"That's News to Me" - Archive #5

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A Mix of Music Related Text and Photos That You May Find Interesting



New Elvis.com Web Site Address With
Free Personalized "Elvis E-mail" Accounts

Tens of Thousands Worldwide Expected to Log On for Free Service, Giving New Meaning to the "E" in "E-mail" Elvis.com, the official Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) Web site devoted to all things Elvis, has just launched personalized free e-mail addresses. The offer officially kicks off the new name of the site, Elvis.com, previously known as elvis-presley.com. The new free e-mail addresses are expected to be greeted enthusiastically from Web users around the world. The Elvis.com e-mail addresses function in the same way as traditional e-mail service on Web site portals like Yahoo.com and iVillage.com. Based on availability -- and on a first-come-first-served basis -- Web site visitors can log on and stake their name alongside Elvis -- along the lines of JohnDoe@elvis.com. Among those addresses expected to be scooped up instantly are titles such as bluesuedeshoes@elvis.com and burninglove@elvis.com. "Elvis' popularity is timeless, his name is known all over world, and his appeal in cyberspace is as strong as it is in the real world. Through Elvis.com, fans of all ages from anywhere in the world can join a virtual, online community and stay up to the minute on all things Elvis. E-mail @ Elvis.com takes that virtual community philosophy to the next step by allowing users to really identify with Elvis," said Jennifer Burgess, director of Marketing for EPE.

Elvis.com e-mail holders will also have the option to receive a variety of Elvis and Graceland e-newsletters, as well as opportunities for sweepstakes and other promotions. The Elvis.com Web site itself, as the official Elvis site, offers an array of things Elvis, from news to film and music credits, a lengthy biography, a virtual tour of Graceland, ShopElvis, with numerous collectible items, and Elvis-related venues like the Memphis restaurant/nightclub Elvis Presley's Memphis and Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel. The site recently received an "A" rating and an "editor's choice" designation from Entertainment Weekly's Internet editors. "There is really no other site out there like Elvis.com on the Web," noted Burgess. "It's a tourism site, it's an interactive site, it's an entertainment site, it's a shopping site, it's everything Elvis and has such a variety of content and experiences." The live streaming video coverage and the subsequent archived streams of the Candlelight Vigil "Vigilcast"TM during "Elvis Week" last August were watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers. To sign up for free Elvis e-mail and receive additional information, visit Elvis.com.



Rockabilly Back in "Fashion"

LOS ANGELES - March 14, 2001 - "Torrid" is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based Hot Topic Inc., whose 278-store publicly held retail chain rang up $257 million in sales last year by leveraging the direct connection between music videos, teen pop culture and alternative fashion. Catering to one of the fastest-growing market segments in the United States, Torrid plans to take aim in a mall setting at hip, young female consumers ages 15-30. Torrid will offer an exciting selection of apparel, lingerie, shoes and accessories centered around various lifestyles, including club-wear, street-wear, rockabilly and renaissance -- the majority of which will be exclusive to the store. <.hr>



Billy Hancock Appear to Support Re-Issue Album

RIPSAW RECORDS announces that BILLY HANCOCK & the original members of the TENNESSEE ROCKETS will re-unite and perform to support the re-issuance on CD of their 1981 critically acclaimed album, "Shakin' That Rockabilly Fever" by BLUELIGHT RECORDS. The band will perform on Sat., Apr. 7th, at the legendary BIRCHMERE 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA; (703) 549-7500; www.birchmere.com. The show will be in the BIRCHMERE'S BANDSTAND-so bring your dancin' shoes! Since its re-issue, the CD has received rave reviews in the local, national, and international press, including The Washington Post, Rock & Blues News, Blue Suede News, Discoveries, 3rd Coast Music, No Depression, Country Standard Time, Big Beat (Finland), and various Internet sites. Promoters, agents, clubs, festival organizers, and others wishing to engage Billy Hancock & the Tennessee Rockets should contact Ripsaw's Jonathan Strong at: telephone - (202) 362-2286; email - ripsawrecords@aol.com; mail - Suite 805, 4545 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008.

BLUELIGHT recently released "Shakin' That Rockabilly Fever", a 17 song CD by BILLY HANCOCK & the TENNESSEE ROCKETS (catalog number BLR 3372 2). HEPCAT RECORDS is distributing the Bluelight CD. Telephone (800) 404-4117; - Box 1108, Orange, CA 92856; email - customerservice@hepcatrecords.com; www.hepcatrecords.com. A selection from the CD may be found on the Washington Post's MP3 site. Go to washingtonpost.com/mp3; enter "Roots Rock" in the genre category; then enter "Billy Hancock & the Tennessee Rockets".

HANCOCK & the TENNESSEE ROCKETS were a critically acclaimed rockabilly band active internationally between 1978 and 1982. All the songs on the CD were recorded from 1978 to 1981. The songs include all eight that RIPSAW released on four 45s in those years and all 14 included on the 1981 "Shakin' That Rockabilly Fever" LP (Solid Smoke 8015). The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of INDEPENDENT RECORD DISTRIBUTORS awarded the LP an Honorable Mention at its 1982 annual convention. BILLY HANCOCK has been a frequent nominee for Best Vocalist in the Roots Rock category for the WASHINGTON AREA MUSIC ASS'N.'s annual WAMMIE awards.



Rounder Partners to Create RounderRadio.com

March 13, 2001 - Rounder Records and Listen.com announced today that they have partnered to create RounderRadio.com, featuring a branded radio player and a network of streaming radio stations programmed by Rounder Records staffers. RounderRadio.com will launch in mid-April with four music stations - Blues, Modern Mix, Reggae and Americana. A fifth channel gives listeners the opportunity to catch live recordings of concerts, artist interviews, new releases, online promotions and news. Rounder Records, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is an independent record label specializing in roots music and its contemporary offshoots. Listen.com creates, integrates and distributes online music products and services across a network of Web portals, entertainment sites and music platforms. Upon launch in mid-April, listeners can find RounderRadio at www.RounderRadio.com, www.listen.com or www.rounder.com








Real Gone Racket issue #5 is now in print and ready for purchase. Prices are 2 dollars each + postage (in North America) overseas well ... it just depends where it's going. Bulk orders of RGR run 1.50 each + postage and must be orders of 5 or more. Those wanting color covers of RGR, must order 10 or more. Prices are 2 dollars each on bulk color orders.
Real Gone Racket
P.O. Box 520382
SLC, UT 84125
Or e-mail them: highgeared@hotmail.com - Visit Real Gone Racket on the Web @ http://www.geocities.com/realgoneracket or check out the Ridge Runners on the web @ http://www.geocities.com/theridgerunners




Raging Teens Throw a Rock 'n' Roll Party

From Country Standard Time: By Ken Burke
Fans who believe rockabilly music is strictly a Southern phenomenon haven't heard The Raging Teens. Formed in 1997, the New England-based band forge a raw, high-spirited sound incorporating classic New England rock'n'roll with the shuddering, seductive feel of the Sun Records era. The constantly touring, hard-charging quartet - vocalist/rhythm guitarist Kevin Patey, bass slappin' Matt Murphy, drummer Keith Schubert and lead guitarist Amy Griffin - released their second album on New York's Rubric Records in February. A more polished effort than their debut, "Rock'n'Roll Party" boasts the production expertise of roots music maestro Deke Dickerson.

According to the British-born Patey, The Teens were born out of last minute desperation. A former member of Miss Xanna Don't & The Wanted, Patey played "for fun" in a honky-tonk band with the Amazing Crowns' Jack Hanlon, The Loudermilk Brothers. When Hanlon couldn't make a gig at the last minute, Patey called up some guys he had been jamming, quickly figured out a playlist and played a rough set of rockabilly classics. Figuring the performance to be both their first and last, the hastily formed group were pleasantly surprised when their appreciative audience wanted to hear more. They knew they were on to something, but a few changes had to be made.

