Thursday April 9:
22:00 - Danny Deane & the Homewreckers
24:00 - Big Sandy & His Flyrite Boys
Friday April 10:
21:00 - The Billy Boppers
23:00 - The Go Getters
01:00 - Deke Dickerson
Saturday April 11:
15:00 - The Smith Ranch Boys
17:00 - Kim Lenz & her Jaguars
19:00 - Big Boy Bloater & His Southside Stompers
21:00 - The Stillmen
23:00 - The Collins Kids
01:00 - The Racketeers
02:30 - The Sun Demons
Sunday April 12:
15:00 - Russell Scott & His Red Hots
17:00 - The Tennessee Rhythm Riders
19:00 - Don & Dewey
21:00 - The Treniers
23:00 - Ronnie Dawson
01:00 - Hot Stuff
Rockin' Ronny: Tom, how did you first get turned on to Rock'n'Roll as a fan. At what point did you decide to start your Weekenders over in England?
Tom: In my early teens I was listening to commercial rock'n'roll in the charts and then discovered Elvis. I just continued from there. I then became a teddy boy and a rocker. You may have seen my small part as a rocker in the film Quadrophenia. I was doing teddy boy record hops but was playing a lot of rockabilly. This led to a lot of rockabillies coming and gradually I got more into the rockabilly scene. This led to me doing record hops at a lot of clubs all over the UK and Europe. I decided to start weekenders in the late 80's because the existing weekenders in England did not cater for the rockabilly fan. This is how Hemsby came about. I was able to put all of my ideas into practice there and Pontins went along with them.
Rockin' Ronny: Tell us some of the logistics involved. What were the most troublesome obstacles you encountered.
Tom: The most troublesome obstacle for the first Hemsby were the threats from the person who was already running weekenders in Britain. I had the usual phone calls about getting my legs blown off etc etc. Yes, I was worried but I had friends (in high places). Apart from that the biggest obstacle was the worry about if people would enjoy it. I think the 17 Hemsby's I ran answers that one.
Rockin' Ronny: What were some of the highlights??
Tom: The highlights.....wow that's a hard one. The first time Big Sandy played there. The first time The Collins Kids played there. The Cadillacs were awsome. But I think getting to the Sunday night at the first one was a feeling that I cannot describe. I hope it happens again with Vegas.
Rockin' Ronny: Barney, how about your first encounter with Rock'n'Roll? When and why did you decide to start NO HIT RECORDS?? Did you have any influences, inspirations?? It's very difficult to make a living running a Rockabilly record company, what made you do it?
Barney: The first Rock'n Roll I heard; Age 12 my sister brought home a Larry Williams & a Chuck Berry lp, I was knocked out and had to hear more! I started No Hit Records after meeting Ronnie Dawson and hearing the unbelievable demoes & tapes he had lying around. When I first saw Ronnie play, I was totally knocked out, & had to record him. One of my biggest influences was the amazing sounds on Rollin' Rock records! As to why , its fun!! There's nothin better than arriving at a studio with nothing & leaving with some great new sounds.
Rockin' Ronny: Give us a bit more details on NO HIT RECORDS, i.e, who are some of the artists, future projects, memorable moments, difficult situations, whatever you like?
Barney: No Hit is a very very small record company, but we have been lucky enough to record some of the best music around in the last 10 years; we have released records by Ronnie Dawson, Big Sandy, The Planet Rockers, Carl Sonny Leyland, Eddie Angel, The Kaisers, The Neanderthals, The Panasonics, Dave & Deke. No Hit has been quiet lately as we've been really busy with our store "Sounds that Swing" and our web store "Flipsville" Not to mention Viva Las Vegas!! But this year should be a busy one. Future projects include a Mack Stevens lp due in May, He's a real wild man. Another Kaisers platter, due any day, working with Ronnie Dawson on a new disc this summer.
Rockin' Ronny: Moving on to VIVA LAS VEGAS, how did you get involved withTom?? Whose idea was it to have the Weekender in Las Vegas?
