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old-school psychobilly

Rusty Robots (the)

Rusty Robots (the) – A Forest

Rob-O-Tone – ROBOT-001
A Forest / Carnage In Dark Streets – Twilight Love – At Night

Rusty Robots

The German Psychobilly scene is particularly healthy nowadays. Earlier this year, we were graced with the release of the excellent compilation album The Young And the Wild Ones featuring Rango Meißner, who replaced Paddy on slap bass in the Rusty Robots along with Norman’ Salmi’ Denks on vocals and guitar and Chris Harbart on drums.
This is their first release with this line-up and drum roll: this is a killer.
The band previously recorded The Cure’s A Forest for their debut album and placed it at the end of the CD as a hidden track. That was an already excellent version, but this new one is even better. It perfectly captures the angst of the original song, but Salmi’s voice and guitar add a manic and frantic dimension to the tune. Next to him, Chris keeps the beat, and Rango propels the song with a powerful slap bass.
But there’s more! When you think things couldn’t get any better and the song might end traditionally, the trio slides into something completely different and darker with added lyrics. In fact, this extended version takes its inspiration from the excellent live performance played by the Cure in Werchter in 1981, when the band was asked to leave the stage resulting in an epic nine-minute version of A Forest (go watch it on youtube, you won’t regret it!). How clever of the Rusty Robots to take a live ‘accident’ and incorporate it to propose a new version of the song. And you wonder why this trio is my favourite contemporary Psychobilly band? There’s another reason, to tell you the truth, more obvious: the Rusty Robots play Psychobilly in its purest form (yes, even a bastardized music like Psychobilly can have a purest form); I mean this is not sped-up Rockabilly or Punk with a double-bass or else. The band’s influences may come from various sources, but the final result is that every groove of that record screams ‘Psychobilly’. The three songs featured on side B, all penned by the band, perfectly illustrate what I am trying to say. Carnage In Dark Street is threatening but with a steady pace (like Wreckin’ Crew was), and Twilight Love showcases the excellence of the rhythm section. At Night closes the set with some syncopated/tribal drums and equals the Batmobile’s best moments.

So grab a copy of this perfect slice of Psychobilly, but be fast since it’s a limited edition to 500 copies.

Buy it here:

Rusty Robots (the) – Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives

Killjoy Records KILL 029 [2018]

Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives – The Last Man On Earth – Dust to Dust

Rusty Robots

To my great shame I didn’t know the Rusty Robots until very recently. I must admit being some kind of a traditionalist. I like my vampires to look like Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee rather than Robert Pattinson and when it comes to Psychobilly I prefer a good old fast rockabilly slap bass, spare drums, light guitar and a mean singer rather than a punk-metal band with a double bass. And the Rusty Robots sound exactly as if they came straight from the 8O’s. Had they appear on the scene 35 years earlier they would top the bill at the legendary Klub Foot .

Their latest release for Killjoy records makes no exception. First, look at that cover! Have you seen something cooler since the front cover of the Scannerz or the back of Batmobile‘s debut album? Talking about Batmobile, the title track is a superb fast psychobilly number that would make Johnny Zuidhof and the Haamers brothers red with envy. Instant classic.

On B-side you’ll find the last man on earth, another classic old school psychobilly tune with nice changes of pace. It’s followed by Dust a Dust a demo recording. The sound is raw, but far from being a problem, this stripped down sound shows the qualities of the Rusty Robots in term of musicianship and melody.

Limited to 500 copies, 450 in black and 50 in yellow, though I’m afraid that the yellow ones are already out of print.