After their first real tour, the group's initial bass-player discovered he preferred music as a fun part-time activity and left. Stuck for a replacement, Patey put up fliers, eventually choosing Murphy, a student at the Berklee School Of Music. "Matt played jazz and had never really heard of rockabilly, but he was a great player. He picked things up really quickly." Doubling as lead guitarist and vocalist, wishing to concentrate on the latter, Patey began asking around about guitar players. Bandmates introduced him to Griffin, whose chances of getting into the band were not readily apparent. "She showed up with an earring in her nose, dressed like a total slob, and she had this crappy guitar and even crappier amp. She played - it sounded terrible, but I knew she could play."

Supplied with Patey's Telecaster and Fender amp, Griffin's sound improved markedly and continues to grow. With a name taken from a series of Norton Records New England rock'n'roll compilations, an easy-on-the-eyes guitarist, and a lot of personal ambition, the Teens have toured to great response in the U.S. and England.

The Los Angeles-based Dickerson became friendly with the group when they opened a show for him in Boston. Impressed by their rough, raw style, the skilled slinger of the doublenecked Mosrite offered to produce them should they ever make it out to California. They did. According to Patey, the Raging Teens leader, Dickerson is a full-service producer. "Deke's got a lot of know-how. Every day when we were arriving over there to record, he was out with a soldering iron fixing stuff. This old stuff is always going to break - so he's continually mending it and making it work." Describing recording with Dickerson as "fun and a real challenge," Patey and crew quickly learned that doing an old-style 13-song LP in 4 days required some compromise.

Schubert was constantly instructed to play his drums softer. Patey and Griffin were reminded that if they made little mistakes, they'd have to live with it because "that's what makes records great, those little imperfections." Upon hearing the finished product, the Teens wholeheartedly agreed.

Dickerson says he feels the group's first CD was "an altogether too common occurrence of a traditional styled band recording with modern recording techniques with a not-so-pleasing outcome." Explaining his production philosophy, Dickerson adds, "I always start by listening to the band and determining in my own highly opinionated mind how their record should sound. For the Raging Teens, that meant playing live with no overdubs and generous amounts of slapback tape echo." Such an approach suited the vintage equipment-toting Raging Teens just fine. On stage, Patey strums a 1953 D-18 Martin, Murphy rides a '50's Kay bass, Schubert pounds a Big Band-era Gretsch drum kit and Griffin pulls saucy bop from a '56 Gibson 225.

However, Dickerson's Eccofonic Studio was a wonderland of old time equipment that left the group in awe. "Amy got to use a lot of Deke's equipment," an impressed Patey reported from his home in Beverly, Mass. "He has an Echosonic amp, the one that was built for (Elvis Presley's original guitarist) Scotty Moore with the tape delay in it. (These amps were also used by Sun Records alumni Carl Perkins and Roland Janes) There were only like 10 of them made. He had us using different amps and guitars in order to get different sounds. We didn't realize how important that was, but it helped each song become more distinct."

One compromise they didn't have to make was their choice for guest pianist. Carl Sonny Leyland, himself a HighTone artist formerly with Big Sandy and renowned session player, lives just a few blocks from Dickerson. "I really wanted piano on 'Let's Drink Some Booze,'" explains Patey. "It wasn't a Jerry Lee thing I was going for. It was more like a Moon Mullican or as Deke described the song, 'It sounds like the Sparkletones walked into a bar.'" Leyland impressed the group with his honky-tonk rolling style, but the real show was yet to come. For "Snowbound," a song based on a true experience, Patey instructed Leyland, "'You just go nuts.'"

When Leyland attacked his solo with Jerry Lee Lewis-type fury the band nearly stopped playing out of awe and admiration. "We thought, 'Oh my God, look at him go!' It was really cool." Rubric is mainly a rock label, raising the question, wouldn't they have been more at home on a roots oriented label like the one Dickerson and Leyland are on?

"HighTone basically had no interest in us whatsoever," laughs Patey. "(Rubric) got us a lot more money and a lot more stuff - though it's not exactly lucrative." The Teens hope that their indie rock label will help open more doors, especially in college radio, which tends to stigmatize roots labels as too country. "The rockabilly world, as much as I love it, it's small," admits Patey, who further explains that expanding audience appeal without changing their sound is one of the band's chief priorities.

Though they have not yet garnered the big bucks, the Raging Teens have racked up memories and experiences that fill the coffers of their rockabilly souls. "We've played with a lot of bands that are heroes of ours, guys who kept the music alive." Among that number are contemporaries Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Ray Condo and Dickerson. The band has also basked in the reflected glory of older artists la Lew Williams, Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley. Some of those music veterans dig them right back too. Reached at their respective Arkansas homes, Sun rockabilly legends Burgess and Riley both called the band "fantastic" and praised their professionalism and showmanship.

Patey et al also have great reverence for the pioneers of New England rock'n'roll, inviting as many as they could find to their recent record release party, including 83-year old Ernie Hamil. "He played in the Gibson String Band which was the premier Western band in this area during the 1940's," says Patey. "He played guitar on a famous New England rock'n'roll record by Gene Maltais, the A-side was 'Raging Sea' and the B-side was 'Gang War.' It's considered one of the most collectable rockabilly records." With the Raging Teens backing him, Hamil played both classic tunes. "It was really emotional - I got kind of choked up just having this guy on stage."

Equally significant was the appearance of Ricky Coyne, whose "Rollin' Pin Mim" the band resurrects for the new CD. How did the lost legend of Boston rockabilly like the remake? "He loved it," says Patey with pride. "Actually, I got two really big compliments. (Coyne) told me that our version is slightly faster than his, and that was his complaint that when they recorded his, that it was a little too slow. So, he really liked that. Then, Brione Herlihy came to the show - he's like the 'boom-boom' in Freddy 'Boom-Boom' Cannon. (Herlihy) told me he was listening to the radio, and they played our version of 'Rolling Pin Mim.' He called the radio station to ask what alternate take of Ricky Coyne's song that was because he didn't have that version. He thought I was Ricky Coyne! You can't get a better compliment than that."

Timing and momentum seem to be working in their favor, but the Raging Teens won't know exactly how much support they have until they hit start touring in May. Moreover, extra care must be taken in setting up the band's dates as Patey's wife, singer/songwriter and Sony/Work recording artist Mary Lou Lord, also has career demands. According to Patey, Lord, who co-wrote the hillbilly-flavored "Lies" for the new album, is very supportive, but "when she's got stuff she has to do because that pays the bills, I'm like Mr. Mom, and she goes and does it." Yet Lord's largess provides Patey with the time and financial freedom to crawl into a van with his bandmates and tour. The disparity in the couple's paychecks is enormous, "Ten days she's gone, and she makes more money than I can in six months."



The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree

By Robert Wilonsky, the Dallas Observer
The memories faded long ago, like old pictures left too long in the unforgiving August sun. The applause turned to echoes; the echoes to silence. Whatever fame she once possessed - and it wasn't enough to land her in a single history book, which is history's loss - has vanished, which suits her just fine. She's 73 now, so far removed from the spotlight and stage she barely recalls what happened a thousand yesterdays ago - and even then, she remembers only when prompted, which is hardly ever. There are few people left who remember the days when the tiny cowgirl stood, just barely, on the stage of a wrestling venue to sing her pretty, venomous songs about drunk, cheating, honky-tonk husbands. But those who are left have long since moved on, as has she: Helen Hall long ago traded in songs of sin for psalms of salvation. Today, you can find her outside Palestine, Texas, singing backup in the Fairfield Christian Center choir on Sunday mornings, alongside her daughter and two other women. She swears she's never been happier. "Happy as a lark," she chimes.

