10 Classic Psychobilly Songs For People Who Don't Know Shit About Psychobilly
Mark Philips (Demented Are Go) on stage at Dresden "Reiterhalle"
Stephan Böhlig/Wikimedia Commons
Many fans of psychobilly music can argue all day long about the origins of the genre or what constitutes a band as psychobilly. We would like to stray a bit from that conversation and simply give you a list of what songs we personally would include on a mixtape as an introduction to psychobilly. We are Tawney Estrella and Remy Casillas. Together we run Pizza Beat Entertainment. What does that mean to you? Probably nothing. Hah! All you really need to know that we are both huge fans of the genre and have passionately submerged ourselves into the music and culture that is psychobilly. Hell, if it wasn’t for psychobilly music, we probably would have never met each other.
Now that you know a little bit about us and why our opinion matters (or doesn’t) here is a short list of 10 songs that we picked for our hypothetical mixtape. Keep in mind, this is strictly based on our taste and opinion. This was a very difficult list to narrow down. There will be many songs and bands that we would have loved to include in this list, however that list would end up being extremely long. We may actually continue this conversation on our blog page (shameless plug alert!) http://pizzabeat.tumblr.com/ or you can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pizzabeatentertainment. We hope that this list will inspire folks to listen to psychobilly. If you are already a fan, hopefully this will inspire you to make your own mixtape and pass the music on to others. Remember, everybody has to start somewhere. Let’s begin, shall we?
1. The Meteors
“Maniac Rockers from Hell”
What better way to start our mixtape than with what many will argue are the originators of the genre and the Kings Of Psychobilly, The Meteors. Hailing from London, England The Meteors emerged as a raunchy, raw and wild alternative to the squeaky clean neo-rockabilly sound that was popular in the U.K. in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. From the starting gate, this song gets you revved up with the pulsating drums, and then P.Paul Fenech delivers “rockabilly all the way from hell” with his maniacal guitar playing and unapologetic lyrical content. You won’t find any mention of hot rods, girls or blue suede shoes here. This song is the perfect intro into the rockin’ world of psychobilly music. It’s no wonder that The Meteors have inspired many to pick up their instruments and play psycho rock ‘n’ roll!
Within’ the first few seconds of this song you can tell that you are about to be taken on a journey into some crazy shit. Drummer, Johnny Zuidhof screams bloody murder over the rhythmic twang of Jeroen Haamers’ guitar. Once Eric Hammers jumps in with his steady and hypnotic bass slapping skills, there’s no turning back. You’re on a one way trip on the Transylvanian Express and you won’t want to jump off. (See what we did there?)
3. The Sharks
“Take A Razor To Your Head”
This song is the perfect example of the transitional period of moving on to psychobilly from neo-rockabilly:
“When you feel it's time to move along
And you feel like somethin' new
Just follow the trail of discarded drapes
Here's what you must do:
Take your old man's cut-throat
With the stains where he has bled
And take a razor to your head”
Need we say more?
4. Demented Are Go
Fueled by sex, drugs, rubber and rock ‘n’ roll, Demented Are Go expanded the limits of psychobilly music with their unique and highly influential sound. D.A.G. have a ton of killer original tunes under their belt as well as some insanely awesome cover songs. Although many bands have covered The Osmonds’ 1972 hit song “Crazy Horses,” Demented Are Go make it their own with Mark “Sparky” Phillips’ intense, demonic howling of the lyrics. Demented Are Go, indeed!
“Bus Stop” starts with Mad Dog Cole's delivery of one of the most infamously used word in psychobilly & rockabilly (in our opinion) “Weeeeell…” Then he proceeds to sing you a story of how he is having a cold and shitty evening on the bad side of town, thus causing himself to have a bit of an existential crisis all while pondering the possibility of intelligent life in outer space. We think that many people can relate to this experience of being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be and allowing your mind to wander while trying to stay aware of your surroundings. Also noteworthy is Tony McMillian’s brilliant guitar solos! *Insert air guitar pose here*
The Klingonz, as you can tell by their name, are a group of nutty Irish fellas obsessed with science fiction, killer clowns, oompa loompas and all things supernatural. While their sound is not what psychobilly purists would consider traditional psychobilly (is that a thing?) they definitely bring an element of fun to their more aggressive sound. “Werewolf Boogie” tells the tale of one man’s transformation into a rock ’n’ rollin’ werewolf that will leave you howling for more.
While the Dypsomaniaxe started off as a sort of female counterpart to their mentors the Klingonz, they have carved out their own chunk of psychobilly history by becoming the first all-female psychobilly band. Gender aside, this talented bunch had their own distinct and hard hitting sound. “Dangerous Liaisons” showcases the band’s knack for haunting harmonies and structured melodies. Although they only released one full length album, Dypsomaniaxe has left an indelible mark on psychobilly music.
“My Dream” is the only love song on this hypothetical mixtape. The late, great singer and guitarist Simon Brand sings of a fictional and unrequited love that he found in his very own dreams. The song itself is captivating and upbeat with just a tinge of desperation and longing that you can hear in Simon’s voice. The musical timing on this track is pretty impressive and adds to this catchy tune.
9. Godless Wicked Creeps
“We Are Rockers”
Godless Wicked Creeps have created somewhat of an anthem for many a psycho with “We Are Rockers.” They declare their pride for living deviant lifestyles while partying hard and laughing at the sound of each other’s farts, thus keeping psychobilly fun and lighthearted. Try listening to this song without shaking your ass to the beat…it’s nearly impossible.
“Titanic” is the first track on the Meantraitor’s 1994 full length release “Titanic Music.” At first listen you might think that you were listening at the wrong speed, but NOPE that’s just how this Russian psychobilly band rolls. Singer, guitarist & core member Stas Bogorad uses his unique voice and guitar sound to heighten an already frantic and incredible bass sound delivered by Dimitry “D-Jazz” Ilyin. Although you can hear a bit of the lyrics get lost in translation, they use the universal language of rock ‘n’ roll to express themselves. This song is a timeless, mesmerizing and powerful example of the many directions that psychobilly can be taken to.
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