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  • Psychobilly

    Psychobilly is a form of music that has been widely described as a blend of punk rock from the end of the 70’s and also rockabilly music from the American 1950’s scene. More often than not the lyrics in Psychobilly music are a comedic take on topics that are usually disapproved by general commercial music, such as graphic sexual themes, horror and violence. Also, rather than using the electric bass guitar found in most rock genres, Psychobilly bands will usually use an standing double bass. This instrumentation sets Psychobilly apart from other genres in a huge way.

    Performers and fans alike will usually dress in 50s rock and 70s punk styles. The actual term Psychobilly was not used until 1976 in reference to a song by Johnny Cash, called “One Piece at a Time”. This was not due in fact to the song actually being categorised as Psychobilly, rather due to the reference to a “Psychobilly Cadillac” found in the lyrics of Cash’s hit song. Though it wasn’t until a few years later when a band called The Cramps used the terms Psychobilly and rockabilly voodoo on the flyers they used to promote their live performances, that the term Psychobilly was actually used to label a music genre. though The Cramps refuted being pioneers of the genre, they are none the less considered to be apart of the creation of the Psychobilly genre, including the performers the Stray Cats and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

    Though it is a band called The Meteors who originated in 1980 in South London, England, that are considered to be the first confirmable Psychobilly band. The three members came together, overlapping ideas from rockabilly, punk, and horror movies to lay the foundations for what Psychobilly has become. They have even been accredited for encouraging their performance to be non-political, considering that politics related disputes were a reoccurring problem during the punk rock performances during the 70s and 80s.

    Psychobilly began its movement in the UK, and in 1982 the Clarendon Hotel opened the “Klubfoot nightclub” in West London, which was a centre for the Psychobilly scene. Eventually a few years passed and Psychobilly had begun to rise in popularity, spreading into the European countries, most notably Italy, Finland, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Greece, as well as a few others. By the middle and late 90s, the genre had spread into America, Australia and Canada.

    The Psychobilly scene kept gaining momentum, eventually reaching Japan and a few different Asian countries by the early years of the 2000s. A few notable bands of the genre include, but are not limited to, 7 Shot Screamers, Batmobile, Bodeco, Casino Rumblers, Elvis Hitler, The Creepshow, Horrorpops, Mad Sin, Robotix, and Torment to name only a few.

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