But there was a time, in the mid-1950s, when Hall was this close to stardom: She had a recording contract (with Decca's Coral subsidiary), a starring slot on the Big "D" Jamboree housed in the once-venerable Sportatorium on Industrial Boulevard, and enough fans to have been voted among the best female country singers in more than one magazine (often, ahead of women who would become legends). More importantly, she had her own songs: Hall was among the few performers, male or female, to pen her own material, much of which even now sounds ahead of its time - these feminist anthems, these pissed-off missives about carousing husbands being told off by their indignant spouses. "You don't care about your home/You don't care about your wife," she sang in 1955, before offering the ultimate slapdown: "You're the perfect example of wasted life."

"It seemed to me that was the theme of the day," Hunt says now, laughing at the mention of all those old songs about honky-tonk husbands. "All the big writers, like Webb Pierce, they all seemed to write about that sort of thing. I wrote 'Wasted Life' because it rang a bell. I was somewhere playing a show, and I heard a girl say she was mad at the fellow she was with. She walked away and said, 'You're the perfect example of a wasted life,' and it just rang a bell. I don't know. I never thought much about it. I just wrote about different things, but it's mostly about cheating husbands. That's what country music was all about anyway. They don't do it now, because they got all those long-hair boys from Nashville changing the music altogether. It isn't all that groovy anymore."

At first listen, "Wasted Life" and so many of Hall's other songs - among them "What Else Does She Do Like Me?," "Rock Till My Baby Comes Home," "Hello Baby," and "Honky Tonk Husband," some recorded in the 1950s and others from as late as 1973 - sound like proverbial classics, something you heard forever ago on a jukebox somewhere; they carry a familiar sting and sway with a familiar swing. But don't be fooled: They're strangers to your ears, songs that have been buried away in storage for decades - lost and forgotten, especially by the woman who cut those tracks. To Hall - who once played the Jamboree on crutches after a 1955 car accident - they might as well have never existed at all.

She was reminded of their existence only recently, when she received a call from David Dennard, a man who's made a career (if not exactly a living) out of rescuing deserving, discarded musicians out of history's dustbin. Dennard began the 1990s by releasing albums by some of Dallas' best-known young bands (among them Tripping Daisy and Hagfish) on his Dragon Street Records label; he ended the century by unearthing and restoring to glory such abandoned heroes as "Groovey" Joe Poovey and Johnny Dollar. It was Dennard who also unearthed the "lost Dallas sessions" of rockabilly icon Gene Vincent, releasing them on an astonishing CD in 1998, and who last year issued The Big "D" Jamboree Live! Volumes 1 & 2, a double-disc collection of recordings made on the Big "D" Jamboree stage in the 1950s by the likes of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Ronnie Dawson, Jerry Reed, and Wanda Jackson.

Dennard called Hall to tell her he had in his possession some recordings she'd made in 1955 at the studio of producer Jim Beck, among them "Honky Tonk Husband" and "Wasted Life," and some demos she cut in a Fort Worth home in 1957. He told her he wanted to release those songs on a CD he was planning to release titled The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree, a companion disc to last year's two-CD release. The collection, he told her, was going to feature nothing but performances by women who had appeared on the Sportatorium stage, among them Hall, Charline Arthur, Sunshine Ruby, The Lovett Singers, Sherry Davis, and Betty Lou Lobb - all women relegated to the margins of country and rockabilly history. When Dennard phoned, Hall recalls, she was "surprised to no end."

"These are all women who were deserving of fame, but they didn't make it for who knows what reason, and they deserve recognition," says Dennard, who has become the most important figure in the preservation of this city's musical past. "They were thrilled anyone cared at this point. They couldn't believe anyone was interested anymore. They've become grandmothers and were shocked anyone would remember them, much less someone my age. And they were always flattered by how much I knew about them. They would ask me, 'Where did you find this stuff? How do you know this stuff?' I mean, I was sending them cassettes of things they hadn't heard in almost 50 years."

Unlike last year's The Big "D" Jamboree Live! collection, most of the songs on Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree weren't actually recorded on the Sportatorium stage; in fact, only a handful of the 29 were taped in front of that raucous Saturday-night audience. But that does nothing to diminish the importance of the collection: If The Big "D" Jamboree Live! served as a historical document, presenting a snapshot of that precise moment in time when country music began its obstinate struggle with that encroaching demon known as rock and roll, then The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree exists to remind us there were so many female country and rockabilly performers whose work remains viable long after it was discarded.

"Show business is so mercurial," says Dennard, who assembled the collection from recordings he discovered at the Library of Congress and in the archives of Ed McLemore, who ran the Big "D" Jamboree and managed so many of the artists who performed there. "You get a talent like Helen Hall. Why didn't she make it? Is it because of her car accident? Wrong place, wrong time? I just don't know. For every star, there are 10 people who didn't make it who are just as good. There's such legacy of good music here, and I didn't think [the fact they've been forgotten] was a good enough reason to let their music disappear."

Of the 11 artists found on the collection, only one's been remembered by history: Henrietta-born Charline Arthur, who joined the Jamboree in 1952, recorded for RCA Records from 1953 till 1956 (thanks to some help from Colonel Tom Parker, no less), and kept trying to make records until the mid-1970s. Hers is one of the most fascinating tales in Texas music history, and among the least-told; that she died in 1987, living in anonymous squalor, ensured she would remain a legend, if only because it would later become so hard to distinguish facts from fictions by those who recounted her story. That she was the only woman to play the Jamboree in slacks, that she took photographs with cigarettes dangling from her fingertips, only made her more mythical.

She was born to a Pentecostal preacher, bought her first guitar when she was 7, and wrote her first honky-tonk tune when she was all of 12. When she was about 20, in the late 1940s, she began playing clubs across the state, landing in Kermit to take a job as a radio DJ. When Eddy Arnold and Parker heard her perform, they managed to land her a record deal with RCA, and when she started cutting tracks for the label in 1953, she was produced by Chet Atkins. Though she performed on the Grand Ole Opry, she and Nashville were hardly a perfect fit: The stodgy gatekeepers of country had little patience for her temper and overt sexuality. She fared better at the Jamboree: "Texans," Dennard reminds, "really like to party, and the Big 'D' was a lot less hesitant about letting women do their own thing than the other uptight venues."

Arthur became close friends with Hall, so much so the two began writing and recording together; in 1957, Arthur went into her mobile home in Dallas and cut a version of Hall's "Hello Baby" that appears on the Gals collection. Like so many of the songs on the disc, it straddles country and rockabilly: Arthur sneers that she'll be a "slave to your love"; she roars over a twanging guitar and flat, four-four beat. It's sexy but only from a distance; there's something about Arthur that even then seemed a little dangerous - as though getting mixed up with her might become more trouble than it was worth.

"She was sort of a country music Janis Joplin," Hall says of her old friend. "She might have been like that, just a real rebel. But it led to her undoing."

In 1957, RCA dropped Arthur when she proved too commercially unviable; at the same time, she also divorced her husband Jack, who had been her bassist. She moved around, from Utah to Idaho to California, and kept recording for small labels, but nothing ever came of it. She wound up broke and, according to some stories, addicted to drugs (she suffered from debilitating arthritis). In 1986, Bear Family, a German label devoted to reissuing the works of unsung heroes of country and rock and roll, released a collection of her material, Welcome to the Club; a year later, Arthur died penniless and, from all accounts, utterly alone. "She is," Dennard says, "a tragic heroine."

