Browse Tag

Planet Rockers

Boz Boorer

boz boorer

Boz Boorer All-Stars – Shine At Sun

Sleazy Records – SR156 [2020]
One More Drink – Wild Side Of Life – Lookin’ For My Baby – Come On

In May 2018, Boz Boorer (Polecats) and his wife Lynn (Shillelagh Sisters) went to Sun Studios in Memphis. There, they recorded a couple of tracks with a bunch of friends. The Boz Boorer All-Stars consist of Pat Panioty (Deltas) on acoustic guitar, Jimmy Van Eaton (original Sun drummer who played with Warren Smith, Roy Orbison, Billy Lee Riley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more), Eddie Angel (Planet Rockers, Los Straitjackets) on guitar, Alberto Telo (Shaun Young, Colton Turner) on percussions and Lloyd Tripp and Sonny George (Planet Rockers) on vocals.
Lloyd Tripp takes the lead vocals on Lookin’ For My Baby that he also penned. The song is a tremendous hiccupy Rockabilly, sounding like a mix between Castin’ My Spell and Baby Let’s Play House. Boz Boorer sings on a rocking version of Hank Thompson’s Wild Side of Life. Both are great, but Sonny George steals the show with his deep and commanding voice. He delivers two amazing country-rock songs (Hershell Butt’s One More Drink and Wynn Stewart Come On), ideally backed by the band who plays with palpable pleasure.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Mark Winchester, slap bass Rockabilly hero

Mark Winchester
Mark Winchester

Mark Winchester

He’s slapped his doghouse bass for Emmylou Harris’s Nash Ramblers. He performed with Sonny George and Eddie Angel in the rockabilly cult favorite group, the Planet Rockers. He’s penned songs for Randy Travis, was the longtime bassist for the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and was a member of Setzer’s ’68 Comeback Special trio. He’s Mark W. Winchester, rockabilly journeyman, and he’s pretty much done it all.
Although known for his ability behind the upright bass, Mark is a talented singer, as well. He provided vocals for the track “Rooster Rock” on the Brian Setzer ’68 Comeback Special album Ignition!, and recently release his first solo effort, All These Young Punks. The disc is a bit of a departure for Mark, showcasing his rich, southern-twanged voice and songwriting talents, as opposed to his bass playing capabilities. 
Although no longer a member of the BSO, Mark Winchester’s ties to Brian Setzer remain strong. He performed upright bass duties on Setzer’s recent Sun Records cover album, Rockabilly Riot, Volume 1; it was around this time that I conducted the following interview with the prolific musician.
by Denise Daliege-Pierce

When did you begin playing the slap bass?
Mark Winchester I started playing upright around 1982-83. I had just started college at the University of South Carolina, and was trying to start a band with me singing and playing guitar, but we could never find an upright bass player. I volunteered to get a bass and teach myself to play it, since I had taken three or four electric bass lessons in the eighth grade. When I finally found one, it immediately felt right in my hands.

Who were your greatest musical influences?
Mark Winchester I taught myself to slap to Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio album. I had a Sun compilation tape I listened to a lot. The first music that really got me excited was the Ramones, the Clash, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson; first Police record. I found that same energy when I started investigating ‘50’s rockabilly, and fell in love with all those records, too.

What brand of bass do you play?
Mark Winchester ¾ scale blonde Kay, early ‘40’s.

How many do you own?

Mark Winchester Just the big banana right now, the bass I played on “Jump, Jive and Wail”. At one time, I had three.

Who are some of your favorite slap bassists?

Mark Winchester The late Dorsey Burnette, Willie Dixon and Bill Black.

How did you break into the music business?
Mark Winchester I moved to Nashville [Tennessee], sat in with a band on my upright, got invited to be in a video because I looked “rockabilly”; met Eddie Angel on that video shoot, and he said he was starting a band. I said I play doghouse. That’s how I got in on the ground floor of the Planet Rockers.

The Planet Rockers
The Planet Rockers

What are some of your memories of the Planet Rockers and your time with them?

Mark Winchester Wow. This is a tough request. I remember the Planet Rockers being a great looking band onstage. We looked like a band. We sounded like a band. I didn’t realize, at the time, how rare that is. The chemistry, the vibe; that ingredient “x” that you just can’t put your finger on. We had a lot of fun.