Barney: Tom and I have worked together before, we put on a big rockabilly show in London with Ronnie Dawson, Mac Curtis, The Planet Rockers and more...which was a big success and a lot of fun, We also put on Bill Haley's Comets in london another memorable night! When Tom called, told me about Viva Las Vegas and asked if I'd like to be a partner, I jumped at the chance.
Rockin' Ronny: Tom, when and why did you decide to move to the USA? How does it feel organizing your first Rock'n'Roll Festival in America, the birthplace of Rock'n'Roll?
Tom: Why? Twila. (Note: Twila is Tom's fiancee). When? Late summer 1996. At the moment I am really nervous about the first Viva Las Vegas. The reaction, the response and the support have been overwhelming. I actually feel honoured that everyone here in the US has taken to the idea so well and I hope that no one is disappointed. I felt that Vegas could be the right location and after asking people in Long Beach, I knew I was right. I can't believe no one thought of Vegas before. The Gold Coast has turned out to be a fantastic place to deal with. They want to help in so many ways. Would you believe they are even putting a 24 hour watch on the parking lot for the classic cars? And the hotel itself is ideal. We are really lucky to be having the event there. They continually come up with new offers of help in all areas. In fact I'm not nervous, I'm terrified.
Rockin' Ronny: I like the fact that you have a good variety between Rhythm & Blues and Hillbilly Bop acts, between 1950s Legends and hot new 1990s bands. What are your criteria for selecting the acts?
Tom: I don't have a criteria for the variety of acts. I like to have the good variety of styles so that there is something for everyone. As they say, variety is the spice of life. I think that to have every band the same style could get boring. There is so much great music within our scene so let's enjoy it. As for a criteria for the standard of acts, thats a hard one. I just see or hear the bands and then decide.
Rockin' Ronny: What precautions do you take that we will get what we expect, i.e. Real Rock'n'Roll with a good sound system?
Tom: I have booked a great sound system. The operator is Twilas brother who really knows his stuff. He is a professional sound engineer and knows exactly what we need. We think that no one will be dissapointed.
Rockin' Ronny: From what I have been hearing VIVA LAS VEGAS is shaping up as the ultimate Rock'n'Roll gathering. The enthusiasm created is contagious, and cats are flying in from Argentina, Australia, Europe, Japan, all over the world. Tom, Barney, you wanna comment on this, add to it?
Barney: I can't wait, its gonna be a blast! Friends of mine from all over the world are coming and man we are gonna have ourselves a ball.
Tom: I hope that everyone enjoys it. The hotel is already booked for next year so if anyone has any ideas, comments or suggestions, let me know.
Rockin' Ronny: Please give us a schedule of events and a listing of acts.
Tom: Everything on the web site is current and up to date. VIVA LAS VEGAS, 1998
ED. NOTE: Ronny has added a "non-official" event he's throwing: THE INTERNATIONAL ROCKABILLY REBEL MEET & GREET - LAS VEGAS, April 8, from 2:00pm to 8:00pm, here at his "Rancho Ronny" house).
Rockin' Ronny: Tom, Barney, what's up for the future, 1999?
Tom: Viva Las Vegas is going to be every year, on Easter Weekend for as long as people keep coming. The Gold Coast is already booked.
Barney: It's gonna get bigger & better!
Rockin' Ronny: Anything else you guys wanna add, comment?
Tom: The Gold Coast is as excited as we are. The amount of help they are giving us is unbelievable. The Gold Coast is a beautiful hotel and they treat all of their guests with utmost respect. We are very lucky to have this hotel and the fact that we have already done the contracts for 1999 shows that they believe in the event and they believe in all of you. I would like to thank everyone who has made this possible; Barney for his belief in the event and so becoming a partner, Twila for her help and support, Jim & Maya and everyone who has helped distribute flyers. This event is as much yours as it is mine.
Twila & Tom
E-Mail Ronny at Rollin' Rock
ROCKIN' RONNY WEISER - On-site Rockabilly HOF web page