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Various Artists – Live At The Big Rumble

Various Artists – Live At The Big Rumble

Nervous Records – NERCD 066 [1991]
Atomics: I do declare – Restless: New Orleans – Restless: Shake Your Moneymaker – Lost Souls: Devil in Disguise – Lost Souls: Prisonner of Love – Mad Sin: Moonlight Shadows – Mad Sin: Walltown Kid – Razorbacks: Hot rod man – Boozy: Boozy – Los Renegados: Soy un renegado – Cyclone: Bates motel – Cyclone: Cyclone Shock – Nekromantix: Alice in Psycholand – Nekromantix: Motor Psycho – Numbskulls: Psychophobia – Demented Are Go: Anal Wonderland – Dypsomaniaxe: Bad Habit – Coffin Nails: Loose Woman – Skitzo: Empty Room – Spellbound: Legend of the Past

Live at the Big Rumble

Live At The Big Rumble presents some bands recorded live at the 2nd Big Rumble in October 1990. The whole thing is uneven. Nevertheless, it offers some interesting moments.
The Atomics is an American band playing energetic Neo-rockabilly. Although convincing on their albums, their live performance here is quite messy.
The Razorbacks, another group from the United States, play a supercharged cover of Tex Rubinowitz’s classic Hot Rod Man.
Los Renegados mix their Neo-Rockabilly with a touch of Hillbilly for a fairly average result.
Boozy came from Belgium and was one of many bands that seemed more interested in partying than working on songs and recording albums. This is felt in their performance, which is confused and musically poor.
Restless lives up to its reputation. Always professional and at the top musically, the group, then with Steve Whitehouse of Frenzy on double bass, played two perfect versions of New Orleans and Shake Your Money Maker. Faced with such a performance, one can just regret the absence of Long Black Shiny Car or Ice Cold.
The Psychobilly from Lost Souls is fast and powerful. They’re one of the only bands on this compilation to sound better live than on the album.
This is unfortunately not the case with the Cyclone. Both songs are excellent, but the sound is confusing and can’t fully convey the album’s energy. On the contrary, Mad Sin, still a trio at the time, displays impressive energy. Even more impressive, Nekromantix perfectly reproduces the arrangements and the power of two songs from their second album. 
Dypsomaniaxe was formed by four colourful girls with impressive quiffs who played a fast, quite crazy, outrageous, exuberant, and fun Psychobilly. Everything to seduce! I would have easily exchanged half of this album for five or six more tracks of them. 
Much in better shape than on Link’s Live and Rockin’, the Coffin Nails launch into an epic five-minute version of Loose Woman, full of fun and humour.
If Skitzo’s performance is of interest, it is not musical but historical. It was the last concert given at the time by the group. It’s powerful, with a fairly marked Punk influence, although not as noisy as one might fear. However, the whole thing lacks a little accuracy and coherence.
Numbskulls play that brand of Psychobilly with a heavy Punk influence that I’m not too keen on. That said, they play it well.
Demented Are Go are in great shape, as demonstrated by the always very subtle Anal Wonderland. The pleasant surprise comes from Spellbound, whose version of Legend Of the Past is superior to the studio version.
Ultimately, this compilation is a strange catch-all between wild Psychobilly and Neo-Rockabilly, established groups and other more amateur ones, which makes us regret the absence of groups present during this edition (Quakes, Nitros, Polecats).

The Radioactive Kid

Meteors (the)

Meteors (the) – Psychobilly Revolution

Raucous Records RAUC079 [1999]
Intro – The Crazed – Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me – Deep Dark Jungle – Blue Sunshine – Little Red Riding Hood – Night Of The Werewolf – Wild Thing – Chainsaw Boogie – Corpse Grinder – Maniac Rockers from Hell – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Insane – Rawhide – Mutant Rock

psychobilly revolution

Recorded live in the late ’90s St Petersburg’s Spartak Club, Russia, this album is very representative of the sound of the band at the time.
Too bad that the recording quality is not top-notch and that Fenech’s voice is a bit buried in the mix because the band (Shaun Berry on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums) is in fine form.
The setlist presents no big surprise and mixes classics of the band (Crazed, Blue Sunshine, Mutant Rock…) with more recently released stuff at the time of the release (Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me…)
This live album remains good but not essential. For example, Welcome to the Wrecking Pit has more or less the same setlist but with a better sound.


Meteors (the) – Live, Leary and Fucking Loud!