Available at Killjoy records or Razmataz records.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Psycho Tendencies

The Minestompers vs Psycho Tendencies

Get stomped Rec GSR 004 [2022]
Minestompers: Satisfier 2.0 – Rim Fire / Psycho Tendencies: Feel the Rop – Run Out Of Weed

I have already had the opportunity to write all the good things I think about these two groups. So imagine my joy when I received this split-Ep from Get Stomped records. The Minestompers and Psycho Tendencies are two different groups, but this difference works particularly well because the two groups are complementary. And if we have to find a common point between the two groups, apart from the fact that they play a first-rate Psychobilly, it is bad taste, but good bad taste. Who doesn’t want to buy a record that says, “unsuited for small-minded dickheads” as a warning?
The Minestompers, from Cologne, play a traditional Psychobilly with an electric bass, which could bring them closer to the Meteors (Wreckin’ Crew period) and the first Coffin Nails. Sastifier 2.0 is mid-tempo with a solid drive and benefits from the presence of Boney (from the Rockabilly band Boney & the Shakers) on the backing vocals. Rim Fire is faster. The track alternates purely Psychobilly parts with Rockabilly guitar and darker Garage, almost metal, moments.
Psycho Tendencies are from Barcelona and are also in the old-school vein. After a slow and superb slap bass intro, Feel The Rope alternates jungle drums with fast parts and magnificent guitar work throughout. Run Out Of Weed (these guys know to write about essential subjects) is already, at least for me, a classic. Led by a high-pitched and mean vocal, this wild track takes no prisoner. Clocking at 1’37“, you barely have time to realize what is happening to you.
It’s been released in Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Black but don’t wait too long; there are only 300 copies available.

Psycho Tendencies – Big Foot Stomp

Get Stomped Records [2020]
Bigfoot Stomp / Friday Night / Discos are on fire / Alone in the moon

Psycho Tendencies is a Spanish Psychobilly band, named I suppose from the same name’s Raucous compilation. They previously released one studio album and one live recording on cassette. Yes, you read it well, these guys do it the old-school way. The same goes for the music you’ll find on this ep, published by the newly created Get Stomped Records from Germany (Martin Grobe from the Minestompers, see below, is behind the label) and limited to 300 copies.
Their singer sings with a hoarse voice that works perfectly well with the tight rhythm section and the clean guitar sound. Kudos to Ivan, their guitar player, who produces a monumental amount of work whether to add meat on the rhythm with intricate patterns or with his fast solos.
The A-side is a bit more Psychobilly and wild, while the B-side shows some hint of neo-Rockabilly. Both are excellent.
Had it been released in the late 80s, my Psychobilly buddies and I would have made an anthem of Friday Night!
The cover designed by King Rat is splendid.

The Radioactive Kid

Juvenile Delinquents

Juvenile Delinquents – Jumpin Around

Tombstone Records – TOMB-DISC 666 [1987]
Jump Around – Glad All Over – Ghost Train – Our Generation – Oeh Ah – She’s Wild So Wild

Juvenile Delinquents

It’s not easy to find pieces of information about The Juvenile Delinquents. The trio consisted of Crazy Eef on guitar, Ome Piet on electric bass and Robert van Driel on drums. They formed in the second half of the eighties and recorded this mini-album in January 1987. Using an electric bass gave them a fuller and more in-tune sound than many. If the Juvenile Delinquents are, musically speaking, a tight little band, one can’t say the same about the vocals that are a bit young.
Anyway, the songs are good, even excellent, like Ghost Train, and they had a good idea to release a mini-album to avoid the repetitions.

Rockats (the) – Psychobilly band

Rockats, not to be confused with the famous American neo-rockabilly band, were a psychobilly trio from Amsterdam. Originally known as a high school band named the Wild Rabbits, the Rockats formed in November 1987 with Martijn Spanteren on guitar and vocals, Arjan de Witt on electric bass and Remko Visser on drums.
After the band split, Remko Visser remained active, playing with Asmodeus.

Rockats (the) – The First Take Off

Tombstone Records Tomb-Disc 671 [1988]
Take-Off – Poor Zombie – Lost City – Lonesome Cowboy – I Hope She Loves Me – Mama – Gone – Don’t Leave Me Alone – Lucy – Prisoner – Screw & Roll – Baby Baby – Rapping Spirit

In May of the following year, they recorded their first album, “The first Take Off”, for Tombstone Records. It contains some good songs, but the global sound is slightly “young” though, like the Juvenile Delinquents, the use of an electric bass gives them a fuller and more precise sound. The main problem is the vocals. The singer tends to overact, and his scratchy voice is a bit annoying in the long run.