Many people don’t realize that you toured with Emmylou Harris for some time during the 1990s. Describe that experience.
Mark Winchester It was an incredible honor to be asked to join the Nash Ramblers. To be included in the long line of stellar musicians she had had in her hands was humbling. I got a lot better quickly. I had to. I could go on and on about how wonderful those three years were. They changed my life musically, professionally and personally. I’ll always owe Emmylou a huge debt of gratitude for hiring me. She was really cool to work for.

You’ve played with an assortment of musicians from a variety of genres.

How are you able to adapt to a certain music style so quickly?

Mark Winchester Well, I don’t really have to do it all that quickly. I usually know beforehand what the gig I’m on calls for. You might get a curve ball on a songwriter session occasionally but, if they hired me, it’s usually pretty country/bluegrass/roots oriented.

How did you and Brian Setzer meet?

Mark Winchester He was scheduled to appear on Ricky Scaggs’s Monday Night Concert series that was being taped at the Ryman Auditorium [in Tennessee] for TNN. The music director called and hired me to be in the house band, so there would be a slap bass player to back Brian. That’s the first night I met him. There was a great unscheduled portion of the show where Brian, Elvis Costello, Marty Stuart and Ricky Scaggs decided to do a tribute to Sun Records. I found myself in a dressing room at the Ryman with all those guys, rehearsin’ Sun songs. Overwhelming. I’ll never forget that.

Brian Setzer's 68 Comeback Special (Brian Setzer, Mark Winchest
Brian Setzer’s 68 Comeback Special (Brian Setzer, Mark Winchester and Bernie Dresel)

You performed with the Brian Setzer Orchestra until 2001. Why did you leave the group?

Mark Winchester During my tenure with the Orchestra, my wife and I had twins which, in addition to our two daughters, brought our total number of children to four. I had a hard time being away from them for long periods of time, so I chose to get off the road.

You’ve also performed with Setzer and fellow Stray Cats member Slim Jim Phantom on a handful of shows. Did you feel as though you would be compared to the group’s bassist, Lee Rocker?

Mark Winchester Sure, I thought about that. When they called me about those two gigs in Japan, I was extremely honored. At first, I thought it was just gonna be us in a club situation, and that worried me; that I might be pelted by tomatoes by irate fans who wanted all the Cats there. But when I found out it was a huge festival with a bunch of bands and 10,000 people, I knew I’d be out of range of projectiles—or at least I’d see ‘em coming. Brian and Jim treated me so great. It was a wonderful experience. When we all met in the lobby of the hotel that first night to go over to the gig, Brian and Slim Jim looked so Stray Cats—hell, they were them! It hit me then, I’m going to be on stage with the Stray Cats. Couldn’t help feeling 18 again!

Tell us about reuniting with Brian Setzer for his Rockabilly Riot album.

Mark Winchester So, so cool to be back in a studio with Brian and [BSO and ’68 Comeback Special drummer] Bernie Dresel. It was rockin’ from the downbeat of the first tune. Brian picked some great Sun songs, rare and classics. To be recording those songs with someone of Brian’s stature was a thrill; just a blast all the way around.

You’ve finally released your first solo record, All These Young Punks.
Mark Winchester I’m very proud of it. I think that everyone should rush to and buy one immediately. I played my ’61 Harmony Rocket guitar on it. No bass—probably not a clever disclosure, given I’m being interviewed about my bass playing, huh?

Who performed with you on the album?

Mark Winchester Larry Atamanuik, who played drums in Emmylou’s Nash Ramblers, played drums. He’s supported my excursions into solo projects since the Nash Rambler days. When I first started playing out, I somehow found out about a wonderful musician in town named Dave Francis, and from the first time he played electric bass for me, I just knew he got where I was coming from. He’s on the whole record. Jim Hoke is a genius musician living in Nashville. Many years ago, he came up after a Mark W. Winchester Trio gig and said he had a friend working at a label, and would I let him cut some sides on me to send him. Four songs on the new record are from that session. When I finally got around to finishing it, I asked Jim to help again, and play sax. We got the best engineer—in my opinion—in town, Neil Cappelino, who recorded those earlier tracks, and we finished the record in about four days. It all fell right back in place.

What was the inspiration behind the album’s title?
Mark Winchester “All these young punks” is a line from a song on the [Crickets’s] album called Back in Style. It seemed to fit as a title, because this record is a batch of songs that reflect my British pub rock influences, more so than my rockabilly influences. It won’t be what fans of my slap bassin’ would expect, although I don’t think anyone will be disappointed or bored. It’s another side of what I do that not a lot of people are hip to…yet.

Thanks for your time, Mark.