Dojo Limited [1995]
Wipe Out – Maniac Rockers From Hell – Lonesome Train – I Ain’t Ready – Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down – Sick Things – When A Stranger Calls – Sweet Love On My Mind – Mutant Rock – Rhythm Of The Bell – Lil’ Red Riding Hood – Long Blond Hair – Rock Bop – Rattlesnakin Daddy – Blue Sunshine – These Boots Are Made For Walking – Wild Thing – I Go To Bed With The Undead – Wreckin’ Crew – Meet Me At The Morgue – Spinebender

meteors-live-leary-fucking-loud

Live, Leary and Fucking Loud is a live album gathering songs taken from the Meteors’ first three live albums (Live, Horrible Music, For Horrible People, By This Horror-Ble Band and Live Style of the Sick and Shameless.) It gives a good overview of the live sound of the band during their first decade after the original line-up split. Also present are two live renditions of Spinebender and Meet Me At the Morgue. They make a very welcome bonus since both songs, taken from The Mutant Monkey and the Surfer from Zorch, never appeared on any live album before. The line-up on these songs is probably the mid-’90s line-up (Shaun Berry on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums.)


Meteors (the) – International Wreckers – Live 4

Sonovabitch Records ROTT 90062 [1992]
Mutant Rock – Dateless Nights – Swamp Thing – Corpse Grinder – Alligator Man – Death Dance – Wild Thing – Bertha Lou – Get off of My Cloud – Electro II – Wrecking Crew – Rhythm of the Bell – Psycho Cat – Get off of My Cloud – Vibrate – The Crazed – Mind over Matter – These Boots Are Made for Walking

international wreckers

Unlike the previous live recordings released officially by the band, International Wreckers doesn’t present a complete show but a collection of songs recorded in various countries (France, Germany, UK, Holland) and at various venues. It’s a good idea and the occasion to include rarer material that appear on a live album for the first time like Swamp Thing (that is made for the stage), Alligator Man, Dateless Nite, Psycho Kat, Death Dance, Electro II next to the band’s stage favourites like Mutant Rock, These Boots Are Made Walking, Wrecking Crew or Rhythm Of the Bell featured here in a wild version. An essential addition to your collection.


Meteors (the) – Demonopoly

Sonovabitch Records ROTT 90042 [1992]
Who Do You Love – Electro III (Die Human Die) – The Devil Went Down To Moose’s – Fool No More – Bad Boy – Shock Rocker – Stomping (With The Wrecking Crew) – Big Sandy – The Life And Times Of Chameleon Head – Sometimes (The Infernal Chord) – Between Heaven And Hell – Ballad Of A Black Hearted Man (cd bonus track)

Demonopoly is the perfect follow-up to its predecessor, the excellent Madman Roll, maybe even darker and more menacing.
Everything is clear from the intro with the cover of Who Do You Love. The Bo Diddley track is swallowed, digested and spat out to become a formidable Meteors track, ready for the voodoo sabbath. Follows Electro III, an instrumental, after Electro (on Stampede) and Electro II (on Mutant Monkey). We can hear Fenech’s know-how when it comes to instrumental pieces: an exposition of the theme supported by a perfect rhythm and then an outburst of perfectly constructed ideas. The Devil Went Down To Moose’s applies Psychobilly recipes to a hillbilly structure, like Low Livin’ Daddy on Bang Bang Fruit, with a touch of harmonica at the end.
Fool No More is a seemingly simple piece. Still, as we listen, we are won over by the richness of the textures, the intricacy of the guitars, and the subtlety of the rhythm enriched by a light, almost subliminal honky tonk piano, which gives all its disturbing side to the piece. This arrangement also transforms a seemingly simple rock into an exciting song.
Supported by an unstoppable bass that keeps the tension throughout, Shock Rocker is one of those mini-classics like you find so many on the Meteors albums, which seems so natural to Fenech when other bands would dream of such a locomotive track for their albums.
Stomping is a simple and effective tune that refers to the first carelessness of Rock’n’Roll, these same roots that we find in the cover of Bobby Roberts’ Big Sandy.
The second instrumental of the album, the Life and Times of Chameleon Head, is a new demonstration of virtuosity and Fenech’s talent as a composer. His instrumentals are never a simple set of riffs put end to end or vain demonstrations, but on the contrary, such as the Shadows or certain film scores which must inspire him, we think of Morricone. They are subtly constructed sets. The arrangements are just as neat on Sometimes (the Infernal Chord) between the choirs, the breaks in tone and the solos. The track is the perfect launching pad for the album’s masterpiece and one of the best tracks of the Meteors, the sublime Between Heaven & Hell. This slow piece, over 5’40”, distils an unhealthy and threatening atmosphere. Behind the vocals, once again, the different textures, from the distorted guitars to the slightly detuned slide, which gives this uneasy feeling, everything contributes to creating the atmosphere that corresponds to the title.
The cd version is completed by an instrumental, the dark and threatening offspring of the Shadows and Ennio Morricone.


