The Rechords Q&A: Aussie band may embark to the U.S.

Every now and again I get tired of hearing new bands. Nothing new sounds appealing to me. Then one day something pops up on my radar and my mind is blown. In this case, it was a couple of years ago. The band that got my attention? The Rechords from Australia. This drummerless trio from down under are one of the most underrated modern-day bands. Awesome honky-tonk rockabilly, they can sound more American than most American bands. If Hank Williams and the Everly Brothers had triplets this would be it. I was very fortunate to exchange some words with Tyron Shaw their stand up bassist/ co vocalist.

Rockabilly Nerd: Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions. When and how did you guys get started?

Tyron Shaw: We got the band together back around August 2009.  It came together out of a passion and want of getting a Western Swing kind of act together and it was coincidence that I got to meet Leo Francis (Acoustic Guitar and one of our main lead vocalists) via our mutual friend and legendary local Vintage recording guru, Graeme Thomas of Preston Studios here in Victoria, Australia.  He introduced me to Leo and we kept in touch as Leo was keen to start singing some Hillbilly style music, it was around that time I ran into an old friend Felix Potier who I knew from the Salt Flat Trio and The Macarbarettas from Perth, Australia.  Felix had recently moved to Melbourne to live and is known for being a great Guitarist and I’ve always admired his versatility, he too seem to have a similar idea of wanting to do an early Hillbilly / Wester Swing band.  Well, one thing led to another and we hooked up as a 3 piece just to start rehearsing and seeing what we could do, thinking we’d be adding a drummer and maybe pedal steel later on but seems the trio sound was all we needed from audience reactions.  Now it’s blended into something quite unique.

Rockabilly Nerd: For the uninitiated how would you describe your bands musical style?

Tyron Shaw: Well, as first expected….we began sounding very early Hillbilly, Honky Tonk with a hint of Western Swing but now our sound combines a lot more, it has aspects of early R&B / Rockabilly / Alternate Country / Bluegrass and you could even say there are some ‘Pop’ structures to a few songs.  We also get a lot of inspiration from vocal harmony groups and musical genres like Doowop, etc.  We definitely stand apart from most trios in this kind of style as we don’t just have one Lead Vocalist, all three members share lead vocal work but mainly between Leo and Felix plus we combine 2 and 3 part harmonies at times as well so you’ll always get a lot of variety in our shows.

RN: Any new releases in the works?

TS: We are currently always working on new songs but nothing ready to release as a new project however our most recent release was our LIVE RECHORDING Album that was produced from two live shows we performed in Victoria, Australia back in December 2014.  You can check this out and purchase a copy via our website.

RN: What artists inspired what you do musically?

TS: You would have to say most of the early Hillbilly groups and artists from the 30’s, 40’s and even into the early 60’s.  Some to mention would be Rusty & Doug Kershaw, Bob Wills, Faron Young, Hank Williams, plus the usual suspects performing early the Rockabilly sound like Johnny Cash, etc.  Also some of the Bluegrass greats like the Stanley Brothers, etc had a big influence on our harmonies too.  But as you grow as a band you also become influenced by current and more modern acts the likes of JD McPherson, the Reigning Sound, Wayne Hancock, etc.

RN: On your EP you included drums on the songs “Don’t Know Much” and “Big White Moon” that I don’t believe I’ve heard from you before.  Great tracks! How did that come about?

TS: Yes that’s very correct, we are normally a 3 piece just consisting of Upright Bass, Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar but when we wrote ‘Don’t Know Much’ which was the leading single off that EP titled ‘It Won’t Be Long’ we felt it had a slight ‘pop feel’ about it.  So we decided to try and give the song more ‘radio appeal’ and sort the experience and services of a producer to assist us with obtaining a sound that was still ‘The Rechords’ but maybe needed a little more ‘edge’ to get the attention of general radio station folks.  So we embarked on a recording session with Lindsay Gravina of Birdland Studios here in Victoria and produced a 4 track EP with the inclusion of the track you mentioned ‘Big White Moon’.  The drummer we used on this EP was a very good friend of the bands as well as her being a big fan of our hillbilly heritage we were influenced by, however even she was torn by the concept of perhaps spoiling the trio sound we had developed by adding her drumming to the mix.  But after some convincing by both ourselves and the producer she was excited by the project and came on board. Sue Shaw had been a drummer for many great independent acts over the years and had even found minor fame in a local act in the 80’s called ‘Girl Monster’ which found themselves with a recording contract and such and has also been involved with other legendary acts here like The Exotics and also plays some mandolin in a Bluegrass outfit.