Are there any closing comments or thoughts that you’d like to share?

Mark Winchester Rockabilly has a special place in my heart, obviously, and I truly love to slap the bass. It’s like my “free” space on the bingo card of life, and I’m grateful to have been given the talent to do it, and the opportunity to do it with some seriously rockin’ cats over the years.

Note: Since this interview, Mark released two more solo albums, played on Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot All Originals as well as the excellent Return of the Planet Rockers the latest album of the newly reformed Planet Rockers.

Planet Rockers (the)


planetrockersPlanet Rockers (the) – Return of the Planet Rockers

Witchcraft WCILP/CD 106 {2014}
Saturday Night In Oak Grove – Stranger Dressed In Black – Snakebit – Showdow – Heavy On My Mind – Moon Over Memphis – Man Whitout A Star – Voodoo Woman – Whatcha Gonna Do – Jenny Lee – Hold On – Dateless Night – Long Gone Daddy – Sinnerman – Southwind – Indian Giver – Nashville Woman

The Planet Rockers are back!  The original line-up: Sonny George and his deep voice, Eddie Angel with his sharp riffs and one of the best rhythm section in activity, Mark Winchester and Bill “Thunder” Swartz respectively on double bass and drums.
When you listen to this rockin’ platter you wouldn’t believe that 20 years have passed since the four of them recorded theit last album together. they sound as fresh and powerful as yesterday. No they’re even more powerful.
Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee at Sam Phillips recordings, this brand new album finds them mixing swamp blues, rockabilly, country rock, rock’n’roll to create their own Planet Rockers style with songs borrowed from the catalog of Cordell Jackson, Hayden Thompson, Tony Joe White, Frankie Laine, Jerry Reed, Dale Hawkins, Simon Stokes and the Nighthawk and more surprising Electric Light Orchestra. The lack of originals (only two, one by Eddie Angel, an instrumental, and another one by Mark Winchester)  is not a problem for once these four men play a song it becomes instantly a Planet Rockers song.
With that album, the Planet Rockers are back to the one and only place they deserve, the top! Welcome back, guys, we missed ya a lot and don’t make us wait too long for the next one!

The Planet Rockers – Coming In Person

planet rockers

No Hit Records 005 [1991]
Trouble Up The Road – Big Wheel – Tennessee Woman – Big Daddy – One’s all the Law will Allow – Spin My Wheels – Gotta Rock – Truck’s Driver Rock – Yes I Do – Trouble Time

For a long while, the Rockabilly scene was dominated by the European bands. But in the end of the 80’s, all of sudden, the States took the bull by the horn and came back to claim their heritage with bands like Big Sandy, High Noon, Dave and Deke and of course the Planet Rockers.
Their debut album was an instant revelation. Coming from Nashville, they were as far as possible from the modern country sound that dominated the town and played a brand of rock’n’roll/rockabilly with a strong country rock feel and blues elements thrown in for good measure.
Their style sounded like a cross between Tex Rubinowitz (not surprinsing since Eddie Angel originally came from the Washington scene) and Sleepy LaBeef. The Planet Rockers were the agregation of four strong personalities, each bringing its own touch to forge their sound. On the front, their was Sonny George’s distinctive deep voice. Eddie Angel on guitar sounded like Scotty Moore, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Earl Hooker and James Burton all rolled into one. 
The rhythm section was also top notch with Bill Swartz on drums and Mark Winchester on double bass (he later joined Brian Setzer).
Accept no substitute, this is the real sound of American Rock’n’roll. Essential with a capital E. 

Eddie Angel (Planet Rockers, Los Straitjackets…)

eddie_angel_480Eddie Angel really don’t need no introduction. If you’re into today’s rock’n’roll you’ve already heard about him and even if you’re a rock’n’roll beginner, it’s almost impossible you haven’t heard of The Planet Rockers, The Neanderthals and Los Straitjackets yet. Eddie also owns a record label called Spinout on which he released as well as his own stuff, records by The Hi-Risers, The Stumbleweeds, Barbara Burnette, The Kaisers, Sonny George etc.
Now, enough talking, read the facts from the man himself.

by Fred “Virgil” Turgis

When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
Eddie Angel   When I was very young, probably 10 or 12… Music had a magical effect on me

Fans of rock’n’roll are aware of your stuff with Tex Rubinowitz in the early 80’s but what kind of stuff did you play before joining him?
Eddie Angel   Well my first love was rockabilly and 50’s R’n’R in general but there was no opportunity to play that in Albany, NY in the 1970’s so I did whatever I had to do in order to play music… I played in an oldies lounge band “Tino and The Revlons” for a while. Tino, the leader was later murdered in Jamaica….in the mid 70’s i played in a band called “The Star Spangled Washboard Band” which was a jug band/skiffle band but was very successful because it was very entertaining and funny. We played clubs and colleges and bluegrass festivals up and down the east coast. that indirectly got me into Tex’s band because we were very popular in Washington, DC so in 1980 when Tex was looking for a guitar player I got the gig.