In the end, what makes something like The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree so intoxicating isn't just the music but the lost tales these women tell - of sharing stages with the likes of Johnny Cash and Johnny Horton, of playing with the Light Crust Doughboys, and of sacrificing their careers for their families. That, more than anything else, is why so many of these women have vanished from the history books: More often than not, they willingly settled down, had children, and left behind the hellish life of the touring bus.

That's the very reason Sherry Davis gives for quitting the show-business life in 1971 - despite the fact she once recorded with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, toured Texas with Elvis Presley, and performed in Las Vegas for several years with Esquivel, whose music would, in the 1990s, become the soundtrack for would-be hipsters living in their space-age bachelor pads.

Davis is represented on The Gals by five songs, most of which she barely remembers recording. Of the hell-raising "Bop City," cut in a Dallas studio in 1957, she will only say that it's "something I don't even remember doing." But she very clearly recalls recording "Broken Promises" in July 1957; no amount of distance can fog the memory of making music with Buddy Holly in Clovis, New Mexico, a mere two months after Holly cut "That'll Be the Day" in the same studio.

"This was before Buddy Holly became famous," says Davis, better known to fans of her long-running Las Vegas act as "Della Lee." "Buddy was crashing there at the little apartment in back of Norman Petty's studio, so when Norman Petty asked him and the Crickets if they'd mind backing me, they said no, they didn't mind. I didn't know it was Buddy Holly. I met him, and we all had a long conversation over dinner, so when he became famous, I realized this was the group that backed me. But my manager would not release 'Broken Promises' without the publishing rights, and none of the major record companies wanted to give us the publishing rights, because that's where they made their money. It was two years before my manager found a small company that agreed to let him have the publishing, and by then I had moved on and didn't have any interest in it whatsoever."

Three months after recording with Holly, Ed McLemore persuaded Davis to do a short tour of Texas with Presley, and she recalls the trip with mixed emotions: She was thrilled to perform with Elvis, but it wasn't easy being one of the only God-fearing Christians among so many rock-and-roll heathens. But it would always be like that for Davis, who moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida, in 1962 to entertain the Mercury astronauts - she recalls that John Glenn asked her to perform "Around the World" upon his return from outer space - and then wound up in Las Vegas to sing with Esquivel. (She appears on but one recording: "Malaguena Salerosa" on 1967's The Genius of Esquivel.)

She quit show business completely in 1971, when she had a daughter after years of being told she'd never be able to have children. For years, Davis never let her girl out of her sight, refusing even to leave her with baby sitters to go out to dinner. She now lives back in Dallas, known as Della Lee to her closest, churchgoing friends. No one's called her Sherry Davis in a long, long time.

But even though she's quick to denounce rock and roll as "squalling and screaming" made by those with "long hair and no dignity and no quality," Davis is a bit thrilled about having these old recordings out there, even something as bawdy and brash as "Bop City." If nothing else, people will be able to hear the pride she took back then - the quality of her craft, as she likes to say. And there is no crime in wanting to be remembered.

"It would be very nice to know that people can hear the quality I worked so hard for - the study, the hard work," she says. "If they appreciate it, it would be great to know that, but I don't sing like that anymore, because I haven't sung like that in years. The voice is like any instrument: If you don't use it, you lose it. I will be excited if people get excited about it, but I don't know what I could do about it, except enjoy it and be grateful someone has done all this stuff." She chuckles softly. "I can't believe those records were ever made at all."

VISIT THE DRAGON STREET RECORDS WEBSITE.




CD - Joe Maphis, Fire on the Strings

(Sony/Legacy) Joe Maphis' wizardry on a variety of instruments earned him the title "King of the Strings," but he had his greatest impact wielding his custom-built, double-necked Mosrite guitar. The West Coast country and rockabilly guitar ace was among the first musicians to adapt fiddle tunes to the guitar. The title cut, the ax man's signature tune, is a variation of "Fire on the Mountain." This collection, an expanded reissue of a 1956 release, features 19 twangy instrumentals, several performed at breakneck speed, that paved the way for '60s surf guitarists like Dick Dale and The Ventures. Titles such as "Flying Fingers," "Hurricane" and "Guitar Rock and Roll" tell all, and none lasts longer than three minutes. Four of the seven bonus cuts are smoking guitar duets with Larry Collins, of the great rockabilly siblings The Collins Kids.
Available here.




Photo taken in front of Phillips Studio on April 14, 2000. Jimmy Harrell, Alton Lott, Wray Hixson, Roland Janes, Bobby Joe Swilley and Don Pittman. This is the session where Alton & Jimmy recorded "Who Put The Rock In Roll?" that will be included on RHOF CD Vol #5, to be released April 1, 2001.





NEW BOOK AVAILABLE NOW
FOLK & BLUES: The Encyclopedia, St. Martin's Press. Authors Irwin Stambler & Lyndon Stambler offer the premier encyclopedia of American roots music, with entries on every major star and indexes by artist, song, album and subject. For information on the book, contact: Candace M. Gillhooley, Holtzbrinck Publishers. E-mail: candace.gillhooley@hbpub.com





JUNE 27th-30th, 2001 - THE 9TH ANNUAL ROCKABILLY REBEL WEEKEND
at The RAMADA INN SOUTH, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
4 Days of Music, Movies, Hot Rods, Vendors, Swimming, Sunbathing, Dancing, Booze & More! Appearing in Alphabetical Order:
The Blacktop Rockets
The Blue Moon Boys
Rip Carson
The Cigar Store Indians
Levi Dexter
8 Ball Grifter
Narvel Felts
Robbie Fulks
Paul Galaxy & The Galactix
The Haywoods
The Ranch Girls & Ragtime Wranglers
Billy Lee Riley
Heather Rose & Her Boogie Rhythm Boys
The Starlight Drifters
The Steubenville Knights
The Swingin' Demons
The Wild Woodys
Emcee: Ken Mottet
DJ: Levi Dexter
Sound: Stuart Sanders
Shows Each Night in The Copa Lounge
Tickets are limited to 600 per night and are available Now.
Wednesday - $10. Advance - $15. Door
Thursday - $15. Advance - $20. Door
Friday - $25. Advance - $30. Door
Saturday- $25. Advance - $30. Door
VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover
Phone: (765) 948-3326
Fax: (765) 948-3389
Email: DL@JamesDeanGallery.com
Mail: JADE Productions
PO Box 55
Fairmount, IN 46928

The 2nd Annual Indianapolis Road Rockets Rumble Hot Rod Car Show in the Parking Lot. For registration info contact: stromberg97@yahoo.com - A limited number of Vendor Spaces are now available. Information available upon request.
The entire Ramada Inn South is reserved for us this Weekend, and they are giving us a special rate of $64.00 per night. When making your reservations you must refer to "Rockabilly Weekend" or use this group reservation code: CGBILL (317) 787-3344
Other Hotels within walking distance:
Holiday Inn Southeast - (317) 783-7751
Red Roof Inn - (317) 788-9551
Super 8 - (317) 788-0955
Motel 6 - (317) 783-5555
Printed information available upon request




"Legends for Charity" & "Crusie Night" Rescheduled

Frankie Ford's annual "Legends for Charity" benefit concert, which was rained out in November 2000, has been rescheduled for the weekend of March 24-25, 2001 at Zephyr Stadium, Airline Drive near Hickory Avenue in Metairie, LA.

Featuring an all-star lineup of singers from the golden age of rock and roll, the "Legends for Charity" concert benefits the Sunshine Kids, a support group for children with cancer, and the Gretna Food Bank. Past concerts have featured a coterie of artists who had hit recordings in the 1950s and 1960s, including Ford himself whose 1959 smash, "Sea Cruise," has been described as "one of the defining songs of early rock and roll."