Meteors (the) – Madman Roll

Sonovabitch ROTT90021 [1991]
Madman Roll  Queen of the Slug People  Bertha Lou – Theme from The Hypnotist  You Can’t Touch Me  Paint It Black  You’re Mine  A Very Handy Man (Indeed) – Running ‘Round – Simply Ravishing

The Meteors Madman Roll

Released in 1991, Madman Roll opened a new chapter in the band’s history. The sound slightly changes, don’t worry, there’s no big departure, but it’s darker and even more threatening than ever. The result is one of their very best albums (and I pity those who stopped listening to the Meteors after In Heaven because they really miss something.)
The title track, which opens the album, sets the new tendency. Fenech sings like he’s possessed while Lee Brown and Mark Howe lay a solid groove for his intricated layers of guitar. Maybe it’s because that’s the first line-up I saw on stage, but I really like the Fenech-Brown-Howe partnership. Queen of the Slug People begins with a superb drums intro and evolves into a B-movie-themed masterpiece. Next is a cover of Dorsey Burnette’s Bertha Lou, a demonstration of pure Rockabilly mayhem. Theme From The Hypnotist is the first instrumental of the album. It takes time to expose the theme, with Fenech creating sound and texture with various guitars and then exploding in the middle. The first side closes with You Can’t Touch Me, a slow-paced tune with a Diddley beat that pursues the theme developed in songs like I Don’t Worry About It.

The B-side opens with a dark cover of the Rolling Stones’s Paint It Black. The Meteors have a unique talent for covering a song, keeping its skeleton and, at the same time, turning it into a Meteors song. You’re Mine is a love song, a Meteors love song that sounds like a frantic and modern version of the Johnny Burnette Trio.
A Very Handy Man is the album’s masterpiece (on one album that only counts excellent songs). Written about Ed Gein, whose picture is on the album’s cover, it demonstrates, if needed, that Paul Fenech is ten million miles ahead of any other psychobilly bands in songwriting. The slide guitar reinforces the dark and disturbing mood of the song, leaving the listener with an uneasy feeling.
Running Around is a shot of Rock’n’Roll straight to your veins. Each note of that song screams, “PLAY LOUD!”.
This magnificent album closes with Simply Ravishing, a groovy instrumental and one of the band’s very best. I could praise once again Fenech’s guitar(s), but Brown’s bass part is also equally impressive.

The Meteors career is made of excellent albums and masterpieces. Madman Roll falls, without a doubt, in that second category.

Reissued on vinyl and cd in 2022. Buy it here.


Meteors (the) – Live III – Live Styles of the Sick and the Shameless

Anagram records – GRAM 45 [1990]
Ex-Men Boogie  Wipe Out  Rattlesnakin Daddy  Mutant Rock  Maniac  Blue Sunshine  Mind Over Matter  These Boots  Lil Red Riding Hood  The Hills Have Eyes  Wild Thing  I Go to Bed (With the Undead)  Voodoo Rhythm  I Ain t Ready  Wreckin Crew – Lonesome Train*  Rock Bop*  Ain t Gonna Bring Me Down*  Graveyard Stomp*
*CD only

Live Styles of the Sick and the Shameless

This third official live album from the trio led by Paul Fenech is just as essential as the previous two. Why? will you ask, especially if you think that for the Meteors, there is no life after In Heaven and that after 1982, the group is only a pale copy of its past splendour, releasing albums that all sound the same. You are free to think that, but it would be like saying that the Ramones have always made the same album, and in the end, you would miss the point. The bottom line is that Fenech is an outstanding composer, a lively and sharp guitarist, and a natural born rocker built for the stage. Accompanied by what is the best incarnation of the group (Lee Brown on bass and Mark Howe on drums, who will record the masterpiece that is Madman Roll), Fenech unleashes a hell of a classic after classic in versions that leave all others far behind. And even if we find the trio’s classics there, it is perfectly complementary in its set list, particularly by the presence of less common titles such as Mind Over Matter or I Go To Bed With The Undead. The CD contains four additional tracks: Lonesome Train, Rock Bop, Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down and Graveyard Stomp. These tracks were also released on vinyl by Rumble Records under the title “Encores”.


Meteors (the) – Undead, Unfriendly and Unstoppable

Anagram GRAM43 [1989]
Ma Johnson Meets The Razorback – Disneyland – My Kinda Rockin’- Lonesome Train – Johnny God – I Go To Bed (With The Undead) – Out Of The Attic – Charlie, Johnny, Rawhead And Me – Brains As Well – Surf Mad Pig – Liars In Wait – Please Don’t Touch

The Meteors - Undead Unfriendly and Unstoppable

The Meteors continued their collaboration with Anagram and released Undead, Unfriendly and Unstoppable in 1989, shortly after the Mutant Monkey and the Surfer From Zorch. The album introduced new drummer Mark Howe (whose brief collaboration with the band proved fruitful) and ended the decade on a high note. Despite all my effort, I couldn’t retrieve the information, but I remember reading somewhere that part of the album was recorded with Toby Griffin.
Undead, Unfriendly and Unstoppable is better produced and more consistent than its predecessor. It reveals, once again, the band’s versatility and Fenech’s songwriting skills.
Thus, one can hear instrumentals with Surf influences (Surf Mad Pig), and the same Surf influence can be found in the final of Out Of The Attic. Of course, Fenech knows that the Psychobilly lays on a solid Rockabilly roots, and songs like My Kinda Rockin’ and Charlie Johnny Rawhead and Me are firmly anchored in the tradition. You’ll also find classic British Rock’n’Roll (Johnny Kidd’s Please Don’t Touch), but of course, this album is loaded with Fenech’s own brand of mean and threatening, yet always surprising, Psychobilly.