Rockats (the) – Keep On Turning

Tombstone Records Tomb-Disc 675 [1989]
Rockats – The Shadow – Rattlesnake – Nightmare – Let’s Go Crazy – Doctor Doctor – Everybody Needs Somebody To Love – Black Sunshine – All I Have To Do – Redlight Woman – Spend The Night With You – Whiskey On The Rocks

rockats keep on turning

One year later, they released “Keep On Turning”, still on Tombstone. This one is way better. It contains a few good ideas like Rattlesnake, a spaghetti western-tinged number, and original arrangements too. Furthermore, the singing shows quite an improvement.

Rockats (the) – The Last Crusade

Tombstone Records Tomb-disc 687 [1990]
Keep On Rock’In – Wanted – 1991 – Satisfied – Seducer – Last Crusade – Break Out – Fire – One Night Stand – Your Eyes – Burn In Hell – Jane

“The Last Crusade”, their third and last album, appeared in 1990. It contains excellent songs like the Seducer, featuring superb bouncing bass.
Other songs slightly departed from their previous release with more aggressive melodies and metal influences akin to the Krewmen of the same period.

The Radioactive Kid


Frenzy – Hall of Mirrors

Nervous NER016 [1985]
One last chance – Schitzophrenic emotions – Choice – Hall of mirrors(1) – Frenzy – Asylum moves – Skeleton rock – Sweet money – Ghost train – Long gone – Surfin’ bird – Was it me? – Wound up – Frustration – Hall of mirrors(2) – Robot riot – Cry or die – All alone – Torment

Frenzy – Hall of mirrors

If a label “classic psychobilly album” would exist, Hall Of Mirror would be among the first to deserve it.
In 1983, the split of the Sharks allowed Steve Whitehouse to fully concentrate on his new project: Frenzy. By many aspects Frenzy were more adventurous than the Sharks. It marked a new step for the psychobilly scene that was in full bloom and the band went into musical territories rarely explored by slap bass led combos. The recording of Hall Of Mirrors, produced by Paul “Doc” Stewart, began with Simon Brand on guitar and Merv Pepler on drums, this trio having already released one ep for a Dutch label (included on the cd reissues of this album). But Brand quickly left the band (he later formed Torment) with only three songs ready for the forthcoming album (Frustration, Frenzy, Sweet Money).
Whitehouse eventually hired Kev Saunders to complete the album. Both Saunders and Pepler came from different musical horizons and combined with the double bassist’s rockabilly background the result was an unusual, unique and explosive combination.


Musically speaking, Whitehouse fast slapping and technique proved to be a lasting influence for the many psychobilly bassmen that followed.
Hall Of Mirrors offered originals (including a reworking of the Sharks’ Skeleton Rock) and one cover (Surfin’ Bird) probably the only weak track of the album (but who could come after the Trashmen and the Cramps?).
The lyrics also set up new standard. I addition to the usual crew of ghosts, skeleton etc. you can also find songs about madness, frustration and teenage angst.

Frenzy – Clockwork Toy

I.D. Records ‎– NOSE 8 [1986]
Clockwork Toy – I See Red – Misdemeanour – Nightmares – Love Is the Drug – Mexican Radio – Howard Hughes – In My Prison – Aftermath – Nobody’s Business

