Friday, January 29, 2010

Hotrod Hillbillies – bringing honky-tonk psychobilly from Texas to Southern California

Fast cars, fast women, whiskey, cocaine and Texas. That’s what Hotrod Hillbillies are all about. I tried to find a few songs about other topics, but other than a tune about a comfortable couch, most of their songs really do fit into those 5 categories.

The band originally hails from Austin, Texas, but the current touring line-up features two of So Cal’s very own - Tony Slash on upright bass (from The Rocketz) and David Cisneros on drums (from Badluck Bandits) – alongside lead singer/guitarist Xavier Ortiz. Putting these three together makes one hell of a band. I checked out this new line-up at the Old Town Pub in Pasadena last Friday, January 22, 2010.

Like other psychobilly groups, Hotrod Hillbillies definitely has fair doses of punk and rockabilly. But what makes them different is that there’s a good deal more alt-country/cowpunk, as you’d expect from a Texas-based band. So you can wreck for a few songs, but go ahead and indulge in some good old-fashioned two-stepping during the more country-flavored tunes. (If you don’t know how to two-step, find me at the next show!)

Accordingly, instead of the macabre cemetery-obsessed lyrics of a lot of the darker psychobilly bands, Hotrod Hillbillies will have you shuffling your way through rednecky, hillbilly topics that make you want to drink enough beer (or whiskey) to forget about your ex. Check out these song titles off their 2005 album Under the Texas Sky: ‘Let’s Alcholass,” ‘Spaghetti Western,’ ‘Redneck Girl,’ and ‘Pissed and Depressed.’


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Local psychobilly shows this weekend, Jan 29-30: "Rev It Up," Rockabilly vs 80s, and The Chop Tops

This month continues to be jam packed with rockabilly/psychobilly shows in the Los Angeles area. Last week, fans of the genre were treated to a host of excellent shows, including Hotrod Hillbillies (now with both Texas and So Cal members) at the Old Town Pub in Pasadena, Gamblers Mark at the Surf City Saloon in Huntington Beach, and tons of skacore, punk, and psychobilly bands (including The Chop Tops, The Rocketz, Gamblers Mark, and more) at the Veteranos del Underground festival in East LA.

But don’t stop getting out there. There are plenty more local bands playing this weekend:


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Large music festival this weekend where psychobilly, reggae, ska, punk, and rockabilly meet

A collaborative music festival with psychobilly, ska, punk, and reggae.
Check out something new this weekend at the "Veteranos del Underground" festival where psychobilly shares the stage with ska, punk, reggae, and rockabilly. Also among this weekend’s highlights: Hotrod Hillbillies from Texas on tour with local musicians from The Rocketz and Badluck Bandits, and Gamblers Mark takes on the Surf City Saloon in Huntington Beach with The Riff Raffs. See you there!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Stellar Corpses haunted the Gilman and will slay the Valentine's Ball Feb 13 at the Fox Theater

Ankh if you’re horny.” That was the best joke of the night, and I heard it from Dusty Grave from Stellar Corpses who was sporting his newly-purchased ankh earring as evidence of his fascination with Egyptology. Stellar Corpses brought their high-energy show to The Gilman in Berkeley last Saturday, January 9, 2010, with Plan 9 (a Misfits cover band) and The Remones (obviously, a Ramones cover band).

Hailing from Santa Cruz, where the legendary 1980s vampire flick The Lost Boys was filmed, Stellar Corpses offer a unclassifiable hybrid of punk, horror, psychobilly, roots rockabilly, surf, goth, death rock, and metal. Made up of Dusty Grave (vocals, guitar), Dan Lamothe (upright bass, back-up vox), Emilio Menze (guitar, back-up vox), and Kyle Moore (drums), the band brings a diverse range of influences: The Damned, Elvis, The Misfits, AFI, Bauhaus, Depeche Mode, Good Riddance, Tiger Army, Demented Are Go, Danzig, and much more. Plus, they’ve toured with good friends Resurex, The Creepshow, Calabrese, Nimvind, and Blitzkid.

Combine those musical influences with a taste for horror fiction and movies, as well as personal interests in history, psychology, astronomy, and world religions, and life experiences of betrayal, love, loss, and death, and you get … well … not anything you can easily slap a label on, but rather a culmination that can only be called Stellar Corpses.


Interview with Stellar Corpses: Bringing diverse influences to Santa Cruz psychobilly

Just before they stormed the Gilman with their unique brand of psychobilly-horror-punk-surf-metal-rock n roll, I got a chance to catch up with Santa Cruz-based band Stellar Corpses featuring Dusty Grave (vocals, guitar), Dan Lamothe (upright bass, back-up vox), Emilio Menze (guitar, back-up vox), and Kyle Moore (drums).

Read the review of the show here.

Be sure to check out their upcoming LA show with Frantic Flintstones at the Valentines Ball at the Fox Theater in Pomona (click here for more info).

