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FAQ of Psychobilly, version 1.2 September 2003.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Psychobilly and the Psychobilly Homepage (Wreckingpit). This FAQ is written by Roy ter Maat. Suggestions are welcome and can be emailed to roy@NOSPAMwreckingpit.com.


1. What is Psychobilly?
2. What are the most popular bands for Psychobillies?
3. What are must have albums for Psychobillies?
4. What was the inspiration for Psychobilly music?
5. Where can I buy Psychobilly music, clothes, shoes etc?
6. What is a Psychobilly Weekend?
7. Are Psychobillies political?


1. What is Psychobilly?

THe easiest way to describe Psychobilly is to say it's a mixture of Rockabilly and Punk. One of the best descriptions of Psychobilly has been written by Ted Polhemus in his book "Street Style".

From the book "Street Style", written by Ted Polhemus (ISBN 0-500-27794-X).
At first glance it is hard to imagine a more unlikely combination than Punk and Rockabilly, but the Psychobillies made a virtue of such apparent incompatibility. At the wonderfully named 'Klub Foot', the West London venue where the Psychobillies first came together as a subculture, their fusion of 1950s Americana and 1970s British Punk seemed both obvious and inevitable
To make the connection one must forget the soft drizzle of sentimentality which in the end became all too typical of the Rockabillies (Elvis singing about Teddy Bears in Vegas) and go back to the angry, licentious snarf of their early days. From this perspective it is clear that the thumping beat, the in-your-face sexuality, the deliberate shunning of prissy sophistication and the greasy quiffs of the early Rockabillies were in tune with Punk's gutsy spirit of raw rebellion. The Punks simply added a stylistic extremism, an assumption of gender equality and fetishistic trashiness which could not conceivably have existed in Memphis in the mid-fifties. The common denominator is rock 'n' roll energy in its purest form.
Although the slezoid music and style of the American post-Punk band The Cramps was clearly an inspiration, the first 100-percent-proof Psychobilly band was The Meteors, which formed in South London in 1980. With musicians consisting of one Rockabilly, one Punk and one psychedelic horror enthusiast, The Meteors constituted a complete microcosm of the subculture which would almost immediately form around it.
By 1982, with the opening of Klub Foot, the Psychobillies were more than simply the followers of a cult band. Their style has been termed 'Mutant Rockabilly' and it is an apt description - with cartoon quiffs sometimes dyed green or purple and always thrust out far beyond the expectations of gravity, aggressive studded belts ans Doc Martens, shredded, bleached jeans and leather jackets painted with post-nuclear-holocaust imagery. Here were creatures straight out of tacky comic books or ketchup-splattered horror movies brought to life (?) and waiting patiently for the last bus to Planet Zorch.
Needless to say, such an extreme styletribe never reached an enormous size and its bands (in time including the likes of Guana Batz, Demented are Go, Batmobile and the truly unbelievable King Kurt) never appeared on TV's Top of the Pops. It did however, quickly acquire members throughout most of Europe (especially Germany, Italy and Spain) and a large, dedicated following in Japan.
Stylistically, the Psychobillies' principal effect seems to have been on the Rockabillies - causing a shift towards battered denim workwear and away from fancy suits and pristine footwear. From there (and it should be remembered that the Rockabilly movement was huge in Britain in the early eighties) this look moved into the street mainstream in the form of the 'Hard Times' look.
At one level the Psychobillies exhibited an alarming fixation with violence and wanton destruction, but this was always tempered by a wonderful, surreal sense of humour, which made you smile, even as you crossed hurriedly to the other side of the street.

2. What are the most popular bands for Psychobillies?

In the early eighties the most popular bands were: The Meteors, The Polecats, The Stingrays, Restless, and Batmobile. Those bands mixed Rockabilly together with Punk or 1960s Trash. In the late eighties new Psychobilly bands were formed that had a louder and more distorted sound. Typical bands were The Klingonz, Demented are Go, Nekromantix, Torment and Mad Sin. The only band not coming from Europe in those years was The Quakes. In the early nineties other American Psychobilly bands started to perform, but they didn't have typical European sound. Examples of American bands from the nineties are The Reverend Horton Heat, Los Gatos Locos, Tiger Army, and Barnyard Ballers.

3. What are must have albums for Psychobillies?
The following list is a mixed bag of the different styles in Psychobilly music:
The Meteors - In Heaven
The Meteors - Wreckin' Crew
The Polecats - Polecats are Go
Batmobile - Batmobile
King Kurt - Oh Wallahwallah...
Demented are Go - Go, go demented
The Klingonz - Psychos from beyond
The Reverend Horton Heat - Smoke 'em if you got 'em

4. What was the inspiration for Psychobilly music?

The inspiration for Psychobilly was of course the two music styles Rockabilly and Psychobilly. Bands that really inspired the scene were, among others: The Cramps, The Stray Cats, and Motorhead.

5. Where can I buy music, clothes, shoes etc?

Good starting ponts for buying Psychobilly music online are:
Nervous Records
Crazy Love Records
Raucous Records
Hepcat Records
Voodoo rhythm
Acetate Records

Good starting ponts for buying interesting clothes and shoes online are:
Timeless Clothes Store
Zombie Hot Rod Wear
Pins for sale

If you know any good shops anywhere in the world that sells music or clothes email me and I'll put your shop in the FAQ.

6. What is a Psychobilly Weekend?

A destinctive feature of the Psychopbilly lifestyle is the Psychobilly Weekend. Since Psychobilly never became popular it has always been difficult to book bands. If you book only one band only a few people will turn op. In a weekender you have three days of only psychobilly bands organized for example on a campus. You'll have loads of people coming from all continents to watch bands, and have a big party. In the mid-eighties the first weekenders were organized in the UK.

7. Are Psychobillies political?

No, not at all. Psychobilly started as a reaction on the punkrock scene in the 80's which was getting too political. Psychobilly is just about good music and having a good time with friends. There aren't many] psycho, rockabilly or rock'n'roll bands that have anything else to say than sing about monsters, UFO's, and teenagers problems. The only psycho abnd with political songs is probably the Peacocks, but then again this is a 50% ska band too. I remember a discussion on the rockabilly mailinglist back in 1995. People asked if there ever was a political rockabilly song and all they could come up with was Storm the Embassy by The Stray Cats. The one and only Meteors by the way had printed shirts saying: Yellow Zone Surf Club: Political Free Zone.


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