Frenzy - Clockwork Toy
Frenzy – Clockwork Toy

With Clockwork Toy, Frenzy confirmed their status of “Psychobilly band with more than two ideas in their songs”. The accent is put on arrangements and variations, giving more elaborated melodies (and sometimes more pop sounding) than your usual fast paced rockabilly (Misdemeanour, Clockwork Toy, Howard Hughes…). And if Whithehouse’s heavy slap bass links the whole thing to the rockabilly idiom (listen to “I See Red” – which spent some decent time in the indie charts – or “Nightmares“), the sound of the guitar doesnt owe anything to the genre. There’s a lot of production work. A powerfull live band, they also want to prove they can deliver a “real” album and not only a hastily live in the studio recording of stage favorites. These’ll remain a constant (with varied degrees of success) in Frenzy’s carreer. Retrospectivly, it sometimes turns to the disadvantage of the band and this will to explore technology shows its limits. The synthetizer’s sound on “Love Is A Drug” (yes Roxy Music’s one) or the drums on “Howard Hughes” sound terribly dated now, and let’s say it, very cheap.
But this minor flaws left aside, Clockwork Toys is as important, for different reasons, as their debut album and still stands today as a classic of the genre.
It’s later been reissued on cd with two b-sides from the same period and 3 songs from Sally’s Pink Bedroom


Frenzy – Sally’s Pink Bedroom

I.D. Records – NOSE 19 [1987]
The Red Book – Sign Of The Times – The Hunt – Game Of Love – Satisfaction – House On Fire – Like Father, Like Son – Man At The Top – Blue Eyes – Jumped The Gun – Run To You – Gotta Go!

Recorded in October 1987 and released the following month, Sally’s Pink Bedroom is Frenzy’s unloved album. On its release, it was shunned by a large part of the fans who criticized it for its polished sound, its arrangements, its covers of artists such as Tubeway Army, Katrina & the Waves or Bryan Adams and, oh sacrilege, its artwork on which Steve Whitehouse proudly poses with an electric bass.
Especially Psychobilly lovers did not find the group’s identity in this album, which had stormed the scene with two almost-perfect albums. In the end, Sally’s Pink Bedroom suffered a fate similar to Restless’s After Midnight.
But if we look more closely, this evolution was in germ from Clockwork Toy (after all, there is already a cover of Roxy Music’s Love Is A Drug). In addition, Whitehouse is a musician who has never hidden his interest in groups that go beyond the simple framework of music rooted in Rockabilly. Besides, was it not to escape a rockabilly scene that was too narrow-minded that he threw himself into the nascent Psychobilly, first with the Sharks, then Frenzy? The same goes for Kev Saunders and Merv Peppler.
But what about this album? Is it as catastrophic as the reputation that precedes it wants to say? Well no! I’m not saying this is the album I would use to introduce someone to Frenzy (do not exaggerate), but if you approach it with an open and curious mind, you’ll find more than enough to please you.
First, let’s get rid of the big crash, the industrial incident: their version of Satisfaction. Forget it! Once this done, we can seriously approach the rest of the album. This consists of two parts. One includes House On Fire, Man At The Top, The Hunt, Jumped The Gun (all written by the band), and Gotta Go, the G-Men (ex-Blue Cats) cover. These five songs are an extension of Clockwork Toy. House On Fire is quite simply one of the best songs ever recorded by Frenzy. Likewise, Man At The Top and Jumped the Gun demonstrate the band’s talent for composing songs with more than two melodic ideas, a skill many bands must envy. And what about the take on Gotta Go? Do you know many covers superior to the original version? Did Whitehouse suspect while recording this song that he would join the Blue Cats many years later?
The second group, composed of the remaining songs, shows a group experimenting and having fun. These songs are different from what you usually find on a Psychobilly record (but after all, it doesn’t say anywhere that it’s a Psychobilly record). Above all, these are good songs, no matter what label you put on them. Game Of Love (Katrina and the Waves) is a skilful cross between a sixties song and a Billy Idol track, while Run To You (Bryan Adams) has a little Soul side revisited by the 80s, finally quite close to what the Rockats did with One More Heartache.
Admittedly, Pat Collier’s production spoils a bit and seems quite dated today, especially on Sign Of The Time and Red Book, but the melodies and rhythms remain unstoppable.
If you own this album, do not hesitate to take it out of the limbo in which you left it 35 years ago. If you don’t have it, take off your blinders and enjoy the music (not the awful cover art.)

