewhat hard to watch. I’d say watch purely for the music. “You mean a vampire?” “Of the rockabilly kind!”, that just hurt. Best part: The fight between Eddie and the Beatle guy.

Cry Baby (1990)

Hey, dig it. All you hepcats and cool chicks! The Citizen Kane of rockabilly films. One of Johnny Depp’s greatest performances(I’m gonna get so much crap) as well as my favorite John Water’s movies. Music of James Intveld and Dave Alvin of The Blasters. Everyone looks amazing. Quotes galore!  This epic live scene..

Cry Baby Walker falls in love with a rich girl square named Allison. The two worlds of drapes (or greasers) clash with the squares. One of my favorite movies of all time. And I hate musicals. This is one of my favorite movies. I’m not even sure what to say other than if you haven’t seen it already. You should go buy the dvd immediately…now…stop reading this blog….go get it! This film shaped who I have become as a man (though I’ve never stolen hub caps or gotten into a rumble with squares).

INTERMISSION

We’re happy I’m basing this off of movies with music in it, right? Instead of Pretty In Pink with Ducky dressed up as a Teddy Boy. And that stupid Grease movie, that I hate. Just in case you forgot. Now you may ask yourself “WHY?! WHY DO YOU HATE GREASE?!”

Also I decided to exclude Stephen Kings “Sometimes They Come Back”. Though this is a pretty nice screen shot.

And Shea Labeouf in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls is a big no no (admit it you saw it!)

Ok one last movie

Rockabilly Baby (2009)

So this film came to my attention on Facebook the other day. Noticed that nobody had seen it. So I decided it was my duty to review it for the rockabilly masses. First a warning, 99% of this film is done in a dressing room( that way you’re not too weirded out at the 20 minute mark). You know you’re in for a treat when they highlight that they’re going back to 1954 by showing a picture of Richard Nixon (who did not become president until 1969!). Parts of the film contains flash backs and maybe two 30 second live performances. Rockabillly Baby was based on a play and after seeing this…..it should have stayed that way. Or at least should have been done with a better cast, director, budget, film company. Lots of arguing and lots of references to one character’s “pork missile”. This whole thing felt uncomfortable. At one point I was getting flash backs to Brokeback Mountain. Not going to give away any spoilers but I was right with that guess. There are some good quotes that are executed very badly (about that pork missile). Everything feels very unrealistic. Unlike the camp musical comedy and the two cheesy horror movies I mentioned earlier. This is a drama so I feel there should be some realism here (there isn’t!).  The story is…..well I kinda feel there wasn’t even really a story. If you wanna give it a look once I say do that same thing I did and just rent it for $1.99 HERE. I say its worth watching once….and once only. With people around so you don’t fall asleep after looking at the same dressing room for 80 minutes.

Enjoy this entry? Give it a like! Share it on social media! Go LIKE the Rockabilly Nerd Facebook

Come back next time where I’ll yell outside of John Travolta’s home about how much I hate Grease.

p.s. Pork Missile!

Advertisements

10 of the best bass slappin rockabilly songs

Oh that sexy wooden animal! Not 100% necessary in rockabilly music but it makes it so much sweeter. That added percussion (cause it needs to be slapped!) can drive someone into a frenzy that could cause them to throw their underwear at a band (slight exageration). Even I catch myself playing “air stand up bass” (I’m not that only one right?).  In today’s entry I present to you 10 of the best slap stand up-tastic songs (does that sound uncool?) ever…..or the best I could think of at the moment. Enjoy!

Elvis Presley “Thats alright mama”

Call it cliché. But Bill Black’s work on this record was the template for all things rockabilly for the last 62 years.

Skeets McDonald “You oughta see grandma rock”

This is just epic slapping! I’ve tried to search for who did it but there seems to be no one listed. That or I’m a terrible blogger. Just listen!

Imelda May “Johnny got a boom boom”

Bass played by Al Gare, this is ridiculously simple to play (according to multiple musicians I’ve talked to) but even more infectious.

Lee Rocker “String bass, guitar, and drum”

I’m a big fan of Lee Rockers solo work. Bullet Proof is classic early 2000’s rockabilly. This was off his 2007 album “Black Cat Bone”. Luckily I don’t have to look up who’s playing cause…you know….hes the bass player. Here he sings about his time in the Stray Cats while giving that wooden instrument a good beating.

