Bands will play a combination of their top hits along with their own tributes to the memory of Johnny Cash.
X was the quintessential L.A. punk rock group before they grew into a world-class rock & roll and live band. However, enthusiasm for their unique, intelligent, and humorous work never quite reached critical mass.
X was formed in 1977 when songwriter and bassist John Doe met (and later married) Exene Cervenka at a Venice poetry workshop, with rockabilly veteran Billy Zoom on guitar and D.J. Bonebrake on drums. The band garnered an immediate following. "Discovered" by ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, he took the band into the studio for the recoding of Los Angeles in 1980. It was curious because at the time punks were supposed to hate hippies, but X's merging with an ex-Door was not only tolerated, it also earned them stature as California's preeminent punk band when the record earned across-the-board raves. 1981 saw the release of the similarly punked-up Wild Gift, while their 1982 album, Under the Big Black Sun, began what would be a long career of merging hard rock, country and folk into their fiery mix. They successfully began to mix their populist politics with an eye toward matters of the heart.
As the band began to reach wider audiences, both Doe and Cervenka enjoyed outside careers in the arts; Doe as an actor in films like Great Balls of Fire and Roadside Prophets, and Cervanka as a poet and spoken-word artist, collaborating with Lydia Lunch and Wanda Coleman.
In 1983, the root-sy songs on More Fun in the New World lent themselves to touring live. They took it one step further on their side project, the Knitters (with Dave Alvin) which yielded one Slash album Poor Little Critter in the Road in 1985. Ain't Love Grand was a harder rock album in 1986 and was followed by Zoom's departure. He was momentarily replaced by Alvin, but for recording purposes, the band recruited Tony Gilkyson (formerly of Lone Justice) for See How We Are, which was the band's most decidedly hard-rock record in the catalog. Gilkyson stayed for the recoding Live at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in 1988 before the band took some much-needed time off, although they never broke up. In the interim, Doe and Cervenka divorced, and the pair continued their work as solo artists, releasing Cervenka's Old Wives Tales in 1989 and Running Scared in 1990 and Doe's Meet John Doe in 1990.
In 1993 the band got together for the recoding of Hey Zeus!, a collection of new songs. The response was underwhelming and the band members went back to their solo work. Doe released Kissingsohard in 1995. Exene also released Surface to Air Serpents, as well as a reading of the Unabomber Manifesto after changing her name to Cervenkova. During their frequent hiatuses, X would occasionally appear in Los Angeles and San Francisco. X recorded a live album Unclogged in San Francisco in 1995 and self-released it. Cervenkova's latest project is Untie Christ with Bonebrake and Matt Freeman of Rancid. Gilkyson also works as a solo artist. X also appeared in three films: Penelope Spheeris' punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, Urgh! A Music War, and a documentary of their lives and times, The Unheard Music. Beginning in 1998, founding member Billy Zoom returned to the fold for a series of on-again/off-again shows and limited touring. A pair of 2004 Los Angeles concerts were recorded and videotaped for Live in Los Angeles, released both as an audio CD and video DVD in the spring of 2005.
Kris Kristofferson returns to the essentials of his finely honed craft on his New West album Closer to the Bone. the master singer-songwriter’s 2006 New West bow This Old Road, the new album is produced by Grammy Award winner Don Was. The previous collection – Kristofferson’s first recording in almost a dozen years – was hailed by critics as “one of the finest albums of his storied career” (Rolling Stone), “a stripped-down stunner” (Esquire), and “a return to his best work” (Q).Kristofferson says, “I like the intimacy of the new album. It has a general mood of reflecting on where we all are at this end of life.”
Much like its predecessor, Closer to the Bone is a deftly observed, honestly executed work about love, separation, loss, and mortality. The subject matter ranges from the musician’s family (“From Here to Forever,” “The Wonder”) to Kristofferson’s late friend Johnny Cash (“Good Morning John”).?Was views the new album as a sort of sequel to its much-acclaimed predecessor: “The recording conditions were a little more controlled, but it’s based around Kris singing and playing guitar, and nothing was to get in the way of that. If anything got in the way of it, we pulled it out. I think the two albums are completely of a piece. I love This Old Road. There’s something really immediate about it, and really profound. I personally think this is a better record, overall. It’s the songs.”
