We weren`t afraid to mix some crazy styles into the standard rockabilly look. We also took a lot of different musical influences that were part of that era.
The songwriting has never really stepped forward from the `50`s.
People out there maybe know who Junior Parker is and some of those Sun Records blues guys.
I didn`t want to take the guitar solos down note-for-note, but more or less use them as a map, and keep all the hooks from the guitar playing, and let myself come through.
It`s not about how loud you turn the amp up. That`s not what makes it sound big. What makes it sound big is fooling around with different delays and reverb settings.
I put a metronome up to all the songs, and I tried to really keep it true to the original tempos.
For every rockabilly festival staged here, there are 10 held overseas.
Normally, you go into the recording studio, make a record and then take it on the road and you think... wow... I could have done THIS to it, or something.
The jazz chord substitutions in a country song... that was another thing that bent people`s ears. I guess that my favorites are the unique ones. It`s not how fast you play. It`s that unique blending of different stuff I`m most proud of.
A lot of people put all that stuff on a pedestal, and they won`t touch it. But I don`t think that`s the reason they did that. I think they played that stuff out of pure joy.
Those drum parts were so integral to that original rockabilly. People don`t play that anymore. A lot of those original drum fills were kept.
With the Stray Cats at least, we really took the music somewhere else. First, we wrote our own songs. That`s a real weak point in modern classics if you do rockabilly or blues.
To keep creating something with this type of music, you have to take it out of the box.
It is hard to play Blue Suede Shoes. I know everyone has heard it 10 million times, and that makes it even harder to play it, but there`s a very laid back tempo on that. I was surprised at how slow it really was.
Mark Winchester has left the band. He`s decided that he`s tired of the road and just wants to concentrate on his career in Nashville. I don`t blame him at all. He`ll certainly be missed.
I`m not God`s gift to rockabilly. There`s great players out there, and some of them deserve a lot more than they`ve gotten.
I can`t tell you how many people have asked me to show them Stray Cat Strut and that little diminished run on the C. I guess my brain is wired backwards. I don`t know what possessed me to do that, but I did.
Veteran performers are dying off, and new acts simply aren`t emerging on the national scene.
Elvis is not so difficult as Johnny Cash because his voice is so distinctive. If you try to copy Johnny Cash, it`s just going to sound dumb.
I basically sat down for a month, with all the Sun stuff I could find and just picked out my favorites. I didn`t think that they were indicative of `54 to `57, although I tried to stay within that period.
The biggest challenge for me was Get Rhythm. I don`t know why.
Don`t be afraid to take liberties with this music. Try and put some of yourself into it.
Since the big band started I`m just always swamped with movies and things. It certainly pays the bills and it`s very satisfying, because I get to write all these big charts and all this crazy music.
I wanted to go back to Sun. Unfortunately, most of the gear is gone from Sun. The way I take it now, it`s almost like a tourist destination. So, it would have been pretty difficult to have brought all the gear into Sun to make it like it was in the `50`s.