Gelled hair, tattooed arms and leather clothes: the Stray Cats, dandies of the eighties, still have rockabilly in their skin. After a break of about twenty years, the three irresistible Creepers are back with the Creepers to give some swing to our carefree times.
Rockabilly lovers are licking their lips: the Stray Cats are in the place, ready to unleash their wildest wandering melodies. We leave the has-been in the wardrobe: the three intrepid New Yorkers, expatriated to London to capture the spotlight, always reveal a fiery energy and a contagious stage play. A little bad boys, they explore Eddie Cochran's Minnesota, wander the King's Mississippi and wander the roads of Tennessee, dear to Carl Perkins.
Big gaps, scratched riffs. The Stray Cats, rockers with artichoke hearts and banana wicks, keep the peach to offer, with a smile on their face, an over-charged show. The recipe has proved its worth, sweetened with good humour, spiced with audacity. It is with these ingredients that Brian Setzer's band conquered Europe at the beginning of the eighties, sending back to the ropes an England that only had eyes for the new wave with a punk crest.
Bim, the Stray Cats shook the coconut tree, and they reaped the rewards. They even ended up with the groupies on their heels, ready to scratch their sleeveless leather jacket with love. Is it the sticky comeback of exalted rock'n'roll or the unexpected effect of gomina? Judging by the effect of their melodies on today's crowds, let's go for the first option. Because by revisiting the codes of good old-fashioned rockabilly with the strings at their fingertips, the eternal kids of America are still swinging their bodies.
In New York, their sound provokes indifference. The three daring men then decide to cross the Atlantic, heading for London, where they hope to break through. It will only take them a few months, in the land of fish & chips, to seduce unbridled teenagers with an energetic and well-strung rockabilly.
Barely two years after their debut, the Stray Cats hit the charts with their debut album. The fashion is now in the fifties, as if to better counter the punk and cold wave impulses. Europe is under the spell, and so is the media. As Alain Wais, then journalist at Le Monde, testifies: "they are young, rather handsome, they have faces and talent to spare".
Devant une scène anglaise animée, où les merveilles se succèdent, les Stray Cats perdent leur élan. Le groupe décide alors de se séparer. Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker et Slim Jim Phantom restent amis et profitent de la fin de l'aventure pour passer à d'autres projets. Brian Setzer connaîtra également de beaux succès au cours des années 90, avec de beaux albums solo et deux Grammy Awards.
Occasionally, the three dandies come together to share the stage. During 2004, they even organise a tour in Europe, as if to revive the beautiful memories and the power of their old hits. The groupies have not forgotten them.
The groupies of the time now have kids and grey hair, but their euphoria remains teenage when they hear the return of the Stray Cats and the release of a new record. The foundations are the same as at the time: an enthusiastic and dancing rockabilly, which knocks out the headache and pessimism.
The kings of rockabilly still have their 50s look. Musically, everything is very well in place. Brian Selzer still masters his six strings as well as ever. The boss offers a fast, precise and uncluttered guitar playing. They are legends and it's easy to see why now.
At the time, many journalists wondered whether the Stray Cats phenomenon was ephemeral, or whether it would last. I believe that today we have the answer. The band is still as popular as ever and their music is still as modern and enthusiastic as ever. So it's a real pleasure to see them back on stage, as fit as ever.
Today, although the trio is no longer young, their early rock is still terribly contagious. Prepare the bananas, take out the creepers, tattoos and finger snaps: the New York trio is in great shape.
Stray cats are always hard to catch, but when you finally convince Brian Setzer, their singer-guitarist, it's an adorable tomcat you meet in a palace near the Versailles palace. The contrast between the rocker tattooed in a Stray Cats T-shirt and the bourgeois clientele is worth the trip alone.