Some of the album’s songs were penned relatively recently, while others Kristofferson had never managed to successfully record. He laughs when he recalls a previous attempt to cut “Good Morning John” with Willie Nelson – like Cash and Kristofferson a member of the country super group the Highwaymen -- on harmony vocals: “I got to that line where I say, ‘I love you, John,’ and Willie sang, ‘He loves you, John.’ I said, ‘C’mon, Willie, you can say, ‘I love you, John.’ I guess it embarrassed him. Anyway, we ended up not putting it out then.”?While the recording of Closer to the Bone doesn’t entirely replicate the off-the-cuff methodology of This Old Road – which was tracked with surround-sound equipment in a single session in the lounge of a Hollywood studio – the new album, made at the Village Recorder in West Los Angeles, aimed for the same earthy simplicity.
Most of the tracks were recorded live in the studio. Was says, “We tried to keep it as spontaneous as possible. There is some overdubbing on it, but for most of it we thought we’d try it with everybody playing.”
Was, who played bass on the sessions (as he had on the preceding album), once again drafted the other musicians who supported Kristofferson on This Old Road: guitarist and backup vocalist Stephen Bruton (who also co-wrote the Closer to the Bone tracks “From Here to Forever” and “Let the Walls Come Down”) and drummer Jim Keltner. Rami Jaffee of the Wallflowers contributed piano and accordion overdubs.
Such searing, contemplative songs as “Closer to the Bone” and “Hall of Angels” gained a melancholy resonance in the days following the completion of sessions for the album. On May 9, 2009, Bruton – one of Kristofferson’s closest friends and musical associates for four decades – died in Los Angeles at the age of 60 after a long battle with throat cancer. The album is dedicated to his memory.?“He was there while I was recording, and he was in great spirits at the time,” Kristofferson says of Bruton, who joined his band at the age of 20. “Stephen was more like a brother than a guy that worked with me. We went through a lot of years, a lot of laughter, a lot of heartache. I really felt close to Stephen. His spirit’s on the album.”
Was says of Bruton’s unique contributions to Kristofferson’s sound, “He and Kris just had a lock that Kris is never going to be able to get with anybody. It’s what comes from 40 years of playing together. They just had a way of weaving together.”
Kristofferson’s New West albums mark the latest works of a distinguished career that has encompassed the authorship of such classic American songs as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night”; stardom in such feature films as Lonestar, the Blade Trilogy, A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid and A Star is Born; honors including three Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and years of outspoken political and social activism. This November, he will be feted as a BMI Icon at the performing rights organization’s Country Awards. Kristofferson is currently a member of the Songwriter Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In the last decade, the now 73-year-old performer has been on a vigorous schedule of international solo appearances. Kristofferson says, “I was overseas doing a film when I got the opportunity to work in Ireland, and I didn’t have time to martial the troops. So I went out by myself, and it worked. I’ve been really surprised at selling out the shows everywhere. People are filling up the houses.
“Something was making a direct communication with the audience,” he adds, “and I guess it must be down to the essence of the songs. Because God knows, there’s better guitar players and singers. But it seems to be working with my material -- just me and the song.”
The Blasters are a rock and roll music group formed in 1979 in Downey, California, by brothers Phil Alvin (vocals and guitar), with bass guitarist John Bazz and drummer Bill Bateman. Phil Alvin explained the origin of the band's name: "I thought Joe Turner’s backup band on Atlantic records – I had these 78s – I thought they were the Blues Blasters. That ends up it was Jimmy McCracklin. I just took the 'Blues' off and Joe finally told me, that’s Jimmy McCracklin’s name, but you tell ‘im I gave you permission to steal it."
Their self-described "American Music" was a blend of blues music, rockabilly, early rock and roll, punk rock, mountain music, and rhythm and blues. They have a devoted fan base and have received largely positive critical reviews, but have earned only limited mainstream success. Critic Mark Demintg wrote of them, "the Blasters displayed a wide-ranging musical diversity were a supremely tight and tasteful band with enough fire, smarts, and passion for two or three groups."
The Alvin brothers had an early interest in blues music, and attended concerts by T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner and others, sometimes jamming and reminiscing with the musicians. Phil Alvin remembers that his mother would take him backstage to get harmonica lessons from Sonny Terry when Phil was still a boy. Rhythm and blues saxophone legend Lee Allen joined The Blasters for two albums and toured with the original line-up until his death in 1994. Steve Berlin (later of Los Lobos) joined, playing baritone sax, and Gene Taylor joined as well, performing boogie woogie-style piano. The current edition of The Blasters is missing Dave, but Phil continues to carry the torch high.