Meteors (the)  – The Mutant Monkey and the Surfers from Zorch

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO12 [1988]
Swamp Thing / Electro II / The Revenge / Sidewalk Psycho / I’m Invisible Man / She’s My Baby Again / Surfin’ On The Planet Zorch / Spine Bender / Dance Crazy Baby / Rawhide / Oxygen Dog / Yellow Zone / Meet Me At The Morgue / Little Red Riding Hood

Released in 1988 and featuring new bassist Lee “Red” Brown (ex Pharaohs) and Coffin Nails drummer Toby Griffin, the Mutant Monkey is a bit disappointing. It’s not bad (I don’t believe the Meteors ever released anything bad) it just lacks of a little something that made of Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit a killer release. It contains its usual dose of solid Fenech’s originals (Surfing On Planet Zorch, Spine Bender, Swamp Thing, Meet Me At The Morgue) but some songs are just good (which is for a Meteors album disappointing) and the sound is uneven compared once again to Bang Bang Fruit that hardly contained a weak number and was perfectly produced. The cd version contains one bonus song, a cover of Lil’ Red Riding Hood.


Meteors (the) – Only the Meteors Are Pure Psychobilly

Anagram Records GRAM 33 [1988]
Voodoo Rhythm  Graveyard Stomp  Wreckin’ Crew  Sick Thing  Blue Sunshine  Mutant Rock  The Hills Have Eyes  Fire Fire  Power Of Steel  Eat The Baby  Rhythm Of THe Bell  Surf City  Go Buddy Go  Somebody Put Something In My Drink

only the meteors are pure psychobilly

Look at this title: Only the Meteors are Pure Psychobilly. More than a title, it’s a slogan! More than a slogan, it is a declaration of war. And what about the cover, which shows us the mighty alias of Fenech in the middle of the corpses and graves of his competitors (King Kurt, Frenzy, Skitzo, Restless), shown here as adversaries over whom he would have triumphed.
Obviously, with such an attitude, the music has to be up to par, but there is no need to worry. The album offers a retrospective of the group’s 1981-1988 period. If side B includes known recordings taken from albums and singles, side A provides a rereading of titles from the very first period of the group and is interesting in more than one way. Fenech, accompanied by the line-up of the time (Tobby Griffin on drums and most likely Lee Brown on bass), re-recorded the classics of the Meteors’ early period. My view is not objective because, unlike many fans of the group, I think that the Meteors have never been as good as with an electric bass, especially during the period which begins with the releases on Anagram and extends to Demonopoly. I am not denying, far from it, the importance of the Fenech, Lewis and Robertson group or of In Heaven. Quite the contrary, but the power of the new versions of Voodoo Rhythm and Graveyard Stomp makes us forget the original versions. Likewise, if Wreckin’ Crew was an excellent album, the production sometimes left something to be desired, which is not the case with the new versions of Wreckin’ Crew, Blue Sunshine, and Mutant Rock.
Ultimately, this album is more than a best-of but can reasonably be classified as an album in its own right, a new stone in the Psychobilly temple erected by Fenech.


Meteors (the) – Don’t Touch the Bang Bang Fruit

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO38 [1987]
Go Buddy Go – Midnight People – Low Livin’ Daddy – Your Worst Nightmare – Wildkat Ways / Repo Man – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit – Crack Me Up – Shakey Snakey – Psycho Kat – Let’s Go – Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos – Go Buddy Go (Wonkey Donkey Mix) – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit (Manky Monkey Mix) – Dateless Nights – Corpse Grinder

meteors don't touch the bang bang fruit

After the success of “Sewertime Blues” in 1986 (it reached #9 in the indie charts) Fenech came back the following year with a new line-up consisting of ex-Coffin Nails Toby Griffin on drums and Arms Malone on bass (if you look closely to the back cover of the reissue, you’ll see written in small characters “Arms Malone is Austin Stone”), and a new platter called “Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit” one of their best and most diverse album to date.
It starts with a total appropriation of The Stranglers “Go Buddy Go”, takes a detour by the hillbilly inspired “Low Livin’ Daddy” with harmonica and ends with the Hank Marvin meets Ennio Morricone instrumental “Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos”. In between, Fenech, contrary to many followers, remembered the rockabilly roots of psychobilly with a cover of Jimmy Lee Maslon’s“Wildkat Ways” already sung by Nigel Lewis in the early days of the band and the frantic boogie “You Crack Me Up” previously heard on Live 1.
The production is perfect, full of good ideas to set the ambiance, slide guitar, cow bell and notice the fine use of the acoustic rhythm guitar on “Let’s go” and “Revenge…”. The listener goes from the haunting “Your Worst Nightmare” to the funny title track via the threatening “Repo Man” and the bluesy “Midnight People”.
This reissue contains the 12” mixes of “Bang Bang Fruit” and “Go Buddy Go”, which for some obscure reasons weren’t on the Anagram Single Collection, and two B-sides : a fantastic cover of “Dateless Night” and a Fenech’s own good enough to be a A-side called “Corpse Grinder”.
By 1987, despite the massive arrival of new bands, the Meteors were still the Kings of Psychobilly.