What made you move to Nashville?
Eddie Angel   I was living in Albany,NY and had a rockabilly type band with a girl singer who sounded like Wanda Jackson. So we thought “lets go to Nashville” it was the only place where they still made records that featured guitars… This was in 1986. I was determined to make it in music so I wanted to go to a music center. I never thought I’d live here permanently.

How did you come with the idea of a label ?
Eddie Angel   I never really wanted a label… it was initially just an outlet for some of my recordings … we started out just putting out 45’s . I was recording with The Planet Rockers and The Neanderthals in London at Toe Rag. Barney Koumis was putting the stuff out on No Hit Records….so he just gave me some tracks to use for 45’s. it was 1994 and I started touring a lot with Los Straitjackets and surf bands were popping up everywhere so we put out a few instro comps….and then friends would ask me to put out their bands….thats how we did the first Shack Shakers cd for instance.

You once said that your holly trinity of Rock’n’roll was Elvis, The Beatles and The Beach Boys. And Spinout really seems to be a place halfway between Liverpool and the USA…
Eddie Angel   well, for my money Elvis and The Beatles are in league of their own… I hear a lot of groaning out there cos there are lots of wilder records than Elvis or The Beatles made and I agree there are lots of artists who made one or two more exciting,interesting or rockin’ record than The Beatles or Elvis but not with the consistency or overall quality. It was usually a one-off, some hillbilly capturing lightning in a bottle. I love The Sonics and Charlie Feathers and their records are wild but in the end they seem human to me… The Beatles and Elvis don’t seem human to me . The Beach Boys I like a lot, but I don’t remember putting them in the same pantheon as Elvis and The Beatles, but, I think they might be the best American “band”….again taking into account songwriting,recording quality, consistency .

Of course you have to cover fabrication costs and all that stuff, but Spinout really seems to be a labour of love, similar in a way to Deke Dickerson’s Eccofonic label…
Eddie Angel   well everything you do in music has to start as a labor of love. It doesn’t make sense to get into music to make money, there are much easier ways to do that. If you don’t believe me,ask anyone who does it for a living

In another interview you said “I definitely think rock music is way too serious. It bores me to death”
Eddie Angel   Notice I said “rock” music not rock’n’roll. I’m talking about all the crap thats been flying around for the last 20 years or so…. and yes it bores me when someone sings about themselves, I’d rather hear “Surfin’ Bird” or Chubby Checker.

Is this why you did “Young At Heart”?
Eddie Angel   I did “Young at Heart” because I wanted to do a kids record.  It features Cindy Fee, a friend of mine who has a voice like Ella Fitzgerald

Tell us about the idea behind “Meet The Beatles”…
Eddie Angel   I wanted to do songs that were in The Beatles live repertoire before they made it, not Beatles songs themselves, but what were The Beatles playing at the Cavern or the Star Club. A list exists of every song known that the Beatles ever performed, some of them i’d never heard like “One Track Mind”, it was the flip side of “Tossin and Turning” or “Nobody but Me” by The Lafayettes… again a flip side to their hit single.
It was a fun and interesting project and I came away with a few thoughts. They were genius in their choice of songs and totally unorthodox. They were a product of the twist era.

You were approximately 10 when the Beatles “conquered” the USA. Did you have the chance to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show?
Eddie Angel   Yes! I remember seeing them on their first Ed Sullivan appearance. It put me on my life’s trajectory. I actually remember the first time I heard The Beatles. I was in the record department of my local department store and they would play the new records over the PA system. I heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and I was knocked out… I thought it was a black group,like The Miracles, anyway I bought the 45 on the spot and brought it home to my sister who was strictly an Elvis fan. She looked at the cover, made a face and sneered “ooh they LOOK like beetles

Some discovered rockabilly and rock’n’roll through the versions The Beatles did of Matchbox, Rock’n’roll Music, Honey Don’t, Words Of Love etc. What about you?
Eddie Angel   Yes to a certain degree, but I also had 2 older sisters who were original rock’n’nroll fans, they had all the Elvis records, some Jerry Lee,Little Richard, Everly Bros etc. so I heard that music growing up. But I don’t think I had heard much Carl Perkins,outside of “Blue Suede Shoes”, but I think I play the guitar the way I do is because my brain was wired at an early age by the 50’s R’nR records my sisters played constantly around the house. R’n’R was the only music I heard growing up, there was no classical or pop standards played in the house.