Lee Rocker made his mark singing, playing, standing on, spinning and rocking his giant upright bass in the legendary music group The Stray Cats. Grammy-nominated, The Stray Cats have sold nearly 10 million albums and garnered an astounding 23 gold and platinum certified records worldwide. Founded by Rocker, Brian Setzer, and Slim Jim Phantom, The Stray Cats remain a radio staple, were music video pioneers at the infancy of MTV, and repeatedly brought rockabilly music to the top of the charts.
This year kicked off with Lee joining the cast of the Broadway’s hit musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” Rocker stepped in to guest star for 12 performances in January. “Million Dollar Quartet” is inspired by the legendary recording session that took place Tuesday December 4, 1956 in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The session was an impromptu jam session among Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and additional musicians. Rocker played the role of Carl Perkins’ brother and bass player Jay Perkins. “The story is especially close to my heart,” says Rocker, who was a close friend and musical collaborator of Carl Perkins up until his passing.
2011 also saw the release of Lee’s newest recording, The Cover Sessions EP. The Cover Sessions is a side project that Rocker has been working on for the last 18 months, this record includes banjo’s, harmonica’s, dobro, mandolin, washboards and all types of folk american instruments. Lee put his americana twist on classic 1970's radio hits such as the Lennon/Mc Cartney song “Come together”, Elton John’s, “Honkey Cat’ and the Allman Brothers song “Ramblin Man”.
Currently, The Stray Cat Lee Rocker and his band are in the USA touring and preforming at Fairs, Festivals and venues. These concerts promise to have him preforming Stray Cats hits including “Rock this Town”, “Stray Cat Strut”, “Sexy and 17? as well as slamming renditions of songs from his many solo albums The Chicago Tribune described Rocker’s playing as “muscular and passionate.” The Washington Post says his show consists of “impressive, catchy, driving songs, frantic romps, finger-snapping swing and brooding slow blues.” Rolling Stone declares, “Lee Rocker’s singing naturally captures the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Rockers band consists of guitarist Buzz Campbell, guitarist/slide player Brophy Dale, and San Francisco’s maestro session drummer Jimmy Sage, The Stray Cat Lee Rocker delivers an incredible concert experience for all.
Being a native of London and nearby Southend, Levi grew up hearing the roots of rock ‘n’ roll in the Teddyboy pubs. On a strict diet or 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Oldies, Levi was very influenced by Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, and lists Bill Haley and his Comets as his favorite band. The first rock n’ roll concert Levi went to was the Wembley Rock n’ Roll Festival in 1972 with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley and His Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Fury and many other great performers of the 50’s era. By 1976, Levi was seen singing guest spots around London and with Teddyboy Bands such as Crazy Cavan and The Rhythm Rockers, and The Flying Saucers.
Buzz Campbell: Founder of the San Diego based rockabilly group, Hot Rod Lincoln, became a member of Shanana (2000-2004), and has been playing with Stray Cat Lee Rocker (2004-present). Buzz’s guitar work is all over Lee’s last two CD’s, Racin’ the Devil, and Black Cat Bone, both released on Alligator Records. Buzz even penned the track, “Crazy When She Drinks” for the Black Cat Bone album.
Buzz Campbell completed his largest tour to date by opening for the Stray Cats European Farwell Tour in the summer of 2008. The band warmed up audiences in seven different countries and by the end of the tour, were seen by over 100,000 people. Buzz and his newest line up, Jonny Bowler (Guana Batz bassist) and Stinky (drummer for artists Steve Poltz, Jewel, Buddy Blue), have just released their debut CD titled “Shivers and Shakes” Buzz is a master of rockabilly, roots country, blues, and roots rock styles. Buzz is sponsored by Gretsch Guitars.