Meteors (the) – Sewertime Blues

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO37 [1986]
Ain’t Taking A Chance / So Sad / Here’s Johnny / Mind Over Matter / Acid And Psyam / Sewertime Blues / Return Of The Ethel Merman / Deep Dark Jungle / Never Get Away / I Bury The Living / Vibrate / Surf City / The Edge

Meteors sewertime blues

Sewertime Blues marks the beginning of the fruitful collaboration between the psychobilly combo and Anagram/Cherry Red. The Meteors incarnation of 1986 was newcomer Austin Stone on bass and Ian “Spider” Cubitt who previously drummed on Stampede and Monkey’s Breath.
Fenech proves once again that he has a strong vision and delivers another set of solid originals completed by well selected covers (Bob Luman’s Deep Dark Jungle, Mac Self’s Vibrate and Jan & Dean’s Surf City). It’s also another proof of Fenech’s skills on guitar. One listen to his sharp solos on So Sad and Here’s Johnny to name but two shows how he has incorporated elements of rockabilly merged with surf to create his “monster”. Equally great is the instrumental “Return Of Ethel Merman” (don’t know how they got the idea for the name). Sewertime Blues reinforced the band status as the undisputed leader of the scene and made, for good reasons, a decent stint in the indie charts.


Meteors (the) – Night Of the Werewolf

Raucous Records RAUCD 039 [1987]
X-Men Boogie ~ Rawhide ~ Maniac ~ Rock House ~ I’m Just a Dog ~ Stampede ~ Deep Dark Jungle ~ Hills Have Eyes ~ Kit Boy ~ Domino ~ Shout So Loud ~ Night of the Werewolf ~ Graveyard Stomp ~ These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ~ It’s All Over Now.

meteors night of the werewolf

Previously released on a semi-official vinyl bootleg in the 80’s, Night Of The Werewolf has been reissued officially by Raucous in 2007. Though there’s no indication of dates, place or line-up, one can affirm by looking at the track listing that it has been recorded sometime around 1985 and the sound is quite similar to Live II released at the same period. It’s heavy and compact with Fenech’s voice full of anger. They rip through the first part of the set at a pace that would make the Ramones turn red in envy. Next to the band classics you’ll find many live versions of lesser played songs of the Stampede/Monkey’s Breath albums only available here, which is a reason good enough to buy it.


Meteors (the) – John Peel Sessions (1983-1985)

Raucous Records – RAUC 044
Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down – You Crack Me Up – Lonesome Train – Long Blond Hair – Stampede – Deep Dark Jungle – Surf City – I’m Just A Dog – Torture – Meat Is Meat – Bertha Lou – Maniac

meteors peel sessions

Twelve tracks recorded during three sessions for John Peel in 1983 (tracks 1-4 with Rick Ross on bass and Matthew Fraser on drums), 1984 (tracks 5-8 still with Rick Ross on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums and Steve Andrews on backing Vocals) and 1985 (tracks 9-12 with Nev Hunt on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums). These recordings totally differ from the album versions, some are even better. Sadly the cd has been deleted from the catalog I guess but maybe you can find a second hand copy on the net.


Meteors (the) – Wreckin’ Crew

I.D. Records ‎– NOSE 1
Insane – I Ain’t Ready – Johnny Remember Me – I Don’t Worry About It – Axe Attack – Zombie Noise – Rattle Snakin’ Daddy -When A Stranger Calls – Phantom Of The Opera – Blue Sunshine – Wreckin’ Crew – Sick Things – Wild Thing – Get Off My Cloud – Mutant Rock – Hills Have Eyes – Fear Of The Dark – Scream Of The Mutants

meteors wreckin crew

When Nigel Lewis left the Meteors in 1982, one could fear that the band wouldn’t survive to the loss of one of its founder member. But Paul Fenech, still with Woodie Taylor on drums, far from being discouraged quickly recruited a new bass player, Mick White, switching from double bass to electric bass in the process and a guest singer, Russel Jones. White re-recorded the bass parts on some previously recorded songs by Lewis and they released Mutant Rock b/w Hills Have Eyes. This single and the Johnny Remember ep are included here as bonus. When the band went to the studio to record their second album, Taylor had already left to be replaced by Steve Meadham.
Without Lewis, the band sounded less garage/psychedelic and more rockin’. The developped what would become the psychobilly sound of the Meteors for the next decades and Wreckin’ Crew contains instant classics like Blue Sunshine, Wreckin’ Crew, I Ain’t Ready, I Don’t Worry About It and some still remains in the band’s setlist today . White’s contributation to the album didn’t limit to the bass duties as he penned two songs fort the album (Phantom of the Opera and Axe Attack) and two more that are included as bonus (Fear Of the Dark and Scream of the Mutants). All four of them are sung by Jones and if they don’t reach Fenech orLewis standards they remain quite enjoyable (especially Phantom of the Opera). Wreckin’ Crew also includes three covers The Troggs’ Wild Thing, a new version of Get Off My Cloud (that the band had already recorded for In Heaven) and the spooky Johnny Remember Me that even found its place in the UK pop charts.
In the end, Wreckin’ Crew proved to be as important as In Heaven for the band and the whole Psychobilly scene. And it was just the begining…