KK: How’d you come up with the name Stellar Corpses?
Dusty: It’s an astronomy term. It means dead stars. Dead stars can literally mean stars dying like supernovas and black holes. But there are also dead stars like Elvis Presley, whose birthday it was yesterday. [Elvis would have celebrated his 75th birthday on January 8.]
Emilio: There are a lot of dead people that we like and love and look up to.

KK: Who are some of the dead stars that you influenced you?
Dusty: Vampira, she died recently. She’s one, for sure. And I’ve been a fan of Elvis my whole life. I think that he’s very charismatic and really a good showman. He had a great voice and really pushed the envelope for his era.

KK: How come horror is a big part of your band’s image and theme?
Emilio: Many reasons. One reason is that people are afraid of it.
Dusty: It’s about the things that people are afraid to look at in themselves. I find that most people that are afraid of horror and think that it’s bad are people that just don’t really like to admit that evil and darkness are part of everybody.
Emilio: I think horror is a lot of fun, too. It’s not a real serious thing. Like when you go to see a horror movie, it’s not a movie where you want everyone to be quiet in the audience. I really like in a horror movie when the crowd yells and cheers and reacts to what’s going on. I think it’s kind of like a rollercoaster too. It takes you close to death and danger, but you’re totally safe. Nothing will ever happen to, but it definitely feels like something can. And at the same time, horror movies make you not take your life for granted. Because your life would be way worse if you’re being chased by some murderer with a weapon, or you’re being hunted.
Dusty: I think horror is the mirror of what’s going on in mainstream culture. And there’s all this death on tv and people say they’re not into death and horror yet they sit there watching the news about who died, who got blown up, who got raped, who killed who, who did all this stuff, and then they tell us that we can’t do your art like that because that’s bad. But it has to come out some way. You can’t get fed all these images and then just stuff it.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Guana Batz, Big Sandy, and more rockabilly/psychobilly shows this MLK Jr. weekend

January has been a busy month for rockabilly and psychobilly fans in So Cal. We started off the year with a highly anticipated show - Nekromantix, Mad Marge and the Stonecutters, Moonlight Trio, and The Howlers at the House of Blues (read the review and see photos here).

Then last weekend we celebrated what would have been Elvis' 75th birthday, and earlier this week, on Monday January 11th, we remembered Andrew Martinez in our hearts. R.I.P. Mr. Andy Demize.

This weekend offers some great shows, including local roots rockabilly band Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys on Friday, and one of the original English psychobilly bands – Guana Batz – on Saturday. Both shows are at The Juke Joint in Anaheim.

CLICK HERE for more info on all the shows this weekend.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Swinging in 2010 at the House of Blues: The Howlers, Moonlight Trio, and Nekromantix concert review

People had been looking forward to this show for months. Nekromantix hadn’t headlined in Los Angeles for some time, so the anticipation was tangible and the crowd was highly charged.

The House of Blues Sunset Strip was sold out for the January 2nd show, and, even at 6:30 pm (one hour before the doors even opened), the line wrapped clear around the corner and a good ways down Sunset Blvd. I was able to get in early to interview Moonlight Trio (more on that later) and by the time I made my way back downstairs, the place was packed shoulder to shoulder.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE and see more photos from the House of Blues show featuring Nekromantix, Mad Marge & the Stonecutters, Moonlight Trio, and The Howlers

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Celebrate Elvis' 75th birthday at a rockabilly or psychobilly show this weekend - January 7-9

Elvis' influence is alive and well in today's rockabilly/psychobilly.
January is a busy month for rockabilly and psychobilly fans.

Last Friday, fans of local music got a treat at “Rev It Up” with a diverse mix of L.A. psychobilly (check out a review here).

Last Saturday was also a big night: Nekromantix, Mad Marge and the Stonecutters, Moonlight Trio, and The Howlers put on a crazy excellent show at the House of Blues (review coming up shortly – in the next day or two – please check back soon).

Plus, it's Elvis' 75th birthday this Friday, January 8th. You might believe he's a zombie, you might not. You might believe he's not dead. Or you're a fan of Bubba Ho-Tep and believe Elvis is out there living it up in a retirement home chasing bad things. Either way, celebrate his lasting impression on psychobilly and rockabilly by getting out there, supporting live local music, and having fun. You might just see him there...

So CLICK HERE to find out about all the shows you can see this Thursday, Friday and Saturday to pay proper tribute to Elvis' lasting impact on rockabilly and psychobilly...

Monday, January 4, 2010

A diverse night of psychobilly kicked off the new year: Final Days, Liquor-N-Poker, The Vagrant Dead

Spike’s Bar and Billiards in Rosemead was the place to be last Friday (January 1st) if you wanted to kick in the first night of the new decade with some psychobilly-hybrid style.

I arrived as guest DJ Johnny Eagle was spinning a diverse a set of punk, rockabilly, and psychobilly, including Fifi’s punk-tinged cover of The English Beat’s “Mirror in the Bathroom” from the SLC Punk soundtrack.