When Bands Collide

With rockabilly, the Stray Cats wrote great songs. Most bands just had that "1,4,5 Go Cat Go". They didn't break out of that. - Brian Setzer

This article's a few months old at this point, but its always great when musicians interview other musicians. Here, you have THE LIVING END's Chris Cheney interviewing his childhood hero, Brian Setzer about the end of the STRAY CATS and his next moves.

One of the most interesting bits is a discussion about how to be true to rockabilly, but not a slave to it. To a certain extent, the entire scene is about "authenticity", but using the past as a springboard for self-expression is just as important. The Living End left rockabilly behind a long time ago. Their early EPs rate as some of the best 90's era rockabilly, approaching REVEREND HORTON HEAT in energy. As they matured, they seemed to reach for 80's UK power pop influences and the rock/punk melange of the Clash. Now, you can barely hear the rockabilly in their increasingly complex sound.

Setzer crumbing on people's desire "to make it sound like it was done in 1955" is rich, considering the Stray Cats have always relied heavily on covers with similar arrangements to the originals and Setzer produced two albums consisting entirely of covers (STRAY CATS ORIGINAL COOL and solo effort, ROCKABILLY RIOT: A TRIBUTE TO SUN RECORDS - both are great!) Still, it's worth thinking about: is retro lifestyle really liberating our imaginations or is it a crutch... a uniform... that allows us to lazily avoid originality while still donning the cloak of "alternative" and "outlaw"?