The Meteors – Mutant Rock

WXYZ Records – ABCD 5 [1982]
Mutant Rock – Hills Have Eyes

meteors mutant rock

In March 1982, Paul Fenech, Nigel Lewis and Woody Taylor went to Alvic Studios to record what should have been the second Meteors album. Here they recorded Blue Sunshine, Just the Three Of Us, Mutant Rock, The Hills Have Eyes (written and sung by Fenech), Another Half Hour Till Sunrise, Walter Mitty Blues, Dog Eat Robot and Island Of Lost Souls (written and sung by Lewis). Two instrumentals, Napoleon Solo and Jupiter Stroll, rounded the set.
Sadly, Fenech and Lewis parted ways shortly after, before the album was released (though most of the songs resurfaced on the coimpilation album Teenagers from Outer Space a couple of years later). Fenech decided to pursue the band with Taylor and kept the name and the songs he recorded during that session. Lewis did the same, and two songs ended on the fantastic Tall Boys’ single: Island Of Lost Souls / Another Half Hour Till Sunrise.
Spud, from the band Martian Dance, played with Fenech and Taylor for a while before a permanent bass player, namely Mick White, was recruited. A second singer, Russell Jones, reinforced the line-up.
Two songs from the Alvic sessions were chosen to make the first post-Lewis single: Mutant Rock and Hills Have Eyes with Mick White re-recording Lewis’ bass part and Jones adding some backing vocals.
Mutant Rock is a pure moment of Psychobilly genius, with sound effects and a discordant piano break that launches the wild guitar solo. Hills Have Eyes is slower but way more threatening, as the psychopaths from the movie of the same name.
It took only two songs to Fenech to demonstrate that the Meteors were far from finished. And though this line-up didn’t last long (Woody Taylor left around July 1982), it was clear that, with Fenech at the helm, they were launching a new era of creativity.


The Meteors – Radioactive Kid

Chiswick Records – CHIS 147 [1981]
Radioactive Kid / Graveyard Stomp

meteors radioactive

In April 1981, less than three months after the Meteor Madness session, the Meteors were back in the studio. The band was evolving fast, and the single marked another step in their evolution. Lewis’ Radioactive Kid is a punk-garage number that takes no prisoners. On the flip, Fenech’s Graveyard Stomp begins with an eerie and sinister introduction. Then after a quick call from Robertson on the snare, the song erupts into a manic Rockabilly number.
Like the previous EP, it was recorded by Adam Skeaping, who also worked in the classical music field. His knowledge of recording live music probably helped to capture the energy of the band in the studio.


Meteors (the) – Meteor Madness

Ace – SW 65 [1981]
Voodoo Rhythm – Maniac Rockers From Hell / My Daddy Is A Vampire – You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down

meteor madness

Very few bands or artists can brag about having created a style. Elvis Presley could, and the Meteors can. What the original trio of Paul Fenech (guitar and vocals), Nigel Lewis (double bass and vocals), and Mark Robertson (drums) achieved is to gather the influence of three individualities and launch a monster over the world: Psychobilly.
Before forming the Meteors, Lewis and Fenech played in the Rockabilly band Raw Deal with Pat Panioty (Deltas) and Terry Earl (Flying Saucers). But they wanted more, which eventually led the band to split. They teamed with Mark Robertson and formed the Meteors named after Junior Thompson’s band (who also sang Raw Deal.) The trio recorded a batch of Rockabilly tracks for Alligator records. Still, the sparkle that ignited the whole Psychobilly movement can be dated with the release of this four-track EP.
The EP kicks off with the Cozy Powell-inspired precise yet raw drumbeat of Robertson on Voodoo Rhythm, quickly followed by a hypnotic bass and guitar and Fenech’s hiccuping vocals. The second Fenech’s original is Maniac Rockers From Hell, a fast-paced rockabilly number sung with rage by Fenech.
The B-side features two Lewis’ self-penned numbers that he also sings. His toneless and cavernous voice makes the perfect contrast with Fenech’s one. On My Daddy Is A Vampire, Robertson once again sets the pace while Lewis sings the sad story of his family while Fenech keeps the Rockabilly element throughout. The following song is You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Imagine a country tune played by a garage band with a mean Rockabilly guitar.