Bill Haley and his Comets “Rock a beat boogie”

Marshal Lytle did that diddy! Bill Haley and his Comets has some of the best slap bass from the 50s. Rock Around the Clock would’ve been too cliché.

JD McPherson “Signs and Signifiers”

A slow one for a change. One of the greatest bass solos ever made. Don’t even try to disagree!

Hi Tones “Night of Love”

Released on Wild Records a couple years ago. This is just a damn good song.

The Ricochets “Migraine”

I know, I know……..I know. This is borderline psychobilly. In my opinion this era of the band is just straight up neo rockabilly (first time I’ve posted that term on the blog…HOORAY!). The bass here gets more slappy than anything made by the Stray Cats (can I use the term slappy?)

The Desperados “Lets Have Some Fun”

One of my favorite modern-day rocknroll acts. They’ve remade this song which is amazing in its own right but this has a special place in my heart. One of the best Wild Records tracks ever.

Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys “Chalk It Up To The Blues”

One thing this blog has been missing since I started it is Big Sandy and His Fly Rite boys. Shame on me. Shame shame! Classic modern rockabilly. Not just the bass,  every instrument is right. Its essential to this list. Or any list. Make a shopping list for someone and randomly put “Chalk it to the blues”. It won’t make any sense but in a way it will…..okay it won’t.

Hope you enjoyed this collection I’ve compiled from my brain. Maybe you’ll make a playlist and walk around the grocery store while people wonder what that clicking sound is coming from (it’s happened to me!). Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree. Any other songs you think are the best?  I do heavily recommend you LIKE the Rockabilly Nerd Facebook to keep up to date with current Rockabilly….Nerd….stuff…..oh boy that should’ve been more creative.

Come back next time where I’ll critique waitresses at 50s diners on how they’re not accurate.

 

Tiger Army V…_: Dawn of Justice

Warning: I know its not rockabilly but bear with me here.

Well the wait is over. After years of anticipation. Not thinking it would ever come to fruition. It finally arrived…to some fan fair. Some hated it. Some absolutely loved it. Then there is what seems to be the majority. People who aren’t sure what to think. All this for….Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (gotcha!!). No folks I’m talking about the new Tiger Army album V …_ (or for short I just verbally call it “five”). Their newest released flew out of the darkness Friday of last week and the Facebook posts have been interesting.  Then finally I gave it a listen.

Now let me take you back nearly 9 years ago. I took a bus from San Clemente Ca on an hour trek to Laguna Beach to a place called Sound Spectrum. Bought the recently released Tiger Army album “Music from Regions Beyond”. Opened it up. Popped it in my portable cd player (it was 2007 I had yet gotten a smart phone or an mp3 player) and listened. To me at the time it felt like a normal case of a band doing a “sell out” album. It happened to any rock band at the time. They got a little tiny bit of success with an album (that being III: Ghost Tigers Rise) and they change their sound a little. Here, Nick 13’s guitar playing changed a little. A couple sounds almost reflecting more popular emo rock bands during that era (at least that’s how I saw it at the time). I was disgusted by this album. This band was the gateway drug that got me into psychobilly and that lead to my obsession with real rockabilly music and you gave me THIS! How dare you Nick 13! How dare you!  But without realizing it, I was voluntarily playing it a lot…I mean alot. Next thing you know I had an epiphany! This was a damn good album. Regardless of what genre or sound they created. It has amazing songs. Just a more polished version of what most think psychobilly should be.

Fast forward to 2016, this time I downloaded the album. Saves me a bus trip from my current home in East Los Angeles. It starts off promising. The prelude is vintage Tiger Army. Though for the first time there is no “Tiger Army Never Die”. Track two “Firefall” is a kick ass number. I’m thinking there is hope after all. Next the Del ShannonPrisoner of the Night” pops up and luckily I wasn’t in for too much of a shock since I’ve already watched the video so I knew this kooky track was on its way. Immediately the most unique sounding TA song ever. “I am the moth” is next and hope is still there! “World without a moon” comes up and its excellent. Sadish lyrics mixed with a happy synthesizer sound. I can hang with this. I’m eclectic. And then this happens…

“Dark and Lonely Night”, Hmmm half way there and we’re already on the slow song. Usually the TA formula calls for this type a bit more into the later half of an album. Best way to describe this is imagine the scene in Back To the Future, at the dance where they’re singing Earth Angel and Marty’s parents as teens fall in love. This song would be perfect to dub over that scene. Unfortunately I absolutely have to skip over this. I’m not a fan of slow slow slow ballads. Following this is “Knife’s Edge“. Unleash the trumpet! Yes you read that right! “Devil Lurks on the Road” is once again full of keyboards. I’m wondering if the band added a keyboard player and forgot to announce it. It’s actually a good song so I’ll let it slide. The song “Happier Times” follows…

Ok….another slow song?

