An interview with Cavan Grogan (Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers)
Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers are the longest rockabilly band in activity with a line-up almost unchanged. They made the link between the pioneers of the 50’s and the rockabilly revival of the 80’s, and when bands were happy to play covers, they came with a set of solid originals and never stop writing classic after classic. What Rockabilly fan have never heard of Sadie, Teddy Boy Boogie, Are You Still Crazy, My Little Sister, Rockabilly Rules OK, The Rockin’ Alcoholic, Hey Teenager?
Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers always give themsleves at 100% on stage and I’m ready to bet my collection that they never refuse a picture with a fan.
For all this things, and for the rest you have in store, Cavan, Lyndon, Terry, Mike and Graham (without forgetting Vance and Don), thanks a lot!
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
Proud fan club member #76
(this interview with Cavan Grogan was conducted when the band was celebrated its 40 years of activity)
Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers will soon celebrate its 40th birthday. What are your feelings?
Could you imagine it would last that long when you started?
Cavan Grogan 40 Year’s no way man, I don’t think we even thought about how long the band might last.We were just having fun, and trying to keep rock’n’roll alive.
But we knew we’d always be rock’n’roll fans.
Did you see an evolution of the rockin’ scene during these years?
Cavan Grogan Oh yes we saw the rockabilly thing coming and a lot of fans of the music started to look back at the roots, Swing even came into the rock’n’roll scene for a while, Like Louis Jordan, Louis Prima ect. Also hillbilly and blues. A lot of young bands started up across Europe which led to today’s scene.
The line up of Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers has remained extremely steady across the years, which is very rare…
Cavan Grogan Yeah we just can’t hold bass player’s they keep going then coming back for more.
From the beginning you wrote your own songs and proved that rock’n’roll was a living thing. Was it hard to impose new songs to the audience ?
Cavan Grogan Well we like doing some of the old song’s, But we like to do them our way. But we al way’s felt new original material is what would keep the ball rolling and attract new , maybe younger fan’s into the scene. We had no trouble getting our song’s over because when we started nobody had heard of most of the 50’s rockabilly we were playing anyway.
How do you choose the covers that you play?
Cavan Grogan First off, I have to like the song, Then we have to mould it into the bands style. We never pick song’s because they’re popular, and we try to avoid songs the other bands are playing. Although if they become popular by us, most bands start doing them any how like, Old Black Joe, Creek Goes Dry etc.
What was the music you grew up listening to, before you were old enough to choose music by yourself? What was the music in your house and did your family had an importance in the music you listened to and later played?
Cavan Grogan I think I always choose the music I liked even as a kid I twiddled with the radio and listened to music on the fair grounds. My father yo used to sing some great old Irish songs with wonderful lyrics.
What was the first rock’n’roll/rockabilly record you’ve heard?
Cavan Grogan When I was a kid I lived in a town called Claremorrris in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. The music there was mostly country or traditional Irish. But you had the fair grounds the radio, and the cinema. I remember hearing Bill Haley quite often, But what really knocked me out , Was when I saw the film Lovin You with Elvis in the amazing scenes like lonesome cowboy with the spotlight. Got a lot of livin to do, with his scruffy denims, and i couldn’t stop singing let’s have a party. !! I wasn’t to see this movie again for about 20 years. But i never forgot those scenes. And have never seen anything to beat them to this day. I’m sure that was the day I decided to be a singer. (On their latest album, Cavan wrote a song called Groovy At The Movie about this memories)
What did appeal to you in Rockabilly?
Cavan Grogan Rockabilly to me is a rock’n’roll stripped down to it’s bare essentials. The appeal is like skiffle. You feel if you can hold a good steady beat play a few chords, It’s open for anyone to have a go. Although in the reality it’s far more complicated then that. I loved that ol slap bass, and the echo’s vocal’s ‘n’ hiccups yeah man!!
One can safely say you didn’t feel very concerned by the music of your generation?
Cavan Grogan Yes I had no interest in the music of my generation, Rock’n’roll to me was the big explosion. My interest was to look back on what caused this, not to follow a bit of sharpnal that flew off into space from it.
There’s always been a huge dose of country music in your songs. Was it easy to find this stuff in the UK?
Cavan Grogan Yeah it was fairly easy i think Hank William’s was the first one i took to.
Did you see onstage or hear on record a band that impressed you recently?
Cavan Grogan Yes I often see bands that impress me. I like bands who don’t copy who try to do things their own way. And put all there energy into putting it over
What is the album you’re never tired of listening to?
Cavan Grogan Gotta be Carl Perkins Dance album or maybe Elvis Rock’n’Roll No2. And now thinking about it there are quite a few actually.
Just by curiosity, what is the last record you bought?
Cavan Grogan I recently found a copy of Nellie Lutcher singing Fine Brown Frame on a 78, Doe’s that count ?
It sure does, one last word?
Cavan Grogan LET”S FUCKIN ROCK !!!