Meteors (the) – The Lost Album

Raucous Records – RaucCD144 [2004]
I Don’t Worry About It – Your Wildkat Ways – Maniac – You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down – Ain’t Takin’ A Chance – Psycho For Your Love – The Room – Love Me – Red Headed Woman – Long Blond Hair – Haunt You Baby Rock – Your Baby Blue Eyes – Honey Roll – Domino – Drowning All My Sorrows – Crazy Crazy Lovin’

meteors lost album

Psychobilly fans and radioactive kids knew the existence of this recordings for years. Those were demos paid by EMI in 1980, when the young Meteors were looking for a contract, before Island got the deal. This is the original line-up (Fenech/Lewis/Robertson) halfway in their mutation from rockabilly to psychobilly. This ain’t no longer the clean sound one can hear on the “Alligator recordings” (My Baby Loves Me, Go Away, Crazy Love) but not yet the sound of “Meteor Madness” or “In Heaven”. Songs like Long Blonde Hair, Domino and Red Headed Woman are true (and wild) rockabillies while you can hear the seeds of psychobilly on Meteors’ songs like Psycho For Your Love, The Room and You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. It’s very interesting to compare this demos with the definitive version recorded on later albums and ep’s. The drums are lighter here for example, but you know rockabilly will never be the same after that. “Your Wildkat Ways” and “Crazy Crazy Lovin’” sung by Lewis will resurface later on albums but this time sung by Fenech. This album gives you a chance to see what psychobilly is. Just compare Johnny Burnette’s “Sweet Love On my Mind” on these demos to the version the band plays on “Monkey’s Breath” to understand. A great album, indeed, you even have a blues (Honey Roll). So, as you – clever reader – have already understood, this is essential listening. More than music, history.

© Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Radium Cats (the)

Radium Cats (the) – Pink Hearse

Raucous Records Rauc 013T [1991]
Pink Hearse / Teenage Werewolf – Haunted By Your Love

Radium Cats

The Radium Cats, the Scottish Psychobillies with the crazy quiffs, released this three-song 12“ in 1991 on Raucous Records.
Brothers Lee and Paul Paterson are still respectively on double bass and guitar, but Mark Carr has replaced Johnny Maben on drums. Maben later joined the Kaisers. Lee takes the lead vocals on Pink Hearse and Haunted By Your Love, while Paul sings Teenage Werewolf.
Pink Hearse is wildly rocking, with a Gene Vincent feel to it. If the melody is somewhat traditional, the song is highlighted by a hot guitar solo in a superb Gallup meets Setzer vein. Teenage Werewolf is not the Cramps tune (all songs are originals) and sounds more like a slow from the Fifties, although it has a slight gothic and weird mood (well, it’s a werewolf-themed tune, what did you expect?). The last track, Haunted By Your Love, is a slow-paced threatening tune, sounding like the missing link between the Cramps and the early Guana Batz.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

radium Cats

Nevrotix (the)

Nevrotix (the) – Light & Shade

Crazy Love Records CLCD 64493 [2023]
Bone Rattle Beat – Blue Again – Creature – She’s My Baby – Cast A Spell – Out Of Sight – All That Was – Midnight Boogie – Distance – Parallel World – Aviophobia

Nevrotix Light & Shades

The Nevrotix are Axel Wennerlund on guitars & vocals, Cecil Kriisin on drums, and Henrik Hellberg Lizama on double bass. They come from Sweden and, may I add, wear lovely jumpers. They play Psychobilly. By that, I mean real Psychobilly (we’ll debate elsewhere if it’s pure Psychobilly), not Punk or Heavy Metal with a double bass. They play with the codes of the genre: a powerful double bass, a light guitar with a clear sound and pounding drums that do not hesitate to slip into tribal rhythms on occasion.
Above all, the Nevrotix has two strong points. First, although they are excellent musicians, what is striking about this trio is its cohesion. We do not have the impression of hearing three individuals or a rhythm section accompanying a singer. On the contrary, the band sounds like a whole, giving the group a unique dynamic. Of course, that doesn’t preclude guitar solos (the album is peppered with brilliant guitar parts) or double bass breaks. And all this is for what? This is where we come to the group’s second and main strength: their songs and arrangements. The Nevrotix compositions are never content to be simply sped-up Rockabilly with a few zombie-themed lyrics thrown in for good measure. Their Psychobilly is highly melodic, and the seemingly simple songs always move into unexpected territories. Each piece has a slight variation or subtle change that will make all the difference. Take songs like Out Of Sight or the Distance, for example. What could be, for the former, a fast track with muffled chords, à la What The Hell (Frantic Flintstones), is quickly transformed into something new by a subtle melodic variation.
The group also manages to brilliantly translate the lyrics’ atmosphere into music. Again, we feel that it has been thought of as a whole. For example, Blue Again is a fast track with a catchy riff that accompanies the track and enters your head like the singer’s discomfort.
Cast A Spell is another track that conveys the narrator’s fear and angst through music.
The group also excels in tracks containing rage and danger, bursting out in brief flashing moments. Thus Bone Rattle Beat is almost based on the double bass and the drums giving the track a jungle atmosphere, evoking Batmobile’s Zombie Riot or the Meteors’ Voodoo Rhythm before accelerating on the chorus. Another song that carries a high dose of danger is Midnight Boogie. Everything about this song screams “danger”, yet listening to it makes you want to roam the city with your friends in the middle of the night.
The group welcomes some guests on certain tracks. Thus we hear Terry Drybone of the Magnetix on Creature bringing his mean voice to this strange alien story. All That Was is a superb dark country/country noir ballad featuring Gunnar Frick on pedal steel guitar, on which Axel duets with Hanna Wennerlund (any link?). The feel is close to the duets recorded between Sparky and Emmanuella of the Hillbilly Moon Explosion. The album closes with Aviophobia, a fast instrumental featuring Anton Eriksson (the Test Pilots) on guitar and, surprisingly, but a good surprise, a saxophone played by Oskar Bäcklin.
One last word to tell you that the production is faultless from start to finish and that the famous Oskar Hertin drew the cover.
Don’t think twice, and grab a copy of this terrific album right now! I said NOW!