Frenzy – Live at the 100 Club

Nervous Records NER 033 – Raucous Records [1988]
I see red – Misdemeanour – Love is the drug 4.House on fire – Howard Hughes – The hunt – Clockwork toy – Migraine – Gotta go! – It’s All Over Now – Robot riot

Frenzy - Live at the 100 Club
Frenzy – Live at the 100 Club

In the quantity of live albums released by psychobilly bands, many were disappointing, whether they were poorly recorded (remember the Live & Loud serie on Link) or the band wasn’t able to recreate the studio recordings on stage. Among the best you find The Long Tall texansFive Beans In The Wheel, The SharksLive In Japan, a couple of Meteors and… Frenzy’s Live At The 100 Club. Recorded in 1986, it’s a magic combination of a perfect recording and a tight band of true professionnals, playing at that time 150 dates per year. The set draws heavily into Clockwork Toy recorded that same year.They kick off with a roaring version of their indie charts hit I See Red. Misdemeanor quickly follows, featuring a pumping slap bass, showing how good Steve Whitehouse is.Roxy Music’s Love Is A Drug is far better than the album version. The keyboards parts being replaced by a guest saxophonist giving a bit of a ska touch. They alternate “straight in your face” wild numbers (House On Fire) with their more complex and melodic songs (Clockwork Toy, Howard Hughes) with equal degrees of success. Next are a couple of covers, The Ricochets’Migraine, The G-Men’s Gotta Go and a epic 8 minute It’s All Over Now a song previously performed by Withehouse in The Sharks’ set. This perfect disc ends with a 100 mp/h rendition of their “early” classic Robot Riot that almost manages to make you forget the studio version. Issued on vinyl by Nervous in 1988, it’s been reissued by Raucous in 2001.

Frenzy – The Very Best-Of

Rage CD 107 [1990]

Frenzy - best-of
Frenzy – best-of

A very good overview of the band’s seven first years including songs from Hall Of Mirrors, Clockwork Toy and This Is the Fire as well as unreleased stuff like Long Gone recorded live at Hemsby and some b-sides too.

Frenzy – Live in Japan

Raucous Records RAUCD046
Nervous Breakdown- Clockwork Toy – Misdemeanour – Hall of Mirrors – I See Red – This is the Fire – CC Rider – Love is a Drug – Mad Mad World – Brand New Gun – Long Gone – Tush – Robot Riot – It’s All Over Now – Cry or Die

Frenzy Live in Japan

Another very good live album recorded in Japan (see Restless and the Sharks for others great live albums recorded in jpan with Steve Whitehouse) in 1993.

It’s a very powerful set with all the classics and a couple of covers like Brand New Gun (Tall Boys), Tush (ZZ Top), Nervous Breakdown (Cochran), CC Rider (Elvis) and Royx Music’s Love is a Drug.

It’s very different – and yet very complementary – to Live at the 100 Clubsince Carl Parry has a very Metal sound compared to Kev Saunders who was more ‘new wave meets rockabilly’. It sometimes a bit too much, but more often than not it works very well, even with the songs from Hall of Mirror and Clockwork Toy.

The Swamp Dogs (german psychobilly band)

swamp dogs

The Swamp Dogs

The Swamp Dogs was one the best and most original German bands of the second half of the eighties. Sadly, a subtle combination of bad luck and bad timing didn’t allow them to reach the success they deserved.
In 2019, Crazy Love reissued their complete recordings on one superb LP, and, hopefully, a brand new generation will discover this excellent band.

