- Chris Jackson
The Stray Cats’ catalogue features eight studio albums, that includes juggernaut albums Stray Cats, Built For Speed and Rant n’ Rave with the Stray Cats. Hits that launched them to super stardom and beyond include mega-hits “Stray Cat Strut”, “(She’s) Sexy + 17”, “Rockabilly Rules”, “Rumble In Brighton”, “Little Miss Pissy”, “Rev It Up & Go”, and then there’s their sonic anthem, “Rock This Town”. That tune is so legit, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame identified this song as one of the top songs that shaped Rock and Roll. It actually did more than that, it defined a generation. That’s the thing about the Stray Cats, they hit it big at a time when synthesizers were all the rage, but their music remained genuine. They have the same type of guitars and amps from way back when, they just play to a much, much bigger crowd these days. Louis Armstrong once said, there are two kinds of music, the good and the bad… I personally think the Stray Cats play the good. I’m pretty sure Louis would have agreed.
As a postscript to the Stray Cats, the guys have successfully gone on to individually do their own things. Slim Jim Phantom makes regular appearances in SoCal; in fact, he just played this past year’s Like Totally 80’s festival in Huntington Beach. He’s in a rockabilly band called 13 Cats. He’s also an active member of a foundation that is near and dear to the hearts of countless people. He’s part of the Love Hope Strength Foundation. It’s an organization founded by Mike Peters of The Alarm, an artist who’s experienced his own bout with cancer. Like Peters, Phantom uses his celebrity to help those who have been afflicted by this terrible disease. Lee Rocker also has a great solo career… he also makes appearances in SoCal, like last summer’s So-Cal Hoedown in Santa Ana. He’ll be appearing at the Coach House in October. Some of his very successful albums include Black Cat Bone and Racin’ the Devil and Bulletproof. He’s also recorded or performed with icons, Carl Perkins, and Willie Nelson just to name a few. Rocker, also, was a DJ here locally; for a little bit, he frequented the airwaves at KX93.5 FM in Laguna Beach. As for Setzer, he’s found success with his swing revival band, the Brian Setzer Orchestra. He makes regular appearances in SoCal, especially at Christmas time. Some of his hits under this band are familiar tunes like“ This Cat (Is On A Hot Tin Roof)” and his cover of Louis Prima’s “Jump Jive an’ Wail.”
The guys reunite periodically for gigs, and it was recently announced that they would be playing two gigs at The Pacific Amphitheatre on August 16th and 17th. It’s unclear if this will be it for a while for the Stray Cats, or if we have more in store. If you take one thing away from this article it’s this….it’s one thing to read about bands that made history, it’s another thing to see them live. Who knows, maybe there’s a big announcement just around the corner. Until then, if you like to dance at a show, here’s your chance to see living legends, check out the Stray Cats at Pac Amp this Summer.
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