RN: Have you played out here in the united states ? Any plans or hopes? (I’ve tried throwing your name out there for viva)

TS: We haven’t toured the USA as yet but since you’ve mentioned it, we are in the early stages of planning for a potential tour there in 2017.  We have toured Europe extensively back in 2011 and again in 2013 but the USA is a little more difficult due to the lack of funds to obtain there to make the trip viable but we are determined not to let that stand in our way.  We have a few friends who we have performed with who are musicians over there and they have always suggested that our sound would kill it back in the U.S. plus we do have a small but growing fan base there so we thought it would be worth attempting.  So any potential venue bookers and ‘legitimate’ promoters out there in the USA, feel free to get in contact with us 😉

RN: Anything you’d like to  say to anyone reading this?

TS: Just that we would dig it if you would swing by our online sites to check us out, help support our cause by buying our music (we prefer you buying the physical CD’s as bands get ‘jack’ out of this online streaming caper and digital downloads) and tell everyone you know to get behind The Rechords endeavour to tour the USA in 2017.  We would love to bring our music to you since it’s the land that has heavily influences our sound of ‘Americana’.

RN: *whistles innocently and hides Rechords mp3s*  I would like to thank Tyron once again for taking the time to answer some questions. Also, for giving me the hope of seeing The Rechords live one day in the USA. Take notice promoters! You can go to the official Rechords website HERE to purchase their albums. Also to keep up to date with them go LIKE their Facebook HERE

Wanna keep up with my rants, reviews, tales, and all sorts of pertaining to the rockabilly world go LIKE the Rockabilly Nerd Facebook

Come back next time when I’ll show up at 3 am for a show because none of the girls I went with could be their hair perfect on time.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Mike Ness Syndrome pt 2: And the Hootenanny disease

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“So you’re gonna see the Smut Peddlers next week?”

“No I’m not really into a lot of punk”

“But why do you have Mike Ness hair?”

Picking up where we left off. Not going to kick Mr. Ness while he’s down. I already made my peace on the last post. Which you can read HERE! I wanna go a little further into the disease known as “Mike Ness Syndrome”. It isn’t just about confused Social d fans. Because this has added symptoms. These symptoms will be mentioned after I post the following pic because this is just killing me not to share it.

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Nice screen shot right? This was taken from a Vice magazine article from a year or so ago. A long-winded article. Like three pages worth. It was called “Why hasn’t rockabilly come back around again?” You can click the link if you want. It will only make you mad if you actually listen to rockabilly. You notice that it brings up Social D. Heres a spoiler, ITS THE ONLY BAND THAT THEY EVEN MENTION IN THE ARTICLE! No mention of current acts. No WILD RECORDS, no current labels. Hell there is no mention of Imelda May, Reverend Horton Heat, or JD McPherson. All three have had billboard chart success at the time. Small success but still seeing a rockabilly (or rockabilly esq) on the charts is insane nowadays!

Feels like whoever wrote that just browsed through a Wikipedia page, asked a buddy to mention a rockabilly band that doesn’t know shit, dropped their pants, sat on their keyboard and continue to write from their ass. I’m gonna assume maybe this person went to that legendary festival of all things rockabilly HOOTENANNY!

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Oh yeah, I promised you a symptom. Now this is true! I’m not lying. But one cause is assuming that ALL bands that appear at hootenanny are officially a rockabilly band. Yes I’ve been approached with folks calling Dropkick Murphys a BILLY band! This once promising pre INK N IRON event (oh god that’s a whole article waiting to be typed) was a staple of orange county rockabilly and roots music. Stray Cats, James Intveld, The Cramps (thats arguable but I love them), Luis and the Wildfires, Big Sandy have played there. But as the years went by it became a full-blown punk festival. A punk festival that many an orange county folk would call a rockabilly festival. The last line up was so sickeningly cliché with SD as the headliners you would’ve had to pay me to go. Thank goodness that was the last one.

It’s currently 2016 and we’re now going 3 years since the end of this pile of garbage. Yet the smell of that rotting corpse still lingers. I still hear stories of all the bands that played there and everyone immediately assuming I love every band. To be honest I can’t stand Dropkick Murphys. I hate their sound. I was as insulted by the simple-minded comparing them to the music I love that I forgave the guy that once asked if “Mambo No. 5” was a rockabilly song. THAT HAPPENED! I’m happy hootenanny is gone. Maybe something else will pop up and we can enjoy it. Until the promoters get greedy and there won’t be a stand up bass in sight. Or if there is I’ll be bombarded with questions about the “cello” on stage. THATS HAPPENED AS WELL!

There, if you’re a Mike Ness supporter heres his best material ever. I’m not saying its his best because he didn’t write any of the songs. I’m just saying that…I’m not going to say it out loud. But HOOTENANNY, I believe if there is a concert/festival Hell. That traitor of the rockin world is currently there. And may it never return!

Now this ends doing two posts a week. Starting next week I’ll only do one a week on Tuesday. Except when I deem appropriate since I’m my own boss.Come back once again on Tuesday, where I’ll show you how to use a stapler to catch that slap bass sound if your bass isn’t slappy enough.