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.

 

 

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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.