WE REGRET TO REPORT THAT BLACK CAT ENTERTAINMENT / PROMOTER RICH VREEDE REGULARLY STIFFS BANDS AND INVESTORS. WE DID NOT REALIZE THIS AT THE TIME WE COVERED THIS EVENT.
AFTER THIS EVENT IN 2010, SEVERAL BANDS REPORTEDLY DID NOT GET PAID. SOME REPORTED THAT THEY EVENTUALLY GOT PAID ONLY AFTER DRIVING TO VREEDE”S PARENT’S HOUSE (HE LIVES WITH THEM STILL) AND THREATENING ACTION. WE APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE THAT MAY HAVE GOTTEN INVOLVED WITH VREEDE OR BLACK CAT THINKING HE WAS A LEGITIMATE PROMOTER DUE TO THE COVERAGE THAT WE PROVIDED. ONCE AGAIN WE WERE NOT AWARE OF HIS PAST OR HIS DISHONEST DEALINGS AT THE TIME OF THIS COVERAGE. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON VREEDE AND BLACK CAT YOU CAN GO HERE AND HERE
As I reported in my previous post, I’m bummed I was so jet lagged that I didn’t get the chance to see the legendary psychobilly band “The Quakes” at the Black Cat 10th Anniversary Show the other night in Hollywood. I had a long drive home and was paranoid about falling asleep on the 405 and making headlines in the NY Hardtimes.. he, he.
Luckily for me, my good buddy Francisco Mora, who was helping me with stills and video from the event, is a never say die hombre and he stuck around for their performance and got them to agree to be interviewed the next day.
I met Paul Roman, lead singer and founder and Juan Carlos the drummer at Amoeba music on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Francisco graciously volunteered to run camera and we got a good 20 minute interview on the street before these guys had to start the long drive back to Arizona (hopefully they had their papers in order).
Paul is a real pioneer on the psychobilly scene having been performing in the genre, before there even was a genre, since the 1980s in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.
The Quakes’ big break came shortly thereafter when, Paul, frustrated with the lack of much of a psychobilly scene in the U.S. (and especially Buffalo) packed up and moved the band to England where the scene was much more vibrant. It was there that the band got their first record deal and much of their early material deals with the fateful move.
They eventually made their way back to the U.S. and to the much warmer climate of Arizona and the great southwest and have toured several countries and continents since.
The scene in the U.S. has come a long ways since The Quakes first formed in the 1980’s. It’s no secret that California is by far the most vibrant for psychobilly in the U.S. so the band’s proximity is probably no mistake.
The Quakes are scheduled to hit up South America for the first time this summer, hitting the South American Psychobilly capital of Sao Paolo, Brazil. I’m thinking about hitting that with them.
I think Psychobilly owes a lot to bands like “The Quakes” who blazed the path so that the genre could grow and prosper. Paul said that with Tiger Army on hiatus as Nick 13 pursues a solo, country style project, he doesn’t see much hope for the genre to continue to grow at a rapid pace.
I think that is just the way it is with underground genres like Punk, Rockabilly and even more so with Psychobilly. Everyone, punks included, in all countries, seems to think their scene is small and I guess they are in comparison to mainstream music of course. The term underground almost dictates that these genres remain small and niche and I think that is just what fans and followers want.
I know it makes it hard for the bands to earn a decent living but if it gets too big next thing you know it turns into cartoonish genre like hip-hop and you see a paunchy, bald and middle aged white guy on his motorcycle loudly jamming to “50 Cent” trying to look all thuggish and cool (something I actually saw just before our interview in Hollywood).
Hip Hoppers may think they live the genre but they pale in comparison (no pun intended) to psychobilly fans who sacrifice not just the way they dress but their entire look (stare inducing wedge cuts, usually a plethora of tattoos, and a look that requires explanation to any too curious civilian).
I don’t think there is a danger of fat, middle aged white guys going through an identity crisis conspicuously jamming to the likes of “The Quakes” or “Tiger Army” anytime soon… and I think that is a good thing.
Now, as Paul said, if we could just somehow deal with that awkward “billy” at the end of the genre’s name?
Above is a segment we did on Tiger Army back in 2007.. Hopefully a video feature on the Quakes is coming soon. Next up, our interview with Italy’s “Evil Devil”. Stay Tuned.