Available on CD and LP at Crazy Love Records
https://www.facebook.com/thenevrotix

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Nevrotix

Griswalds (the)

The Griswalds – Do The Hucklebuck

Raucous Records – RAUC 005 [1988]
 Do the Hucklebuck – Cry Baby Blues – Robbie Robot – Sweeney Todd 

Griswalds do the hucklebuck

The Griswalds formed around 1987 (maybe late 1986) with Gary Pudney (formerly of the Nitros) on vocals, Clive Howling, a one-time member of the Frantic Flintstones on slap bass, Jason Loadsman on drums and Jason Barnham (ex-Furys) on guitar. 
Howling left shortly before the band recorded its debut EP for Raucous and was replaced by Matt Johnson on electric bass. Though not revolutionary, this four-track EP is quite pleasant. On the A-side, you find a sped-up version of the Hucklebuck (Roy Milton and many others after him) and Cry Baby Blues, a more average rocking tune. The B-side is more interesting with the excellent Robbie Robot, which sounds like a Psychobilly version of Devo and Sweeney Todd. The latter is a lovely ballad, a least musically, with lyrics about the demon barber of Fleet Street.


The Griswalds – Who Framed The Griswalds?

Nervous Records – NERD 047 [1989]
Fright Night – Surfin’ for a Blonde – Dead Time – Happy Hour – Hit Man – Blue Oyster Palace – Who’s Crying’ Now – Stop, Jump About – Rich Bitch – Gay Barndance – Crazy Little Kid – Spasms –  Mean Mother… – Tiger Feet 

the griswalds

After a tour with Torment, Roy Williams offered a recording contract to the Griswalds. When the band entered the studio to record their debut album, Martin Clark (brother of Rob Clark of the Rattlers) and Keith Bailey (ex-Niteshift Trio) had replaced Johnson and Loadsman, respectively.
With fourteen tracks, which is often too long for a Psychobilly album, Who Framed The Griswalds is close to a certain Psychobilly perfection. The band is tight and has developed an excellent and original brand of Psychobilly. 
Many songs have a strong pop edge, some with an interesting and unuasal structure (Who’s Crying Now) and others more threatening, like Fright Night and Hit Man. It culminates with their excellent cover of the Housemartins’ Happy Hour and demonstrates a band who doesn’t satisfy with playing only fast Rockabilly. 
Thus, Crazy Little Kid sounds like a cross between the early Frantic Flintstones and the Long Tall Texans, and Surfin’ For A Blonde sounds like a Psychobilly answer to Danny and the Juniors.

But the Griswalds can also deliver mean Psychobilly tunes with distorted guitar, as demonstrated by Rich Bitch and their cover of Mud’s Tiger Feet. There’s also some jungle beat ala Jungle Rock (Dead Time), a blues tune (Mean Mother… with harmonica) and Gay Barndance, which could be best described as Psycho-Hillbilly.

The Radioactive Kid

Tiny Minds

Tiny Minds – s/t

Kix 4 U Records – Kix 3357
Trouble Bound – Tell Me – Don’t You Lie – Young And Restless – Wortless and Weak – Out For The Cold / Song For You – Made In the Shade – It’s Not Me – Psycho Music – Crazy – Psycho Therapy – Shout

tiny minds

File under “another Psychobilly album”. Tiny Minds was a Swedish trio formed by Dan (slap bass, some guitars), Henry (guitar) and Harry (drums and acoustic guitar). Not sure, but it seems that each of them sing.
Considering that the band looks pretty young on the cover (confirmed by the vocals, too), you don’t want to be too harsh, but honestly, this is a more than dispensable album. It’s not as bad as the Punishers, but you can easily live without it. There’s enough slap bass to satisfy the psychotic crowd, and some songs are original and could be very good (Don’t You Lie, Wortless and Weak, Song For You) if mistakes, uneven musicianship and approximate vocals didn’t plague them.

The Radioactive Kid

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