Psychobilly Information

Psychobilly is a fusion genre of rock music that mixes elements of punk rock, rockabilly, and other genres. It is one of several subgenres of rockabilly which also include thrashabilly, trashabilly, punkabilly, surfabilly, and gothabilly. Psychobilly is often characterized by lyrical references to science fiction, horror and exploitation films, violence, lurid sexuality, and other topics generally considered taboo, though often presented in a comedic or tongue-in-cheek fashion. It is often played with an upright double bass instead of the electric bass more common in modern rock music. Psychobilly gained underground popularity in Europe beginning in the early 1980s, but remained largely unknown in the United States until the late 1990s. Since then the success of several notable psychobilly bands has led to its mainstream popularity and attracted international attention to the genre.

The evolution of psychobilly as a genre is often described as having occurred in waves. The first wave occurred in Britain in the early 1980s, the second wave took place at the end of that decade and spread through the rest of Europe, and the third crested in the late 1990s with the genre finding international popularity.

In the mid- to late 1970s, as punk rock became popular, several rockabilly and garage rock bands appeared who would influence the development of psychobilly. The term "psychobilly" was first used in the lyrics to the country song "One Piece at a Time", written by Wayne Kemp for Johnny Cash, which was a Top 10 hit in the United States in 1976. The lyrics describe the construction of a "psychobilly Cadillac." The rock band The Cramps, who formed in Sacramento, California in 1972 and relocated to New York in 1975 where they became part of the city's thriving punk movement, appropriated the term from the Cash song and described their music as "psychobilly" and "rockabilly voodoo" on flyers advertising their concerts. The Cramps have since rejected the idea of being a part of a psychobilly subculture, noting that "We weren't even describing the music when we put 'psychobilly' on our old fliers; we were just using carny terms to drum up business. It wasn't meant as a style of music." Nevertheless, The Cramps, along with artists such as Screamin' Jay Hawkins, are considered important precursors to psychobilly. The Cramps' music was heavily informed by the sound and attitude of 1950s American rockabilly, and they recorded numerous covers of songs from the Sun Records catalog. Their 1979 album Songs the Lord Taught Us is considered influential to the formation of the psychobilly genre.

Wikipedia, Psychobilly, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychobilly (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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