On “Meet The Beatles” this is the first time, to my knowledge, you’re taking the lead vocal part, at least on a long distance. How did you approach that?
Eddie Angel   Well, I have sung in bands over the years, its just not something I ever gave much thought to. I never thought of myself as a singer… but I’m not bad.

A constant with Spinout’s records and this one makes no exception is the quality of the covers design. It really seems like it’s very important for you…
Eddie Angel   I’m lucky to know a few very talented graphic artists. Kaiser George does most of the covers and I think he’s a genius.

Please tell us more about Ray Wallace described as a “Psychotic Leonard Cohen on Ritalin”. Add to this, songs like “Hitler’s Gone Surfin’ with your Mother” or “When The Partridge Family Meets The Manson Family” to name but two, it’s kinda intriguing…
Eddie Angel   I first met Ray in 1980. Ray was 16 and a troubled youth,when his mother brought him to see Tex Rubinowitz and The Bad Boys… Ray flipped out, went from being a kinda Greatful Dead fan to a full blown Rockabilly and Link Wray fan. I began giving him guitar lessons. He learned every Link Wray song he could and then every Bob Dylan song and started busking.
Ray was kicked out of every school he attended for violent anti-social behavior. His mother finally had to put him in a school for nut cases. He later moved to Denver and started writing all these songs. I thought they were great and put the CD out. Ray is now back in the Washington DC area and I hope he stays out of trouble!

You also released “Eddie Angel Plays Link Wray”. How did you discover Link’s music?
Eddie Angel   I met Link in 1973. I was living in Venice Beach,CA trying to make it as a songwriter. My friend and songwriting partner Dave Bloom came home one day and told me he had gotten a gig playing piano for some guy named Link Wray. I have to admit, I had never heard of him. Link had a new record out on Polydor and was putting a band together to tour. I said “get me in the band,I’ll play rhythm!!” Next thing I know I’m jamming with Link Wray in a garage in North Hollywood. But really it was Tex Rubinowitz that got me into Link’s music. Link was Tex’s favorite guitar player and he turned me on to Link’s early stuff. We used to perform “Rawhide”, “Run, Chicken,Run” and “Jack the Ripper”. This was in 1980, Washington,DC, Link’s old stomping grounds. I took to Link’s playing like a duck to water… it was in my blood.

Do you have a special memory with him?
Eddie Angel   One of my favorite memories was doing “Rumble” onstage in Minneapolis with him and Tony Andreason of the Trashmen. Another time when he played my hometown Albany,NY, he invited my mother onstage and sang a bunch of songs to her!! I wasn’t there, but heard about it…
My fondest memories were just hanging out with him and listening to his stories. He told me how he came to write Run Chicken Run and how he and his brother first discovered R’n’R at Hank Williams’ memorial service in Montgomery, Alabama, they heard a guy doing rockabilly, he didn’t remember the guy’s name but my guess is it was Curtis Gordon. So after that he and his brothers stopped playing country music and started playing R’n’R.

How did you choose the songs? Did you intentionally make the choice from the start to avoid “big” classics like Rumble or Jack The Ripper?
Eddie Angel   Yes.I wanted to stay away from the obvious ones as much as possible.

Another connection you have with Link Wray is Robert Gordon. You produced one of his album, tell us about that…
Eddie Angel   Hakki from Jungle Records in Finland called me and proposed the idea to me. He had seen Robert and me together at Green Bay. I put the band together of guys I know in Nashville and we recorded it in Nashville. The bass player Dave Roe was Johnny Cash’s bass player. Robert has an amazing voice, like an opera singer.

Over the years you had a lot of guest on album and on tour (Dave Alvin, Deke Dickerson, Big Sandy, Peter Zaremba, Kaiser George…). As a heavy touring band is this a way to always have something new to propose to the audience and to avoid you some kind of routine?
Eddie Angel   Yes, exactly….we try to keep things fresh and entertaining for us and the audience.

One last word?
Eddie Angel   “Trust your gut,even if its a beer gut”