The lineup for the rescheduled, two-day event includes most of the same performers who participated in the 1999 benefit and agreed to return for the benefit that was postponed last year. They include Dale & Grace, the Dixie Cups, Jean Knight, Troy Shondell, the Big Bopper, Jr., Johnny Preston, Jimmy Elledge, Irma Thomas, Barbara Bennett, Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. and Mason McClain, in addition to Ford and his New Orleans Dynamo Band. Other local bands slated to appear include Chris Klein and the Boulevards, the Ole Man River Band, Amy Adams and the Hank Sinatras and many other great artists still to be confirmed. All artists appearances are subject to availability and scheduling. A more detailed schedule will be announced as the event date draws closer.

Also, "Cruise Night" will be part of the fun and entertainment, featuring dozens of "hot cars" and motorcycles. Vintage restored autos from the '50s and '60s (and some even older) will again be displayed in the parking lot outside Zephyr Stadium, along with racing roadsters, "funny cars," custom trucks and just about anything else that moves on two or four wheels.

Frankie Ford, "The New Orleans Dynamo," has enjoyed a stellar performing career for more than forty years - ever since "Sea Cruise" rocketed into the top 20 on both the pop and R&B charts. The popular expression, "Oooh Wee Baby," came out of that record and Ford's wailing vocals, backed by Robert Parker's rollicking tenor sax and Huey "Piano" Smith's keyboard artistry, combined to make "Sea Cruise" an all-time R&R classic. He was only 19 years old at the time and his hit status earned him marquee billing with legendary deejay Alan Freed's rock and roll shows in New York.

Some of Ford's other hits on the old Ace and Imperial labels include "Last One to Cry," "Alimony," "Time After Time," "Chinatown," and a fine cover version of Joe Jones' only hit, "You Talk Too Much." Following a three-year hitch in the military in the early '60s, Ford's career took a downturn due to the "British invasion," but a cameo appearance in the movie American Hot Wax (loosely based on Freed's controversial career) revived his popularity. He now tours nationally and internationally more than 180 days each year, singing his old hits like "Sea Cruise" while accompanying his backup band on piano. Ford also mixes some more recent, original tunes into the repertoire of his live performances and he is a musical entrepreneur, as well. Along with his manager, Ken Keene, he owns and manages Briarmede Records and a music publishing company that controls the rights to a number of popular songs.

Johnny Preston, who hit the charts with the top-selling novelty song "Running Bear" in the fall of 1959, was a protge of the late J.P. Richardson - better known to the rock and roll world as "The Big Bopper." Richardson, a disc jockey in Beaumont, Texas, adjacent to Preston's hometown of Port Arthur, also had a novelty hit record a year earlier, titled "Chantilly Lace," and he wrote the lyrics for "Running Bear." He steered Preston to a contract with Mercury records but, unfortunately, he never lived to bask in Preston's success. He died in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens on February 3, 1959.

Today, Richardson's son, "The Big Bopper, Jr.," carries on the "Bopper" legacy, belting out his father's immortal signature line, "Ooooh baby, that's-a what I like!" from "Chantilly Lace" and other hits like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Big Bopper's Wedding."

Troy Shondell had a top-seller with "This Time (We're Really Breaking Up)" in the fall of 1961 and Jimmy Elledge hit paydirt with "Funny How Time Slips Away" the same season. Dale & Grace topped the charts in 1963 with "I'm Leaving It Up To You" on Sam Montel's eponymous Baton Rouge-based label and Jean Knight scored big twice in the 1970s and 1980s with "Mr. Big Stuff" and Rockin' Sidney's "(Don't Mess With) My Toot-Toot."

The Dixie Cups, a New Orleans female singing quartet, had a number one song, "Chapel of Love," in 1964 and followed it up with "People Say" and "Iko Iko."Irma Thomas, nicknamed "The Blues Queen of New Orleans," is a local icon who puts together a dynamic show everytime she performs. Barbara Bennett, popularly known as "The Toast of Pat O'Brien's," has been the featured pianist and chanteuse in the world's most famous bar for many years. Mason McClain is a recording artist on the Digi-Tek label.

Admission to the "Legends for Charity" concert is $10 for each day or $15 for both. A donation of canned or packaged goods for the Gretna Food Bank is also requested. For more information call Gene LeBlanc at 738-7190, Henry LaFrance at 737-6964 or George Verret at 738-9512. Information is also posted on Ford's website, www.frankieford.com



Dale Evans, `Queen of the Cowgirls,' Dies at 88

By Jeff Wilson, Associated Press
Dale Evans, the singer-actress who teamed with husband Roy Rogers in popular Westerns and co-wrote their theme song, "Happy Trails to You," died Wednesday, Feb. 7, 20001 at 88, a family spokesman said. Evans died of congestive heart failure at her home in Apple Valley in the high desert east of Los Angeles, said Dave Koch, son-in-law of Evans' stepson, Roy "Dusty" Rogers Jr. She had suffered a heart attack in 1992 and a stroke in 1996.

She was the "Queen of the Cowgirls" to Rogers, the "King of the Cowboys." She rode her horse, Buttermilk, beside him on his celebrated palomino, Trigger. The first movie she made with Rogers, already an established singing cowboy star, was "Cowboy and the Senorita" in 1944. They married in 1947, and together appeared in 35 movies, including such Saturday afternoon favorites as "My Pal Trigger," "Apache Rose" and "Don't Fence Me In."

When the B Western faded in the early 1950s, they began their television career. "The Roy Rogers Show" ran from 1951 to 1957; later incarnations included "The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show," 1962, and "Happy Trails Theatre," 1986-89, a show of repackaged Rogers and Evans movies on cable TV's Nashville Network.

In 1951, she co-wrote "Happy Trails," which became their theme. She also wrote the 1955 gospel music standard "The Bible Tells Me So," with the refrain, "how do I know? the Bible tells me so." She and Rogers recorded more than 400 songs. Their most recent album was "Many Happy Trails," recorded in Nashville in 1985. Rogers died in July 1998 at age 86. In a statement, Evans remembered him as "a wonderful human being. What a blessing to have shared my life together with him for almost 51 years. To say I will miss him is a gross understatement. He was truly the king of the cowboys in my life."

Through her life, she was active in Christian evangelism, which she called "the most meaningful, the most enjoyable part of my life." She wrote more than 20 books, including the best-selling "Angel Unaware," a poignant account of their daughter, Robin, the only child born to the couple. Robin, who was retarded, died of complications from the mumps shortly before her second birthday in 1952. It wasn't the couple's only taste of tragedy. Korean-born Debbie, one of the couple's adopted children, was killed with seven others in a 1964 church bus crash; the following year, their adopted son John choked to death while serving in the Army in Germany.

"In the Bible, it doesn't say you're going to get by without having troubles," Rogers once said. The couple also adopted another daughter and raised a daughter by foster parenthood. In addition, Evans had a son by a previous marriage, and Rogers had a son and two daughters, one of them adopted, with his first wife, Arline. She had died in 1946, shortly after giving birth to Roy Jr. Evans was born Frances Octavia Smith on Oct. 31, 1912, in Uvalde, Texas. When she was a girl her family moved to Osceola, Ark., where she attended high school.

She was working as a secretary in Chicago when she tried to launch a show business career, she recalled in the 1984 interview. "I wanted to get a foothold in radio, but I couldn't get a job," she said. "Finally I succeeded in Memphis, then I got jobs in Louisville and Dallas before going back to Chicago."

