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BRIAN AND CHRISTINE BEAN: RED HOT ROCKABILY
BURGERS & BOBBYSOCKS
PEOPLE FROM OUR PAST
Where were you there during the 2nd Wave? –
Rockabilly in Australia in the early to mid eighties by TREVOR CAMERON aka “the Crusher” from the Rattlesnakes
Hey there groovers! How many readers of ‘Rock to It’ were part of the ‘2nd Wave of the rockabilly/rock n roll revival in the early eighties? Here are some recollections of the scene back then. I don’t pretend to have all the bands covered or all the dates totally correct but I do recall a really happening and vibrant scene particularly in Sydney and Melbourne during the early 80’s. I guess in many ways it was the Stray Cats post-punk rockabilly sound that kicked off the second wave internationally. From 1980 to 1987 there were lots of bands playing straight out rockabilly and music influenced by rockabilly in the post punk era. Other international bands around at the time included the Polecats, the Meteors, Crazy Cavan and the Blue Cats. US bands such as the Cramps and the Gun Club took early RnR & blues and created their own unique sound inspired by the 50s & early 60s by the likes of Link Wray, the Sonics and Roy Orbison and in the case of the Gun Club early blues artists such as Robert Johnson and Howlin Wolf.
Some of the cool Melbourne rockabilly bands around that time included the Crackerjacks, the Straight 8s (who are still rockin as good as ever today), the Tombstone Hands, the Corpse Grinders and the Dancehall Racketeers. The Fireballs also started up in Melbourne around this time but you had to be a pretty good rockabilly dancer to keep up with their speed.
Sydney had a swingin scene too with bands like the Wildcat Tamers (led by Jimmy Jessop and inspired by all things Gene Vincent); the Milky Bar Kids; the Jaguars and Brisbane band the Treble Clefs. These bands all ended up on a ‘best of Sydney rockabilly Compilation LP’ put out by Regular Records in 1984 simply titled ‘Rockabilly’. There is some great early Australian rockabilly on this album.
There were also quite a few heavier bands influenced by rockabilly on the underground scene during that time including the Johnnys, the Lime Spiders and Canberra band the Moral Majority.
Venues like the Manzil Room, French’s on Oxford Street (the seediest dive in the inner city), the Trade Union Club, the Hopetoun, the Annandale and Lansdowne all featured rockabilly bands during this time. The Lansdowne was pretty much rockabilly HQ for Sydney during the early 80’s and I saw a heap of bands play there during that time.
I recall black suede desert boots with ripple soles, pointy toed boots and winkle pickers, mohair jumpers, peg legs and denim jackets. Western shirts could be found in any half decent opp shop and leather jackets or Teddy boy overcoats were highly coveted items (they actually cost money!). The old European barbers were back in business in all parts of the inner city crafting flat tops and quiffs. All the aging long hairs of the 70’s were left languishing in their lounge rooms drowning in pot smoke and listening to the Eagles.
Ah yes it was a heady time with bands on most nights of the week in rockabilly venues full to the brim with rockabillys, skinheads, punks and other assorted misfits, for the most part, all getting along OK and getting into the music.
Where were you during the 2nd wave?
Mr Mitch Capone
John & Karen Waring
Miss Alecia Kamikazi
Miss Emma- Jean
Ms Kristy and Mr Rob Pursch
Coffs Coast Swing Katz