Halloween Month-Psychobilly, Y’all

Psychobilly Week

It is my pleasure to present, as we wind down All Hallows Month, one of my favorite genres of music. In fact, here are my personal albums:

My collection

Psychobilly is a blending of Punk Rock and Rockabilly. Sometimes the lyrics are about such erudite subjects as being a Teenage Goo Goo Muck, cutting off a girlfriend’s head and putting it on a wall, monsters, werewolves, aliens, gore hounds and what not. The music is wild and fun and perfect for Halloween.

Here are my faves:

The Cramps


The Cramps never considered themselves Psychobilly but everybody else did. God, I love The Cramps. I mean, not the kind of cramps that… You know what I mean.

I got to see this awesome band play in London in the early 1980’s at Hammersmith Palais. I expected it to be a fun, cool time like in Austin, TX at Club Foot or something. But those English guys were effing serious.

My sister and I, fortunately, made our way up to the balcony because the floor was insane. This giant clump of mohawks was swaying from one side of the building to another. Not necessarily on purpose. Once you were in that mess you were absorbed. I discovered then that English punk rockers were a lot more violent than Texas ones and there were a lot more of them!

One of the main things I remember is that the lead singer, Lux Interior’s pants were so tight they started ripping off of him as he jumped around and performed. It was not a bad sight. Here’s a little taste of their early magnificence.

Here’s a little preview:

The Meteors


The Meteors are considered the first and most “for real” Psychobilly band. Their song Wreckin’ Crew was the inspiration for slam dancing apparently. This music is so bad ass. I defy you to listen to it and not want to push something over. I still have the vintage western shirts that I wore over leggings with vintage cowboy boots and a bunch of old bolo ties. Hell yeah!

By the way, when are bolo ties coming back? I mean, come on, people, they’re awesome. Here is the song Wreckin’ Crew since you’re probably curious, but there are lots more good songs from them as well.

Slam on!!!

Hasil Adkins

I saved the best for last. This last guy, Hasil Adkins (pronounced Hassle) is not technically Psychobilly. He was actually Rockabilly and probably psycho. This guy was making music in the 1950’s and 1960’s and was like nothing else and no one else. Before I give any background, I want you to hear him first because it’s a little indescribable.

Surprise! You may recognize this song from a commercial that’s on at the time of this post.

I heard about Hasil Adkins in the 80’s when you couldn’t just Google something you were interested in. My Rockabilly friends knew a bit about him, but at the time he was still a bit of a mystery. We just knew he was some crazy hillbilly who made really amazing freaking music back in the day. So guess what I did? I Googled him! and guess what else! There’s a documentary about him. I am going to leave it up to you if you want to find out more, but I understand if you want to keep the mystery alive. Here are some need to know facts.

  • Hasil Adkins was an honest-to-God Appalachian hillbilly.
  • When he was young and heard songs on the radio he thought the singer played all the instruments too, so he taught himself to play a guitar and beat a drum with a foot pedal at the same time.
  • He was hot, hot, hot in his youth and a serious ladies’ man.
  • He would mail copies of his latest album to the current sitting President of the US and actually got a generic acknowledgement from Nixon.

You can purchase a short documentary filmed when he was still alive in case you can’t stand not knowing more:

The Wild World of Hasil Adkins

So there it is, little Hellcats. A sampling of the awesome music genre that is Psychobilly.

Don’t forget to join the mailing list so you can find out when new blog posts go up. I will also be adding cool things I find on the web, and elsewhere, that I only include in the newsletter. Until next week!

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Halloween Month-At the Movies

Lux Punk Halloween Movies

Horror movies are very popular right now.These are tough times and I suppose there is some relief in being scared out of your mind on purpose. At least you know in an hour and a half, it’ll be over.

There’s something wonderful about scary movies of the past, before CGI and digital special effects. The audience really had to suspend their disbelief and agree that the silver spray painted cardboard thing was a giant robot.

Santa conquers screenie 2

My favorites are the horror movies that are just so unintentionally bad, they’re hilarious. If you’ve never seen the television show, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 ( MST3K), please get on that. Some of the episodes are on Netflix and You Tube at the time of this writing.