>From local radio singing jobs, she worked up to national radio, signing on in 1940 as a singer on a weekly CBS radio show "News and Rhythm." Shortly afterward, she started working in Hollywood, appearing in films such as "Orchestra Wives" and "Swing Your Partner."

She said she felt sorry from some of today's rock stars: "They are overnight successes making unbelievable amounts of money. They're like meteors, shooting up and then falling just as fast. People like Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Roy and me, we paid our dues. We've known the hard times and the good, and we appreciate what we've got."

Tribute To Dale Evans
Condolences may be sent to Dusty and Family at: Queen_Of_The_West@royrogers.com




Elvis the Concert Brings Out the Magic

REVIEW - At first, this idea sounded like just one more way to savagely capitalize on the King's legacy. "Elvis The Concert" is the nucleus of Presley's touring band and singers playing live, as he sings from a large video screen. But in spite of such expectations to the contrary, this unusual arrangement still brings out the magic of an Elvis concert. Drawn primarily from the Elvis television special "Aloha From Hawaii" and the acclaimed concert documentary "That's The Way It Is," the late performer is captured while he still had more charisma than excess weight. The irony was not lost when the other Elvis (Costello) was heard over the sound system before the show. Especially since former Presley lead guitarist James Burton has toured with both men. He is clearly the star instrumentalist on this tour, and is a featured soloist on many songs in the set, such as the rocking "Johnny B. Goode." At a few points, Burton could be seen on the big screen playing and looking much younger. Both the younger and the elder Burton made it look easy, with that same almost expressionless face.

The first half of the show featured highlights from Elvis late '60's and '70's period. Songs performed included "In The Ghetto" and "Just Pretend." Around about the middle of the show, three former members of his backing group The Imperials sang, "He Touched Me," an Elvis gospel favorite. It was after this song, though, that the night's only technical glitch appeared. This selection segued into Elvis singing "How Great Thou Art," but his vocals for the first few lines of the song were lost, forcing the musicians to mark time for a few minutes while this was fixed. After the break, the female backing group Sweet Inspirations sang the song that originally won them their job in Presley's entourage, also called "Sweet Inspiration." Throughout the night, this quartet added lively body language and soulful singing to the concert. Much of the last half of the show was comprised of Elvis hits from the '50's, including "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog." This segment also featured Elvis doing "Love Me Tender," where the he did more kissing of female audience members than actual singing. Still, it was fun to watch as these female fans almost fainted at his touch. Elvis concluded by singing "Can't Help Falling In Love," before Jim Murray of The Imperials jokingly proclaimed, "Elvis has left the building." He probably should have said, "Elvis' image has left the video screen," but why quibble. Some might wrongly call this touring package capitalism at its worst, but think of it as watching an Elvis concert movie on a massive drive in screen, with the best damned stereo system in the world for the soundtrack. (courtesy: Country Standard Time)



Nelson Twins Hear Echoes From Their Father's Life

By RANDY LEWIS, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, Jan. 27, 2001


Matthew, left, and Gunnar Nelson's tour will include father's songs. [MYUNG J. CHUN / Los Angeles Times]

Matthew and Gunnar, ready for a comeback, draw strength from experiences of their dad, Rick Nelson. Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, the twin sons of '50s TV and rock heartthrob Rick Nelson, played a show recently that carried an overwhelming sense of deja vu, once removed.

They'd been invited to headline a songwriters' showcase for a group of TV music directors, yet they were treated rudely by the evening's other performers because of their history as teen heartthrobs in their early-'90s pop-metal band, Nelson.

"We had this epiphany," says Matthew, 33, seated on a couch next to twin brother Gunnar in the latter's Studio City apartment. "It was probably how our dad felt - obviously on a smaller scale - after he got booed off the stage for being different."

Their father, of course, had transformed a negative experience of his own into his last Top 10 hit, "Garden Party." Nelson was dissed for playing the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" at a 1972 rock oldies show at Madison Square Garden, and from that came up with one of his best-known songs.

That song was written when Matthew and Gunnar were gearing up for kindergarten, but its message was never more timely.

"Those people didn't accept him. He didn't look right and his past was a little different," Matthew said. "We felt very much the same way. We finally said [quoting 'Garden Party's' refrain]: 'You can't please everyone, so you've gotta please yourself. Do your own thing - I don't care what you think anymore.' It was the most liberating experience I've had as an artist in my life."

With each year since Rick's death on New Year's Eve 1985, in a plane crash in Texas in which his fiance and five band members also died, the bond with their father seems to strengthen. It's a reflection both of the brothers' increased interest in family roots and of conscious efforts to keep his memory alive, for themselves and for the public.

Those efforts have yielded two related projects for the Nelson twins: "Rick Nelson - Legacy," a new four-CD boxed set from Capitol Records, and a string of shows and a companion CD, "Like Father, Like Sons," in which they sing many of Rick's hits - something they'd long resisted.

"We're still writing, still playing, still recording, still releasing records on our own label every year," Matthew said. "But now it's OK to tip the hat to our dad, because he was our best friend, and we really do miss him. Truthfully speaking, and the past has shown, if we don't do something, nobody will, and one thing we can't let happen is for our dad to fade away."

Partly because of Matthew and Gunnar's famous pedigree - the Nelsons are the only family with members from three generations who have charted No. 1 hits - partly on their good looks and partly on the upbeat melodic hard rock they wrote and sang, "After the Rain" created a rabid following for the twins that Matthew said was 90% teenage girls.

Digging Into Archives Revealed Happy Surprise That set them up for the same credibility battles their father fought once he became a pop star in 1957 after singing Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin' " on the TV show "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet."

One of the pleasant surprises for Matthew and Gunnar in digging through the Nelson archives for the boxed set was hearing tapes of their father's earliest recording sessions. "You know what? He was producing the sessions," Gunnar said, proudly. "You could hear how involved he was in the sound. . . . Back in the days when there was technically no official producer on a session, 16-year-old Ricky Nelson knew exactly what he wanted to sound like, and he was making it happen. He was 80% of the production and Ozzie was 20%. And that was really kind of neat to hear."

Their father struggled with shifting pop trends, something Matthew and Gunnar know too well. And Rick Nelson's split from his wife, Kristin Nelson, was traumatic for Matthew and Gunnar as well as their sister, actress Tracy (now 37) and brother Sam, an aspiring musician who is 26. During tough times, Rick always found comfort in music, as have his sons. "[Music] not only [kept] the two of us together," Matthew said, "it kept our heads together through some really horrible times, like their divorce and him being gone."

Music also helped them weather their fall from favor with the public and their record company when "hair bands" of the late '80s gave way to grunge rock. Five years passed between their debut and their second album, "Because We Can," which moved them onto the country-rock path their father helped blaze 30 years earlier. In the mid-'90s they even moved to Nashville, but both are back home in Southern California - Matthew lives near Gunnar in Studio City - and both feel drawn back to a sound that's more pop.

"We've definitely gone through one complete cycle of our career already," Matthew said. "We've been through our share of 'My God, could you believe that show?' and 'Boy, this is a huge check!' to 'What? We're getting sued by our T-shirt company five years later?' . . . But we're only 33, and we're ready for another shot at this."

Not surprisingly, another lesson from their father comes up. "It's weird," Matthew said, "because he always used to say that a career is a series of comebacks. He was coming back all his life, and we do the same thing, emotionally and musically."

Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times



"Shakin' That Rockabilly Fever"

The Washington Post's MP3 site features a tune from Billy Hancock's new CD on Bluelight Records, "Shakin' That Rockabilly Fever". The album includes all the material Billy recorded for Ripsaw Records with the Tennessee Rockets. The song, "Rockabilly Fever", is dedicated to Bob, Rod, and all the gang at the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.
Rock 'n' download here.
The band is
Bob Newscaster, guitar
Mitch Collins, piano
Brian Smith, bass
Jeff Lodsen, drums
Billy Hancock, guitar, vocal http://www.noclubmusic.com/



Transplant Not a Possibilty for Freddy Fender

(January 23, 2001) - Nashville, TN - King of Tex-Mex and Grammy award winning Country music entertainer Baldemar Huerta (known as Freddy Fender) was recently diagnosed with Hepatitis C by Corpus Christi Medical Doctor, Van Frank. . Upon further evaluation at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, Fender was notified that his body will not accept the immunal suppressants needed for kidney or liver transplantation. Through his series of dialysis treatments by Dr. Shah Islam, Fender's kidneys have begun functioning at a higher percentile than prior to dialysis. "Freddy performed two standing room only shows - the first shows of the year - in Biloxi, Mississippi, this weekend," says publicist Kirt Webster. "Freddy will be increasing his performance dates as he continues to recover." For additional info contact: Kirt Webster - 615/777-6995



Lazy Crazies Interview

It's been pretty crazy around here, but I did find time to squeeze in an exclusive interview with BRIAN HOLLY from Detroit's LAZY CRAZIES. He let me ask him a bunch of wild questions and I typed the answers all up just for you! The boys did a super cool show on Friday night and this interview was originally sent out locally to help hype the gig. It was a wild show (as usual) and full of crazed, unexpected thrills. The boys have a website where more specific info can be found: www.lazycrazies.com Check it out if ya get the urge. Hope everyone's having a swell New Year. Looking forward to Vegas in April!
- courtesy: Del V.m "Go Kat, GO!" (villa@gorf.gpcc.itd.umich.edu)

Here's the interview. Hope you enjoy it!
Brian, thanks for the time. Good to be talking with you today. 1. So, how long have the LAZY CRAZIES been together as a band?
We've been together, basically, for 2 years -working locally pretty much. The band consists of Elvis Ash on slap bass and Daddio Rocker on guitar. I'm on stand-up drums and lead vocals.

2. In honor of the 2001 International Auto Show going on this week at Cobo Hall, can you tell us your favorite piece of Detroit steel to ever roll off of the assembly line? I'll go with the Black '57 Chevy. Tinted windows. Black & silver trim. I like GM, plus I love the look of the 57 -to me that's the car that has the rebel look and the rockabilly look -to me!

3. What kind of drum kit do you use on stage, Brian?
Itama Swingstar. It's got the 'Brian Holly spray paint special' finish on it! It was black at first, now it's got the Lazy Crazy logo on the bass and a big Elvis 56 sticker on the side! There's a Jack Daniel's sticker and a James Dean "dead" sticker on the side.

4. Not many people know this about you, but you've actually performed in the historic Ryman Theatre in Nasheville, Tennessee. Please tell us all about your Grand Ole' Opry appearance!
It was a contest for different talents that I entered. They were looking for new people to record. I entered that in 1995. I performed a song by Garth Brooks called "Not Counting You," a western swing kinda tune. I think I did good -I got a great crowd response -I was really energetic, running circles on the stage! They didn't want you to take the mic off the stage! I think the sound guys were kinda arrogant! My intent was to do something totally different from the whole crowd compared to all the other singers that were there.

4. Who would win a no-holds barred fistfight: Elvis, Gene Vincent or Buddy Holly (circa 1957)?
That's a pretty good one, man. Buddy Holly was a timebomb -so was Elvis actually! I'd have to go with Buddy Holly. I know about Buddy and I'll pick Buddy for sure!

5. Do you have any current favorite rockabilly artists?
I've seen RIP CARSON footage on video. A lot of people've told me about what he's done on stage. I like that -I like somebody who does something different and delivers a good show. I hope I see him in Vegas!

6. Since you'll be in Vegas this April for the 2001 VIVA LAS VEGAS ROCKABILLY WEEKENDER, when will folks be able to catch you three performing and where?
At the Gold Coast Hotel and on the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame stage on April 14th (I believe it's on the Saturday night) at 1:00 a.m. right after the Fireballs. Looking forward to celebrating the music with everybody else!

7. Who is the better all around villain: Darth Vader, Darth Maul or Col. Tom Parker?
Ha! That's a good one! Let's go with Col. Parker cause he didn't give in -Darth Vader did in Return of the Jedi! Darth Maul was just plain stupid!

8. If a new music fan needed to know what THE LAZY CRAZIES sounded like, how would you compare your band's sound?
We definitely have the "Elvis '56" sound. A lot of people think we have the "Stray Cats" sound (based on our instrumental configuration). We have that nice, clean 50's rock and roll /rockabilly sound. Not much of a western swing or honkytonk sound -just good 50's rock and roll. We play for so many different crowds -we've worked really hard to get your own aggressive sound. Rockabilly is made to played aggressive! Loud, fast and out of control!

9. What kind of guitar does your father 'Daddio' play?
A 1999 Duane Eddie Gretch guitar! A great guitar, it kicks!

10. Do you have a favorite Elvis Presley movie?
Yep, "King Creole"! Definitely! I just like the music from it more than any other movie that he's done -nice driving rock and roll! I want to see it again.

11. What's the best place in Detroit to get a pizza?
I like Papa Romano's. It's on Telegraph and Ford Road in Dearborn Heights. I ususally order a large with pepporoni, mushrooms, green peppers and black olives.

12. When are you and the boys going to record a new album and how many originals do you have ready for it?
We're gonna be recording our album on February 7th, 2001. It's only gonna take us about 4 days. It should be finished in February. We got 15 songs and we're gonna tape one cover -Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy!" We're gonna turn it into a fast punkabilly tune: It's gonna be a very versatile album, there will be a traditional country tune and most of all it's gonna be rockabilly! People are gonna flip!

13. What's the best beer to drink if you wanna get drunk really, really fast?
I would go with Molson Ice. I definitely would. It's a STRONG beer! Every time I have just a couple of them, I get really going! It's like drinking a Jack & Coke! Molson brews a really clean (tasting) beer, but it'll hit ya just like that!

14. Where the furthest you've ever performed away from Detroit?
I've performed (with the LAZY CRAZIES) in Canada quite a few times in Toronto and Windsor. St. Helen's in Michigan. By myself I've performed in Arizona and in Las Vegas (as my tribute to Buddy Holly in "Salute to the Superstars") It was fun. Good time. It was a blast. It wasn't bad money!

15. What would you consider to be the best song you have ever written?
"Hey We're Rockin'" is my favorite song. I just like the driving guitar, the driving bass. It's really lively! The lyrics are all about ready to go out and have a really good time. I wrote it in ten minutees on my kitchen table.

16. How many White Castle hamburgers have you ever eaten in one sitting?
I'm not too crazy about the taste, but I once ate about 5 when I was really hungry! I had some weird digestive feelings -weird gas! I had to take a lot of Alka-Setzer AND a couple of Cokes to get rid of it! I call White Castle The "Porcelain Palace"!

17. I hear that someone in your band once did a "70's Elvis" tribute show? Is this true?
Oh Yeah! Elvis Ash (bass) did wear a jumpsuit and all that. He did "C.C. Rider" and "Suspicious Minds." He's originally from Russia so he did it there in Russian! He performed at 5th Ave. once with Pistol Pete and George Friend. (Detroit's "Twistin' Tarantulas." He's a BIG fan of Elvis, let's just say!

18. How do you wear your jeans: cuffed or uncuffed?
No preference. I do have some that I cuff and some that I like wear uncuffed. I like to wear my black jeans without cuffs and my blue jeans with cuffs.