Still don’t like it. I cringed when I played it just now to remind me. Actually it picks up. Just a little. Sounds almost like it should be in a 90s Mentos ad. “Train to Eternity” is the tradition of a TA country song on each album. I can hang with this. I love it to be honest. Makes me wanna pop out Nick 13’s amazing country album that you should all own! “When the tide comes in” rolls by and I’m….

Ok I can handle this……I can handle this. “In the Morning Light” is the final track on the album and Nicky boy sings us to sleep. Literally I could feel my eyelids start to drop as I heard it. This album made “Music from Region Beyond” sound like death metal. It was slower than most Morrissey albums. Too many slow songs. There are really good songs in this. I feel like with time I might appreciate this album more. I don’t wanna say the album was bad at all. I also don’t wanna say it was good. Dear god its Batman V Superman all over again!! I can appreciate a band not wanting to do the same thing all over again. As much as I love TA’s first three albums, I sometimes can’t tell some songs apart. All three to a degree sound like the same album. Nick 13’s solo album was full of slow songs but the thing about that record is that I expected slow songs. So kudos for being different. I can’t call this a “sell out” album at all. I don’t see any of these songs as a means to get a huge hit. They recorded what they wanted to record and its now in the books. Hopefully 9 years from now after the impending apocalypse I’ll look back and say “WOW what a great album!” at the moment I can only give you a shrug. Just like I did for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

If you like what you read feel free to share on Facebook or twitter. Go Like the Rockabilly Nerd Facebook page

Come back next time where I’ll show you what medicine to take after eating a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.

 

 

Horton Hayride:Top 5 Bands you have to see!!

Hootenanny is long done. Ink N Iron’s corpse is barely getting cold. Who shall be the heir to the throne for So-Cal rockin festival supremacy? Well at the moment it seems that The Rev has grabbed the torch and running with it! For the third year in a row Mr Heath has booked a show with an epic line up. Hell I’m not even mad they got a couple of punk bands on the bill (after hoot ended those poor guys need to eat). But who am I kidding the sad fact is a bunch of people are going to go to see Bouncing Souls and Manic Hispanic (I actually like those guys because listening to only one genre makes you boring). So I devised a list of the top 5 acts you absolutely have to see!

5. Reverend Horton Heat 

Oh you expected him to be number one? Or not on the list at all? Well he’s definitely on the list because they are THAT good! So many classic songs! So many classic albums! One of the best live acts ever. They can play for 2 hours and have you begging for more! Master of his craft! God bless him for coming up with an event such as this (and for so damn cheap! 25 bucks!) I’m not going to spend a whole bunch of time on him so….moving on!

4. Lance Lipinsky and The Lovers

You ever have that song you hate yourself for liking. Like the video I just posted, the first  half the song I’m like “oh god this is ridiculous” by the end of it I absolutely love it! Say Hello to Lance Lipinsky! Coming from Texas along with Rev. He’s currently fulfilling the rockabillly worlds need for piano pounding rocknroll in the style Jerry Lee Lewis. If you do like piano you’re in luck, look him up and while you’re at it google Ezra Lee, and Isreal Proulx. He brought the house down on the main stage this year at Viva. Not even going to lie I was seeing another band and will forever include missing his set as one of the biggest regrets in life next to when that I wore a v neck t-shirt.

3. Junior Brown

You know, the first time I got to see Rev was at the House of Blues in Anaheim about ten years ago. And Junior Brown opened for him. Epic REAL country music with the spirit of rocknroll somewhere in there. Great guitar player/ songwriter. I’m gonna go ahead and listen to some Junior Brown right now. Even if you don’t like country just watch him play his guit-steel! Transitioning from guitar playing to steel guitar action. It’s a sight to behold. Guitar geeks take notes. I might be a little biased. Being raised in the south my dad used to sing along to Highway Patrol. Now I’m carrying on the tradition.

