Column #32 - published April 5, 2000
DRAGSTRIP77: TEARIN' IT UPIt is thanks to the Rockabilly Mailing List on the Internet that I first met Jorge Harada, the leader of Dragstrip77. We went to a buffet and Jorge told me about his ideas and dreams for the band. I thought to myself, this kid sure is full of enthusiasm, we'll see soon if he's band is any good....
AT ROLLIN' ROCK!!
"Soon" was a gig at Crown Billiards which also featured many other groups, of styles anathema to my taste: Punk, Glam "Rock", Heavy Metal, what not! I sat patiently and painfully through a couple of these "hippie" bands, when finally Dragstrip77 came on stage!!
Right away the whole mood of the room changes. Nomore bored spaced-out faces, but happy smiles of people ready to start rockin'n'rollin' !!!! Even the fans of the other bands seemed to enjoy more Dragstrip77 than their own pet bands!! Amazing!
They stole the show, as they would many other times, leaving the Punk and Heavy Metal bands in a state of shock!
It is also thanks to the prodding of Jorge Harada that I started recording again after a hiatus of 13 years!! I was content to buy CDs of great Rockabilly bands and was not planning in getting back to recording (at least not for a while). The recording equipment was in a sorry state and best be left alone.
Two years have now gone by since Rollin' Rock Las Vegas has started its new productions, and the following cds have already come out: Dragstrip77, Narvel Felts, three Mack Stevens cds, two Rip Carson cds, Bill Haley's Comets, Johnny & The Blades, and in the can are the Rollin' Rocks, The Shuffle Aires, and more Comets.
But the focus of this column is the new CD, now being finished recording, of Dragstrip77. Vocalist Andy Lopez, who in the past played rhythm guitar, is now on standup bass, Jorge still plays lead guitar, and David Van Antwerp is on drums.
Andy has been playing stand-up bass for only a few months, but his performance has become outstanding, the notes are right on, while he's spanking that puppy hard and consistenly, never missing a bone-cracklin' slapperoo!!
What impressed me much during these recordings is the tightness of the drums/bass combo and its relentless rockin' Big Beat, which kept me shakin' in my seat all thru these recordings!
Add to this Jorge's blistering guitar solos and you get some savage Las Vegas Rock'n'Roll for sure!
I should add that Lopez' vocals have become more aggressive and intense since we recorded the first CD. I was pleasantly surprised at the explosive energy level this band has achieved!!
For those of you who like to label music categories: this one is both more "hard" and also more "traditional" than the first Dragstrip77 cd.
More "hard" in the sense of more aggressive, more intense, more savage, not in the sense of "hard rock".
More "traditional" in the sense of being closer to 1950s Rockabilly (as opposed to "neo-billy" or "psychobilly") than the first one was.
A very exciting record by Las Vegas' premier Rockabilly band, I can't wait for it to come out!!
Be sure to catch Dragstrip77 at Viva Las Vegas, or at the Rockabilly Rebel Weekender or check out their tour schedule at: http://www.dragstrip77.com/
Always Rollin' The Rock,
Rockin' Ronny Weiser
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