19. What would you say would be the best all-time classic rockabilly song?
"One-sided Love Affair" by Elvis Presley. Made in '56. It was written by Bill Campbell, recorded January 30th, 1956.

20. You have an awfully shiny mop of hair on your big head there, Brian! What's the best hair pomade out there, in your opinion?
Definitely Murrays. Murray's "Super Light." My hair is kinda thin so I use the lighter stuff.

Thanks for the fine answers, Brian! You certainly came up with some great responses to my silly questions.





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  • Review: Don't Label 'em: BR5-49 Just Wants to Play

    By Kendra Meinert, Green Bay, WI Press-Gazette
    GREEN BAY - Jan.19, 2001 - Mercy! "Smilin" Jay McDowell can play a mean upright bass. Looking like a cross between a giddy Sha Na Na reject and a cowboy Gumby, the lanky McDowell made plucking and whipping his doghouse bass look like such free-wheelin' fun that his performance alone was worth the $10 ticket to see BR5-49, with opening act The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Wednesday at the Riverside Ballroom.

    There was much to dig about the nearly two-hour set from the five rockabilly road dogs who put a spit-shine on their live shows by playing for years at Robert's Western Wear in Nashville, Tenn. While mainstream success has eluded BR5-49 - "too country for country," they say - the Grammy-nominated mavericks have found a following with their rip-roarin' road gigs. Wednesday's crowd was only 200-plus, but its amazing diversity - cowboy boots/combat boots, ponytails/rooster tails, chains on wallets/chains in noses - was a nod to the band's impossible-to-label sound. Rockabilly? Texas swing? Punk? Honky-tonk? Rock? All of the above, and then some. Lead vocalist Chuck Mead wailed with Elvis-like intensity and attitude on "Cracker Jack" and the band's more rowdy numbers, while fellow lead vocalist Gary Bennett opened up his distinct whine on "Six Days on the Road" and slower songs.

    You have to love a pair of vocalists who can have as much fun as the crowd with lyrics like these: "There's a bone stickin' out of your hip. There's a mustache on your dainty lip. Oh darlin', little maiden, you're a hum-dinger." Don Herron made easy work of any instrument within hand's reach - mandolin, fiddle and especially steel guitar. Toss in McDowell and the beat-keeping "Hawk" Shaw Wilson and the jamming got serious enough to bring on a hoe-down hangover. It's no wonder actress Kate Hudson and Black Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson asked these guys to play their private wedding ceremony on New Year's Eve. They're like a party in a bus. The next time they pull into town with their little gig that could, be there.



    Mini-review of the NEW WORLD RELAMPAGOS CD

    by Ferenc Dobronyi, Pop Records - from: Mark Huber, jmhuber@mindspring.com
    This is an extremely interesting project. I have never heard the music of Los Relampagos, but apparently they were Spain's version of The Ventures; their highly prolific career lasting just five years from 1962 to 1967. Then appears New Orleans based Relampagos evangelist Mark Huber, spreading the word and convincing some of today's top instrumental stars to record a CD's worth of the spanish band's material. And what a band Huber has put together... featuring Ivan Pongracic - Guitar (The Space Cossacks), Dusty Watson - Drums (Slacktone, Dick Dale), and Sam Bolle - Bass (Agent Orange) as the core band, and augmented by original members of Los Relampagos and members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Ron Eglit from Dick Dale's band, Mark English from the Space Cossacks and many many more. The result is a great sounding and groovy set steeped in the vibe of early sixties arrangements and production - roomy reverbs, ice rink keyboards and razor sharp playing. 17 songs, great packaging. Relampagos is pronounced Ray-lum-puh-goes and means Lightning. Available at: www.poprecords.com
    www.zptdudamusic.com
    www.amazon.com
    www.bim-bam.com
    www.deepeddy.net



    Johnnie Johnson Gets Supporting Role Credit

    It's Johnnie Johnson's year of vindication. After several years of campaigning, the St. Louis pianist who came to fame as rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry's collaborator during the '50s and was the subject of Berry's hit "Johnnie B. Goode" will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, in the Sideman category, along with Elvis Presley's guitarist James Burton. Johnson has also started to actively reclaim the legacy that he and his handlers who have conveyed upon Johnson the title of "Father of Rock 'n' Roll" feel Berry stole from him. Johnson is suing Berry in Federal District Court for proper credit and royalties for songs he claims to have co-written with Berry, including classics such as "Roll Over Beethoven," "Rock and Roll Music," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and "No Particular Place to Go."



    "The History of Sex and Music"

    VH1 Special: 'The History of Sex and Music,' Five-Part, Five-Hour Series Chronicling Pop Music's Influence on the Sexual Revolution, to Debut in 2001.
    From Elvis, "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "The Twist", through "Sticky Fingers," groupies and "I Touch Myself," pop music has consistently sent one unmistakable message: It's about S-E-X. In popular culture, music sets the trends while the rest follow. And nowhere is this fact more evident than in the sexual revolution. "The History of Sex and Music" traces the sexual saturation of contemporary culture in the past five decades - and takes the provocative premise that music has been responsible for it all - in this five-hour, five-part special, slated to debut on VH1 later this year, it was announced by Jeff Gaspin, Executive Vice President, Programming & Production, VH1.





    Cramps' Guitarist Bryan Gregory Gone

    Guitarist Bryan Gregory of The Cramps, a band that helped to launch the punk music revolution in the late 1970s, has died. He was 46. Gregory, a native of Detroit, died Wednesday, Jan. 10th at Anaheim Memorial Hospital, spokeswoman Gina Esparza said. A cause of death was not immediately available. The guitarist had recently suffered a heart attack and had been ill for several weeks, his former wife, Robyn Hunt, said by telephone from her home in Florida.

    The Cramps made their debut in 1976 at the legendary punk rock club CBGB's in New York. Gregory was known for his wild antics on stage and his distinctive black hair with a lock of white hanging over his eye. "He was into feedback," friend Andrella Christopher said of Gregory's musical style. "He loved making the most obnoxious sound he could get out of that guitar."

    The band released two albums, "Gravest Hits" in 1979 and "Songs the Lord Taught Us" in 1980. Although Gregory left the group in 1980, band members Lux Interior and Poison Ivy continued to perform as The Cramps. Gregory also appeared with other Cramps members as "punk thugs" in the 1978 film "The Foreigner."

    After leaving The Cramps, Gregory performed with the band Beast from 1980 to 1984, and with The Dials from 1992 to 1995. He had recently formed a new band called Shiver, Christopher said. Gregory is survived by a daughter, Tracy Ellis, and a sister, Pam Beckerleg, both of Michigan.



    Rocker Johnny Legend Writes 'bout Wrestling

    Wrestling - Then & Now, published monthly since January 1990, is proud to announce the release of its 2000 Annual. This 72 page professionally printed magazine is scheduled to be completed and in the mail the week of January 1, 2001. The feature is a lengthy tribute to the ailing Johnny Valentine. Also in this annual, noted journalist Mike Mooneyham talks with Bruno Sammartino (taking on Mark Madden) and Ric Flair who pays a touching tribute to his recently departed dad. There are extensive interviews with Bill Anderson (trainer of Sting, Ultimate Warrior, and Louie Spicolli), Road Warrior Hawk, Bobby Jaggers (who takes us through a tour of the old territories), and Johnny Legend on Fred Blassie, Andy Kaufman and the Olympic Auditorium. Also featured are 10 questions with Dory Funk, Jr., a tribute to the late Eddie Sullivan, Harold "Odd Job" Sakata, rock and wrestling comics, merchandise listings, tons of clippings and rare photos, and many surprises as well. For more information check out Wrestling - Then & Now at: http://www.walkertown.com/wtnow




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