The story of the Swamp Dogs begins in June 1982, when Nockes Kläpper (guitar and vocals) and Roland Heinrich (drums and vocals) form the Bop Cats. Later that year, in October, Christian “Doc Praetorious” Beekes and Thomas Jaroszek join the duo. After a period of rehearsal, the band plays its first gig in February 1983. In April, Atilla Yüncüoglu plays harmonica with the band on stage and secretly hopes to join them on piano. Around the same time, Nockes leaves the band to fully concentrate on his apprenticeship. Michael Schleifer, a friend of Thomas, integrates the line-up on bass guitar, and the Bop Cats become the Catweazles (to avoid confusion with another band called the Bop Cats). He’ll stay with the band only for a short spell leaving the combo after a couple of weeks, followed in October by Thomas.
January 1984. Roland starts to practice with a guitar and a cello leaving the drums to Attila (after all, a piano was a bit too expensive). The name changes once again to the Percolators, and they begin to add Psychobilly to their set-list. Still not able to buy one (he was 15 at the time), Heinrich either plays electric bass or borrows the slap bass of Marcel Strom of the R.A.T.S.
In February 1985, Attila leaves the combo to form his own band with his cousin Vural on guitar, Marcel Strom on bass, and Carsten Riemath on vocals. Jochen Vaupel replaces him.
By April 1985, things finally move fast. Roland buys a double bass, and Hagman (ex Crisis) joins the trio, giving birth to the Swamp Dogs. The line-up lasts until the end of the year when Jochen and Hagman leave. January sees the return of Attila, and later that year, Stefan Schusters climbs aboard as second singer and washboard player. The line-up is now Roland Heinrich (double bass and vocals), Stefan Schusters (vocals and washboard), Christian “Doc Praetorious” (guitar), and Attila (drums). More shows follow.

swamp dogsIn October, they record four songs (Roland and Stefan sing two songs each). The recordings were supposedly lost but reappeared when Crazy Love released the excellent Teenage Werewolf L.P. Thanks to a band’s friend, they open for Batmobile, Long Tall Texans, and Krewmen.
The year 1987 begins with Stefan leaving the band. They envisage the possibility to add a second guitar player but ultimately decide to keep on as a trio. By the time Roland’s taste has evolved, moving toward Garage bands like the Vibes, The Sting Rays, The Escalators, and the Medway scene.
The Swamp Dogs return to the studio in February to start working on an L.P. The recordings come to Peter Wahler’s ears, and the band releases its debut single (Bad Moon Rising/Mind & Music) in August. In the meantime, they share the bill with the Meteors, Les Wampas, and the Krewmen.
The single sell well enough to convince Rundell to record an album, thus in December 1987, they enter the studio. Being booked to open for the Krewmen during their German tour of February 1988, The Swamp Dogs hope to release their album for this date. Sadly not only is the tour postponed, but the record is not ready. Despite some live activities, the months pass, and the album is still not released—worst, Christian announces that he leaves the band.
Roland organizes a Summer Festival in Essen, which will be Christian’s farewell gig. The festival featuring the Scannerz and Cruisin’ is an absolute disaster, especially for Roland, the promoter. Not only is the attendance poor, but due to some vandalization, Roland is faced with a lawsuit. This marks the end of the Swamp Dogs.
Finally, one year after the recording sessions, My True Story is released on Rundell. But at the time, not very pleased by the violence one could find in gigs and the evolution of the Psychobilly genre toward Metal, Roland has returned to a more roots-oriented style of music, playing blues and hillbilly. He forms the Little Green Men with Attila and his cousin Vural. Two songs are recorded and appear on Listen To The Ape Call next to The Catfish trio, Clear Rats, Cruisin, and Rockabilly Mafia. The compilation also includes one track by the swamp Dogs.
Seeing that the band is still active, even if it’s under another name, Rundell offers them to record six songs for a split release with Ray Anthony and the Spingbusters, as long as they return to their old name.
In February, they record six songs, and the album is scheduled to be released in May. The band book shows to coincide with it, but once again, bad luck strikes, and the album is not released in time (it will not see the light of the day until June 1990!) It’s too late for the band, and by December 1989, the Swamp Dogs/Little Green Men have called it quit.
Roland Heinrich later formed the Crackerjacks with Andy Bungert (R.A.T.S) on drums and Uwe Grefrath. Attila joined Cruisin with his brother Aziz. Sadly Christian passed away in 2016.

Teenage Werewolf liner notes by Ernst Fröhlich
Interview with the Swamp Dogs in Transsylvanian News

swamp dogs

swamp dogs

swamp dogs swamp dogs swamp dogs swamp dogs

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