2. Pat Capocci

Australia has some amazing acts (The Rechords, Ezra Lee (again! yes parenthesis inside parenthesis) The Living End, ummm ACDC). You folks are so incredibly privileged to have this guy fly all the way over here. Great traditional rockabilly. Another guitar maestro included on the line up. You should get off this page immediately and buy his albums!

Hell he gets two videos on this entry! Come in early cause I’m fairly sure he’ll be one of the first acts to hit the stage. Though he deserves to be right to co headline.

Honorable mention: Los Skarnales and Viernes 13

I’m halfway sure I’m breaking some rule here posting a ska video. Don’t care. I love ska and I love that two latin ska bands are billed in this fest. The music in la county is ever-growing and damn good (told you that listening to only one genre is boring). Major cool points for catering to the So-Cal Latino community (hey Manic Hispanic is on the bill too).

and the number 1  band: The Delta Bombers

Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare tell me that you’re just going to see Bouncing Souls and Reverend Horton Heat. Don’t you dare! As you know I have a major love for Wild Records acts (look HERE). Real rocknroll. One of the best live bands on the market. They keep getting better and better. Every album is 5 stars.. I believe Mr Heath is a fan. Best description of these guys is the following: imagine 4 bottles of Jack Daniels learned how to play instruments. This is what would happen! If you’ve never heard of them before do yourself a favor and go see them. YOURE WELCOME!

You like this post? Feel free to share it on social media. Go like the official Rockabilly Nerd Facebook

Come back Tuesday when I’ll try to give my beard Bettie Page bangs.

 

 

 

 

The Mystery of The Sirocco Bros

In my infinite quest of finding out about new bands, artists, albums, etc. I stumbled on some interesting YouTube videos. They played samples of two songs each by a band called The Sirocco Bros. I absolutely loved what I heard. Very low fi yet loud.  Hypnotic guitar. Obviously new but felt the song could pass for actual 50s recordings. They weren’t doing quite what other rockabillly bands were doing. They to me, sounded more underground. They were harnessing really obscure rockabilly. Like a more organized version of Hasil Adkins. (not a single joke in the first paragraph, I’m so proud of myself)

They released their music through 45s. Great idea in my opinion. 45s are for DJs. And that got DJs playing them at shows. Let me tell you, “Stomp” sounds amazing on loud speakers. Eventually they released all their singles digitally on the album “Sirocco” and later a physical release (cause you can’t say cd or even compact disc anymore kids) called “Shake”. Such a damn good album. Its so dark and yet uplifting (like lift your ass to the dance floor exorcise some demons). “Devil Bones” almost feels like its being recording during a Voodoo Ceremony. No joke, I’m almost certain dark magic was used in making this collection of songs.

So I’ve been a fan for a bit. It’s currently May 2016 and I realized I know absolutely nothing about the band. I just know they have music, thats it. Now there are bands I listen to that I have no clue as to what they look like or anything. I have them LIKEd on Facebook and I can’t recall ever seeing a photo of the band. Never a live shot. Never seen their name on a show or event poster. Cant even name a single member. So I decided to check out their Facebook page and browse through their photos.

Screenshot_2016-05-15-14-59-18

Only promo pics of their 45s and albums. Who are these guys? I went as far as to start googling. Now I’m pretty web savvy. I can hunt down virtually anything. I mean it. I’m someone who can brag about their search engine skills! But all my efforts went nowhere. Outside of the Rollin Records pages (where you can purchase their amazing 45s) I couldn’t find jack. These guys were a complete mystery!

So I went asking around for information. I asked for guesses. I had my own. I assumed they were the ghosts of obscure 50s rockabilly artists that came together to form a super group. But they can’t perform live or take photos of themselves because ghosts can’t be photographed. One guy came to me with this:

I have a picture of them that was discovered in a Peruvian coal mine, apparently they are several hundred years old.

13246212_10154226843707082_2898841623380066669_o

I had a sneaking suspicion this a was a hoax(IT IS!!!!!). Who is this mystery band! I sent the band an email on their Facebook. According to fb it was read almost immediately but absolutely no reply. At one point I began to suspect The Sirocco Bros were merely a figment of imagination. Maybe I’m in the matrix! IS ANYTHING REAL!

It was around this period of time of me questioning reality that I saw a comment on Facebook by a mystery man who I’m sure wears a black trench coat and sunglasses throughout the day (I’m probably extremely wrong on that….I am). He went on to explain that the members of The Sirocco Bros were all established uk rockabilly artists that did not want to tour. Just record music. With no interest in being stars.