Born in Booneville, Mississippi, just a stone’s throw from Elvis’s hometown of Tupelo, Hayden Thompson crystallized the music we now know as rockabilly when he too, recorded at Sun Studio, the locale that propelled his more well known neighbor to stardom. The song: a killer rendition of Junior Parker’s “Love My Baby” that was as simultaneously bluesy and rocking as Parker’s original. Not surprisingly, Thompson was born with music in his bones. His father was a guitarist while his mother sang gospel and played harmonica. Hayden’s first guitar, a Gibson, was a gift from his parents when he was five and it wasn’t long before he was picking up on early country acts such as the Delmore Brothers, Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow via Booneville’s country station WHIP. The root of the Thompson’s sound, however, drifted over the airwaves from Memphis’s WDIA which, besides spinning the latest blues and R&B discs, also featured live shows from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King. Thompson formed his first band, The Southern Melody Boys, while still in high school. They cut a record for the local VON label—home also to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio’s debut recording—in 1954. I Feel The Blues Coming On” was a country song, but it’s flip side, “Act Like You Love Me” pointed the way to Hayden’s future as a rock ‘n’ roll king pin. The band broke up over musical differences; they didn’t share Thompson’s fervor for the emerging style. After working the Mississippi-Arkansas-Tennessee-Louisiana circuit with the Dixie Jazzlanders, Hayden joined Sun artist Slim Rhodes’ band as vocalist, where he rocked alongside drummer James Van Eaton, who would soon gain fame with Jerry Lee Lewis. But before the killer’s records made Van Eaton’s tom-tom-flavored backbeat a household rhythm, both he and Lewis had played on Thompson’s “Love My Baby” cut in 1956. Roland Janes, whose explosively bluesy guitar work would also become a hallmark on Lewis’s Sun sound, provided the dazzling six-string blasts. Phillips waited until 1957 to release the record, but when he did Thompson hit the road with fellow rhythm marauders Sonny Burgess and Billy Riley to promote it. One can only imagine what this tour must have been like! Further sessions for Sun produced superb material like “Fairlane Rock” and “Blue, Blues, Blues” but they went unreleased at the time.
Omar Romero was born in Ensenada, Mexico, not very long ago. He has been playing guitar since he was 14. He formed his first band "The Screamin' Solo Flights" in August 1999. The band quickly gained a great reputation for their live shows and they toured most of the US until they decided to break up. Playing their last show at the Hollywood All Dayer in September 2001. They recorded two tracks on the Uranium Rock 10" and they were both club hits in the US and received great reviews worldwide. Omar decided that his next band would have a new direction. They would have a wilder rockabilly sound. Influenced by people like Hayden Thompson, Jackie Lee Cochran, Patt Cupp, Warren Smith, Tracey Pendavis. He formed Omar and the Stringpoppers in November 2001. They had their first show in Crazy Jacks with Big Sandy. The band has developed into the US's number one rockabilly band playing extensively throughout California and Europe. Omar onstage is like watching a tornado unleash. If you find this a bold statement, when you catch his live show, you will not be disappointed. Over the last two years, Omar and the Stringpoppers have played in Spain, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, UK, and they were one of the headliners at Viva Las Vegas 2003. They set a new record for encores and also for CDs sold at the weekender. They continue to headline shows throughout the US where their shows are seen as a major event. And in 2005, they are booked to headline Friday night at May Hemsby, which is usually attended by around 5000 people. From Hemsby, the Stringpoppers start their third European tour. In 2005, they return to Viva Las Vegas’ main stage where they are sure to create another storm. The Stringpoppers have released their first ever 45 RPM record and sold out while on their tour through Europe. Their first CD Take off Rhythm and second CD Getting Wilder with Omar and the Stringpoppers have both sold unbelievably well and are still very much in demand. Omar's permanent band consists of Omar Romero (vocals, rhythm guitar), Jeff Gerow (Drums, Hollers), Danny Angulo (Lead Guitar), Iggy Garcia (doghouse bass). Omar and the Stringpoppers play rockabilly music; their CD's are available through www.wildpresents.com under Merchandise.
Omar Romero - Vocals
Jeff Gerow - Drums
Victor Mendez - Bass
Corey Siu - Guitar
KING OF THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD
Deke Dickerson is one of America’s musical treasures. As an entertainer and musician, he has toured the world and established himself as one of the foremost purveyors of roots music, headlining festivals from Las Vegas to Finland. As a writer and music historian, he is well known for his regular column in Guitar Player magazine and recently authored two enormous essay projects for Bear Family’s 2007 Merle Haggard box sets. As an entrepreneur, Deke has partnered with Hallmark Guitars to produce the Deke Dickerson model guitar, as unique in its design as its namesake. As a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker, Deke has recorded songs that have been featured in a variety of movies, TV shows, and radio programs, from the Oscar-winning movie Sideways to HBO’s documentary Dirty Driving: Thundercars of Indiana and the hugely popular XM satellite radio show Theme Time Radio Hour with Bob Dylan. For this last item, Deke not only contributed background guitar music but was also interviewed and quoted by Bob Dylan.
