Is Rockabilly Dead?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by montereyjack66, May 5, 2012.

  1. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post

    I just hope that no one fancies Deke's head on a platter now that you've said that. :) BTW, Deke is great, a great player and a heckuva great guy. I appreciate all that he's done for the music world and his Guitar Geek festival is tremendous.

    "Perceived attitude" sort of says it all as far as I'm concerned. For some it's all about the dress-up, trying to look like the perception of what a Rockabilly fan or artist would have looked like in the day. Actually, I like Paul Pigat's "look". He looks like an ordinary working man as I remember seeing them in my childhood. The glasses are the icing on the cake. Here's the deal, he backs it up with his playing. He can dress however he likes; people will come for his playing.

    Good old Chet did shake things up, that's for sure, but he brought Country into the mainstream. The thing is, all that Countrypolitan music kept the light bill paid and allowed the genre to flourish . . . including the artists that weren't using strings. My tastes in Country are all over the map but I think that the entire SoCal scene was incredibly important, and I don't just mean Bakersfield.

    The more I learn about the Country scene in LA the more impressed I become. There has been a serious Country scene there for a long time. Leo Fender started out serving the Country Music community and, of course, invented one of the most played guitars in the world of Country music.

    I had been raised listening to a mixture of music, everything from light classical, to country, to the contemporary music my parents listened to on the radio, to my sister's Top 40 station. There was plenty of Country in the mix because my parent's favorite radio station played a mix of genres that included Country. When the '70s came along and I heard the Eagles I took note from the very beginning. I liked it a lot and it spoke to me in ways that most Nashville music did not. As I heard more Country Rock I found that I liked it and with the passage of time I've come to see it in a different perspective. California Country encompassed Western Swing, music inspired by Western movies and much more.

    Learning about all of this has helped me to make sense of the music I grew up listening to. In a strange way it all fits together, the Appalachian music, the music of the Dust Bowl refugees that fled Oklahoma for SoCal, the steps from Hillbilly music to Country and Rockabilly as an offshoot. It's a rich, complex subject and there's always something new to learn.

    There's a quote I've heard attributed to Duke Ellington but I've seen a video of Louis Armstrong saying it. To paraphrase; 'there are only two kinds of music, good music and bad music'. Arguing about the details is a waste of time IMHO.
  2. T simmons

    T simmons Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2013
    Alot of the stuff today that they call rockabilly isnt really that, more like punk or some other genre.
  3. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    psychobilly to me is a mix of Ted style rockabilly and punk. It proves rockabilly isnt dead. Its a faction of the uber hillbilly music that first spawned rockabilly but it is in the lineage
  4. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    Tavo, recommend some Psychobilly, so I can fire up Spotify while cooking dinner. Melanzane alla Parmigiana for 'pocket-sized wifey' and I (I'm a 30 year vegetarian), and lamb for the kids.

  5. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    eeesh psychobilly for dinner? :) Subject matter is usually more gruesome in this genre

    The Brains from Canada, particularly Rene' is a lifer on gretsch guitars (and now a billy brain guy as he uses a marshall amp)
  6. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Dead? not hardly. It is alive anywhere that people listen to music in order to have fun. It ain't art, just fun.

    I gigged a wedding a couple of months ago with one of my bands doing a pile of oldies, Elvis, Gene Vincent, Eddie C., ya know, lots of classic rockabilly stuff. A couple of different bands including a pro band that was exceptionally good and very serious.

    Guess which band everybody danced to? Had fun with? Guess which band everybody raved about? Lots of people still listen to music just for the sheer joy of jumping up and down. As long as that remains a truism, rockabilly isn't dead.
  7. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    Thanks Tavo,

    Will give the Brains a bash.

    Only playing in the kitchen while creating this gastronomic feast, it'll likely be wifeys choice for the actual eating part.

    I'm guessing Bobby Vinton or Matt Monroe. I've tried to sneak a bit of Setzer in, but she has a low tolerance threshold....bless her...