What a genius concept. I know artists have done similar thing in the past (the Phantom, Los Straight Jackets). But here’s a band that’s completely about the music. No crazy stage shows. No one talking about someones sweet pomp. 100% about the music (more like 95% about the music and 5% the cover art). Maybe one day we might be graced by these guys presence at a festival (might have to update my fantasy weekender post). I’m not going to complain. As long as they keep doing what they do I’ll buy it!

For their most recent ep you can purchase to download HERE

Go LIKE the Official Rockabilly Nerd Facebook !

Come back next time where I’ll review the Nashville Boogie weekender that I didn’t go to. Based purely on instagram pics and YouTube videos!

Update: A couple of days after writing this blog I received a very nice email from The Sirocco Bros back.

Screenshot_2016-05-18-13-04-35

Wrestling with rockabilly: Updated

Warning: the following is god awfully silly and should be read with your pants on.

In the 80s, wrestler the Honky Tonk Man came into the wrestling world. Dressed in Elvis jumpsuits. A finishing move called Shake Rattle and Roll (I believe Bill Haley did that first but I’m not judging…on that). And the sweetest sideburns in the history of the biz (no homo). The video above is his tag team with Greg “the Hammer” Valentine called Rhythm & Blues. Now we had two Elvis jump suit wearing guys (Greg dyed his hair black for this) and look at this cheesy entrance. You got the poodle skirt girls in the front seat to give it the cringe worthy cheese of a Happy Days episode (oh I’m sorry , I never liked Happy Days and its based on the 50s! Why in the hell is that chachi guy wearing a jumpsuit?!?! That is 70s Elvis! How long can I keep typing in parenthesis?).

Luckily this didn’t go any further with this. And the Honky Tonk Man went on to live on an island with a soccor ball for the rest of his life.

Oh I take that back. Look! He must have managed “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn at some point. Whats that Honky? He wasn’t always known as Billy Gunn? His name is on his jacket? Ok Billy turn around..

You sons of bitches!

Yep right before being a member of New Age Outlaws and DX. Mr ASS was known as Rockabilly, Honky Tonk’s protegé! This happened!! Not 100 percent sure what a guy with long blonde hair is doing with a name that screams “slick back hair”. Unless they listened to Johnny Powers and got really confused.

This song would’ve suited him! But his entrance music sounded like a Stray Cats album threw up every where. Observe!

Its like Brian Setzer exploded inside a thrift store.

Let me just bash you over the head one last time. This actually happened!

I love that there’s a dumpster fire next to the name. Very appropriate. Fortunately this didn’t last long. And the WWF(now WWE) decided to never venture down this avenue.

I LIED!

Yes these heavy metal guido lookin fellas were known as Duece and Domino! This was WWE’s attempt at a greaser/Grease inspired (I hate Grease) tag team. Along with Cherry who would accompany them to the ring on roller skates! Funny factoid, the guy on the right did an interview about how he only uses Murrays. As whats?!  Do you chuck the cans at homeless people? They lasted a little longer than RockaBilly Gunn but quickly went nowhere. Another interesting factoid: The one on the left is Sim Snuka, Superfly Jimmy Snukas son. Thats the only good thing I can say about them!

And the music that played before they were gonna give someone a beat down?

Schlocky doo wop! Its just as bad if they had used a Social D song.

Thankfully all is not lost. Current wrestler Dean Ambrose is a Delta Bombers fan and I believe that makes up for everything you’ve witnessed on this post.

Hopefully you enjoyed this wacky little entry. Feel free to read my other rants and observations on this rockin world we coinhabit. Also feel free to LIKE the Rockabilly Nerd Facebook page HERE .

Tune in next time where I’ll graffiti the inside of a bathroom stall at a Ruby’s Diner!