Two of the movies in this post fall under the “so bad they’re good” heading and one is just freaking terrifying.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

plan-9-from-outer-space-ed-wood-poster
Of course, we have to begin with the movie once voted the “Worst Movie Ever Made”. How can you not want to watch that? Released in 1959, Plan 9 has a little bit of everything: Aliens, Clairvoyants, the Undead, Professional Wrestlers, Bela Lugosi, the director’s wife’s chiropractor, wobbly tombstones, it’s all just delicious.

The director, writer, producer, Ed Wood, really thought he was going to be famous and the next Orson Welles. He also believed in shooting everything in one take no matter what.

The film is about a verbose, over-acting alien who decides to teach Earthlings a lesson by raising the dead and having them stumble around slowly in a cemetery with their arms outstretched. In this case, the most entertaining part of the movie is not the plot, it’s the horrible acting, writing and mistakes. Normally, bloopers are shown after the movie or on a separate reel. In Plan 9, the bloopers are actually in the movie. IMDB has an extensive list of goofs and flubs. Go HERE if you want to see.

Just a couple of hints, Ed Wood had pre-filmed his idol and friend, Bela Lugosi, in a few scenes. Those are the shots of the old man leaving his house in the middle of the day and at his wife’s grave site. Unfortunately, Lugosi died before filming began. Instead of recasting the part, the director hired his wife’s chiropractor to play the role in the other scenes. Those are the shots of the considerably taller man with a cape covering his face.
Also, watch out for Vampira and the other undeads kicking over paper-mâche tombstones as they stroll through the graveyard and the police officer who uses his gun to scratch an itch.

Here are two of my favorite things; MST3K and Plan 9 from Outer Space:

Since Tim Burton’s Ed Wood movie was released, Plan 9 From Outer Space has become much more popular and even beloved. It really is great in spite of itself. Wood knew it was a hit before anyone else. He said,

If you want to know me, see Glen or Glenda (1953). That’s me, that’s my story, no question. But [Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)] is my pride and joy.

The best thing is, Ed Wood actually was trying to make a great film. This is not the case in the next film.

The Tingler (1959)

The_Tingler

The Tingler was the second collaboration between Producer/Director William Castle and Vincent Price, the first being the successful, House On Haunted Hill. The Tingler was a wobbly insect looking thing that would activate and grow in people’s spines when they were frightened. The only way to supress the Tingler was to scream. Scream for your lives!

the tingler

The Tingler incorporates a lot of gimmicks. I was lucky enough to see this movie a few years ago in a theatre that set up all those tricks and gags that the movie was intended to have. This included random seats being wired to vibrate at a certain time in the movie which really freaked those people out.

My favorite was when the picture just stops and Vincent Price’s voice warns the audience that the Tingler is loose in the theatre and that someone has fainted. Then two actors dressed in 1950’s nurses’ uniforms came in with a gurney and carted someone in the audience (a plant) away. It was SO GREAT! Even without this, the movie is fun to watch. Unlike the Ed Wood film, this one is fairly well written although campy and completely implausible. It is also notable as the first movie to depict an LSD trip.

Freaks (1932)

Freaks Movie

Our final movie is not funny. It is creepy as hell. If you’re watching the third season of American Horror Story, you’ll find Freaks is heavily referenced if not downright repurposed.

Freaks is a 1930’s film about a circus Freak Show using real deformed circus performers of the day as the actors. This was a time when the film industry used Jewish men from Brooklyn to play Native Americans with no compunction. So to have actual pinheads and dwarfs and Siamese twins onscreen was quite shocking. The purpose of the film was to humanize the deformed people for the audience and encourage compassion Most of the lines that would do that, however, were cut. One woman claimed the movie gave her a miscarriage and Freaks was banned from playing in the United Kingdom for 30 years.

The classic and most memorable line from this movie is “Gooble. Gobble. We accept her. One of us.” American Horror Story: Freak Show repeated “You’re on of us” several times in the first episode. I don’t want to give too much away, but here is that famous scene from the movie:

You may have guessed by now that the Ramones also referenced the film with “Gabba Gabba Hey!”.

So, what do you think? Have you seen these movies?
Do you have a favorite old “scary” movie most people don’t know about?

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to join the email list for new posts and other cool stuff.

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