Deke’s latest project is his new studio album, King of the Whole Wide World. Like his previous albums it’s a musical journey through the twisted roots of Americana, but this time the roots go deeper and further than ever before.
He comments, “People love to label me rockabilly, but that’s just a small fraction of what I do. There are a couple of great rockabilly songs on the new album, but there are a lot of other styles as well, from bluegrass (“Boone County Blues”) to western swing (“Misshapen Hillbilly Gal”) to Memphis soul (“Make Way for a Better Man”) to doo-wop and rhythm and blues (“Itchin’ for My Baby”). The title track (“King of the Whole Wide World”) could even be called old-timey; it’s a tongue-in-cheek, autobiographical song about being a rich man without the constraints of money or fame. I decided the song sounded better with some 78 rpm record noise dubbed onto it. Call me sentimental, but I really think music like that sounds better with a little grit.”
For the recording process, Deke enlisted the help of the many friends he’s made during his musical journeys. The core band consists of “Crazy” Joe Tritschler, the new guitar whiz-kid that has proved a fan favorite, as well as his old friends Chris “Sugarballs” Sprague on drums, Wally Hersom and Jimmy Sutton on bass, and Carl Sonny Leyland on the piano.
Guest artists include the western swing band the Lucky Stars, who back up Deke on the politically incorrect (but very funny) “Misshapen Hillbilly Gal,” and Mary Huff of Southern Culture on the Skids, who contributes high harmony vocals on the honky-tonk number “Do You Think of Me.”
All in all, King of the Whole Wide World proves why Deke Dickerson could be called the Renaissance man of roots music. Rising above the numerous revivalists and cartoonlike retro bands on today’s scene, he has forged something new, exciting, and original, utilizing all the great American musical styles of the last century to take his musical journey forward, not backward.
2008 will find Deke on the road promoting King of the Whole Wide World. Tours across the United States will be supplemented with trips abroad to Australia, Europe, and even Estonia in the former Soviet Union! Perhaps the title King of the Whole Wide World isn’t so tongue-in-cheek after all.
Deke formed Untamed Youth at age 17 in his hometown of Columbia, Missouri. The now-legendary surf-garage band released a total of eight full-length albums. In 1991 he moved to Los Angeles and joined Dave Stuckey to form the Dave & Deke Combo, a partnership that yielded two albums and a much-touted 2005 reunion at major rockabilly festivals. Embarking on a solo career in 1997, Deke was immediately signed to HighTone Records and released three albums for the label, touring nationally as a solo act and as an opening band for Cake, Mike Ness, and the Reverend Horton Heat (who has written on his website: "Deke Dickerson is the best rockabilly guitarist in the world!").
In recent years Deke has also toured nationally as a lead singer for the legendary instrumental band Los Straitjackets and with the great Western guitar-and-steel-guitar duo Biller & Wakefield. He has toured as a stripped-down rockin' three-piece band and as a swingin' rhythm and blues five-some with saxophones and piano. On his many recordings, he has had guests as diverse as the doo-wop group the Calvanes and punk guitar legend Billy Zoom.
Playing an average of 225 shows every year throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia, Deke spends his rare moments at home with recording projects (he owns his own label, Ecco-Fonic Records) and writing articles and liner notes for music magazines and CD box set reissues.
With a command of the six string guitar in a style all but dead, and a stripped down story telling lyrical sense, Peewee Moore steps up to the plate like John Henry with his 9 Lb hammer! Within a genre somewhere between Waylon Jennings, and Bill Monroe, Peewee Moore is a self proclaimed Honkytonk/Outlaw Country Singer/Songwriter. He tours around doing an endless string of one night stands from Austin TX to you name it. If you haven't seen a show it's your own fault! Peewee tours either as a solo acoustic, as a duo, or with his 3 piece band "Peewee Moore & The Awful Dreadful Snakes"
Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian rainforest just across the Tennessee border in Fort Oglethorpe, GA, Peewee spent most of his time haunting the streets of Chattanooga, TN playing many of his first shows in, and around the choo choo city. Peewee spent the consecutive years making a name for himself as an accomplished picker, and songwriter throughout the Southeast.
Members: Gary Best, John Dwyer, Pete, Jimmy
Born from another band that played a few Johnny Cash songs, Cash On The Line is a dedicated Johnny Cash Tribute Band.