Update 6-20-2016

WCW in the early 90s. Hired a young drag queen (ok he wasn’t really) that went by the name Johnny B Badd. Ok I actually liked this guy. Until WWF hired him under his real name, Marc Mero. His theme was so bad that I refuse to post it. You know what, I take it back. I hate you Johnny B Badd, you allowed a pop country song to be the theme for a guy that is supposed to be a wrestling version of Little Richard.

box01

Go get him Honk!!

wwef_36561967_th_64 (1)

 Updated 6-20-2017 (total coincidence it is one year to the day I last updated this page.

wwe-great-balls-of-fire-logo-1496907410-800

You’re reading that correctly. WWE have created a new pay per view named “Great Balls of Fire”.  Sounds weird. I love Jerry Lee Lewis but….it doesn’t scream wrestling. Honestly thought this was a big joke but nope. It happens July 9th this year and despite the name I’m fully planning on watching it live. And do you think those guys checked if they could use the name? Nope! Jerry Lee was on the verge of sending a cease and desist letter to them (he actually owns the trademark to the phrase and title “Great Balls of Fire”. You can read up on more HERE.  Oh and in case you didn’t know, the company is also using the song as the pay per view’s theme. Looks like they’re trying to go with a 50s feel. I’m still not sure if I’m liking it. Let me know how you feel in the comments.  If you know of anything rockabilly and wrestling related hit me up in the contacts section located on the top of the page. Until then enjoy the killer below.

How rockabilly made me proud of where I’m from

In 1983 yours truly was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. I lived there for the first 21 years of my life. Now all of this happened before I got into the rockin world. That unfortunately came a little after I had moved to southern California. So during the first twenty-one years of my life I was totally clueless to the rockabilly world. Had no idea any of it existed. As far as i knew no human being listened to anything more than 10 years old. As an Arkansan (yes that’s the term!) I was not only lost on that concept but I didn’t think anything musically came from the Natural State (also what it’s called). Outside of christian nu metal hit machine Evanescence.

I assure you it hurt to post that pic but I felt it was needed. In the 2000s christian metal such as Living Sacrifice and Soul Embraced were the only thing I thought had ever came from there. In early 2005 I left Little Rock under this impression to the sunny beach town that I now crap on at every opportunity. Fast forward a few months later I started learning about BILLY bands(the psychobilly stuff I got into will be for a future post right now we’ll focus on rockabilly). Fell in love with a Johnny Cash “best of Sun” as well as a compilation album of sun records artists. And just like I did with the history of Doritos I decided to go on Wikipedia to learn more than anyone should. What I read blew my newly pompadoured head!

Johnny Cash (though country but still amazing!) is from Arkansas. It’s an absolute shame since I grew up there and can’t recall (outside of maybe one or two myspace friends) meeting a single Johnny Cash fan. Nor have I ever once recalled anyone ever mentioning such a fact. I’ve met more Cash fans here in So Cal than I ever did there. Then I looked deeper and…

One of my favorite songs I had discovered on that comp was by a man named Billy Lee Riley. Another fellow Arkansan! Then I did even more looking up. Turns out Sun Records (factoid Tennessee is right next to Arkansassy….no one calls it that, just me) had a lot of my people on their label. Sonny Burgess, Sleepy Labeef, Conway Twitty (Harold Jenkins), Charlie Rich, Mack Self, Jimmy Evans (ok he wasn’t actually signed to sun). This was major news to me. Music that had an actual impact on rock n roll came from my home state. All of a sudden the place I was raised. The same place I felt was the most insignificant state in the USA was no longer so insignificant. I had home town (or state but feel like I’ve typed “state” one too many times) pride for the first time ever.

Not just Sun Records artists but also various other artists like Pat Cupp. Who years after his initial recordings had recorded for Rollin Rock records during the rockabilly revival in the 70s and 80s. A time when alot of guys got the recognition they deserved thanks to rockabilly rebels in Europe (god bless them!). Legend Skeets McDonald is also from there.  I discovered a double 45 for record store day by Andy Starr and discovered….oh you get it.

Now once I finally calmed myself down upon these discoveries a few things made sense. The rockabilly sound originally came from the south. “Are Can Saw” is the south (YES IT IS!!). The sound is a combination of hillbilly music and the mostly black rock n roll of the time. Nothing screams Arkansas to me more than white teenagers thinking they are black. Unfortunately the tradition is not having such great appeal as it once did.

And none of these guys would be rocking if it was for Sister Rosetta Tharpe! From Cotton Plant, Arkansas.

Finally after being in the rockin world for the past decade I went to VIVA for the first time this year. Got to see Sleepy Labeef for the first time. It was also the first time I had gotten the chance to see an original rocker from Arky perform live. I was nearly in tears.

Come back next time where we’ll pick the best way to use “stray cat” and “13” as a twitter handle.

p.s. If you wanna read up some more HERE is a link on Arkansan Rockabilly that I did my best not to copy off of.