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Posts Tagged ‘Klub Foot

What do you get if you cross Rockabilly with Punk?…

 

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In the early 80’s, a nightclub known as Klub Foot in Hammersmith, London, became the seed crystal of a musical movement that came to be known as Psychobilly.  As “street anthropologist” Ted Polhemus observed,

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… 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…

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.

(From Streetstyle)

The British scene, and the European umbra it generated, dimmed after the demolition of the Claredon in 1988 (but not before influencing many more main-stream Rockabillies to trade in their fancy suits for work clothes); but at about that same point, Psychobilly took root in the U.S, where it lasted through the 90s.  Indeed, to this day Psychobilly delights a relatively small, but dedicated following in the U.S., Europe– and, of course, Japan.

Here, two examples; first, the marriage of Rockabilly and Punk in its purest form: Lemmy Kilmister and Johnny Ramone…

And from earlier days, one of America’s leading Psychobilly bands, Tiger Army…

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As we send discreet birthday greetings to Emily Dickinson, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976 that the “British airwaves turned blue”:  in an appearance on ITV’s morning show, Today, members of the Sex Pistols casually cursed…

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

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