  8. drzombi

    drzombi Gretschie

    Jan 12, 2013
    Tons of great stuff on this. Batmobile is a personal favorite.
    As far as more modern psycho, The Koffin Kats, The Grims, The Reckless Ones, The Long Tall Texans, Mad Sin, Demented Are Go, The Nekromantiks, The Rev, of course, Guana Batz, The Sawyer Family, ******* Gallows, The Back Alley Barbers... There's tons. If you get out there in the trenches and dig, there's scenes in most areas. Some are better than others, and yeah there is a lot of cliquey fashion b.s. But there will always be the few and proud out there with a genuine connection to the music carrying the torch.
  9. Fallen Saint

    Fallen Saint Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2010
    Dead? If you want it to be... I suppose...

    "Rave on children, I'm with ya - Rave on cats, he cried"...
    The spirit of the rebel is never dead... ever.
  10. John Pimlott

    John Pimlott Gretschie

    Jul 27, 2012
    Thanks for this link! I loved it. Even though I'm an old-timer I love psychobilly, especially The Meteors and Demented Are Go. Sparky rules!
  11. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    Rockabilly's not dead, it just smells a bit funny!
  12. cwegy

    cwegy Gretschie

    Nov 29, 2012
    Hamburg/ Germany
    Wasn't it Jazz. ;-)

    I'm an absolutely Newby to Rockabilly so it is alive and kickin.


  13. shambolic

    shambolic Gretschie

    Nov 17, 2009
    Damn, is it dead already?!! I've only got into it in recent years. I was into Rock n Roll in my youth along with various other Genres. Saw Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, all past their prime but great. Then went on a long excursion through Rock, Punk, Reggae, Techno, Chill-out, Folk and pop. Then got into Rockabilly via Richard Hawley and Reverend Horton Heat now I am digging back into it's Roots. I love old style Rockabilly but I must say, as a guitar player what excited me about Jim Heath is the diversity of styles that can be thrown into a Rockabilly framework and still sound great and cohesive. I hear in his music, Heavy Metal, Blues, Jazz, Country, Punk and more and yet all retaining that Rockabilly flavour. As someone who has played a bit of all those styles it is so exciting to find a way to tie them all together. Once I realized what can be done with Rockabilly I viewed it as the music of the future not the past.
  14. MyBootsOnFire

    MyBootsOnFire Gretschie

    Dec 16, 2011
    It may not be dead, but it feels awfully stale. There are a lot of great folks who play it very well, but it all feels like rehash to me. The scene is barely a shadow of what it was ten years ago, which is too bad. It was a fun time.
  15. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    nothing stays new and fresh but if its crafted from good materials and solid construction its gonna last a long time even if the paint gets dull and chrome gets hazy.
  16. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    "Everything old is new again" - Peter Allen.
  17. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    Go figure:confused:, I had just posted asking for suggestions for new rockabilly music to listen to. I hope that it didnt all die before I can enjoy some new stuff:(
  18. BarryMClark

    BarryMClark Country Gent

    Apr 4, 2011
    This. It isn't the style that's makes something last but the quality. If it's good, it's good and it will get noticed.
  19. montereyjack66

    montereyjack66 Country Gent

    Feb 29, 2012
    Oh heck, good stuff is good stuff. Fear not. Originality is always welcome but can't be the ultimate tyrant. That would go against the evidence of a couple of thousand years of human history and all the types of folk music. And pop music too. Is there passion? Is there resonance? Does it feel new? Women aren't so different than they were a thousand years ago, but when you meet the right one... it feels pretty brand new. (This may also be true be for men, but I'm less qualified on that one).

    You know what will make you blink? Hip Hop has been around long enough these days that you could say a lot of the same stuff that has been in this thread. Who'dathunk?You may not like it, but just like rockabilly, some of it's crap, or a swing and a miss, and some of it cuts the proverbial mustard. None of that happens if we don't try to play it, or try to listen.

    Go find some new stuff! ;)

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