Und hierin lag letztlich auch einer der Ursprünge für ihren Erfolg: sie spielten nicht wie viele andere alte Rock'n'Roll-Standards herunter, sondern hauchten ihrer musikalischen Vorliebe den Geist des Punk ein - so wie Jahrzehnte vorher ihre Vorbilder dem Rock'n'Roll und Rockabilly die Seele gaben.
Bereits zwei Jahre später feiern sie ihren ersten großen Hit, der von vielen als Leitlinie des musikalischen Schaffens der STRAY CATS angesehen wird und der Band weltweit Beachtung verschaffte: ROCK THIS TOWN! Drei musikalisch anspruchsvolle Musiker spielten wieder eine geliebte aber mit Persönlichkeiten aus den vergangenen Jahrzehnten identifizierte Musik - und das in einem absolut modernen Sound. Ab diesem Zeitpunkt gab es kein Halten mehr: überall auf der Welt - von Amerika über Europa nach Japan - wurden die STRAY CATS bewundert und sehnlichst erwartet. Die Rolling Stones luden sie als special guest auf eine ihrer Tourneen ein. Auch in Deutschland strömten über Jahre immer wieder tausende Fans zu den Konzerten, so das der Rockpalast sie gleich zweimal für Live-Aufzeichnungen verpflichtete.
|24.08.08||20:00||München - Zenith|
|01.09.08||19:00||Hamburg - Stadtpark Freilichtbühne|
|02.09.08||20:00||Köln - E-Werk [SOLD OUT!!!]|
1978 / 1979
Brian Setzer dissolves his previous band "The Bloodless Pharaohs" to concentrate on playing rockabilly music. "Rockabilly" is a hybrid sound that fuses "hillbilly", "jump blues" and "western swing" music. The move was considered a gamble as the "Pharaohs" had developed a strong fan base in/around New York and Pennsylvania.
Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker form "The Tomcats" and begin playing locally around the band's hometown of Massapequa, New York. Jim and Lee are friends of Brian's younger brother and they also love rockabilly. The new band build quite a following and play almost every night of the week. Around this time, they begin to develop a visual style that will become the band's trademark. The 1950s style that they love so much is brought "up to date" with exaggerated pompadours and (in Brian and Jim's case) colorful tattoos. They are also creating their own version of the standard "rockabilly sound" by bringing to it Brian's talents as a jazz player and the band's love of the punk rock sound that had come out of England 4 years before. It's this mix that will endear the band to the masses and infuriate the rockabilly "purists".
After performing from New York to Philadelphia, Brian, Jim and Lee decide to go to London, England where they believe people will better appreciate their sound and style. Upon arrival, they decide to call themselves "Stray Cats", a name suggested by bass player, Lee Rocker.
During the early summer of 1980, the band slowly built a following of new fans by playing any gig that they could get. So broke were they upon arrival at Heathrow Airport, the trio slept in all-night movie theatres, on the floors of friend's flats and even in Hyde Park. After a couple of lucky breaks, the band achieved the result they hoped to; they got people to listen to their brand of rockabilly.
By mid August (only 2 months into their U.K. visit!) their growing audience included notable music lovers like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Robert Plant and Ray Davies. Perhaps the most important figure to meet the guys during this period was Dave Edmunds, the Welsh superstar who would go on to produce much of the musical output that was yet to come.
After a show at the Half Moon in London, the Cats visit Rolling Stones' guitarist, Keith Richards' home for a late night jam.
Stray Cats signed to Arista Records in United Kingdom.
First single, "Runaway Boys" released on Arista (flip side: "My One Desire"). Goes to #9 on the U.K. singles chart.
First Television appearance: Top of The Pops. Band performs "Runaway Boys".
First LP released on Arista. Self titled, "Stray Cats". Early copies of the album contain bonus stick-on tattoos of the Stray Cat logo, which both Brian and Jim have tattooed on their arms. There's also a merch sheet and a sticker on the cover that states: PLAY LOUD!
Swansong Records releases a single from Dave Edmunds' latest LP, "Twangin". It's a cover of the George Jones classic, "The Race Is On" and features all 3 Stray Cats, who also appear on the single's sleeve and play on the LP.
Stray Cats tour England and Europe extensively and do numerous radio and television programs. They were featured in every music magazine from Dublin to Helsinki. From September until mid October, the band tours Japan, Australia and New Zealand for the first time. American attention allude them until:
Stray Cats make debut performance on American Television on ABC. Taped in Hollywood, California, the program is called "Fridays". While the band perform, the words: "SIGN THIS BAND, THEY HAVE NO AMERICAN RECORD DEAL" flash on the screen.
Stray Cats open first of 3 shows on the Rolling Stones American Tour. (Atlanta, Georgia: Fox Theatre)
Stray Cats' second LP released on Arista Records, titled "Gonna Ball" The record was recorded in Montserrat and features guest appearances by Little Richard's sax player, Lee Allen and Rolling Stone's piano player, Ian Stewart.
Stray Cats appear on daytime U.S. Television on the "Merv Griffin Show".
Stray Cats signed to EMI America (This is the band's first U.S. record deal despite the fact that they already have released 2 albums throughout the rest of the world.)
Stray Cats begin first North American tour. Tour ends mid-September.
Stray Cats release American debut LP, "Built For Speed" on EMI America. The record is a compilation of tracks taken from the first 2 LPs. A new song, the title track, is a Cats' original recorded at Goldstar Studios in California. (Eventually the record gets as high as #2 on the U.S. album charts.)
Stray Cats make their first appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand TV show.
"Rock This Town" released on EMI America. It's the first US single release. The b-side is a cover of the Motown classic, "You Can't Hurry Love". Both tracks receive much airplay in America. Strange that the b-side does as well, considering that Phil Collins has his own version in the charts at the same time. Goes to #9 on the U.S. singles chart, matching the chart success of the U.K. issue.
Second single, "Stray Cat Strut" released in U.S. (b-side: "You Don't Believe Me") Goes to #3 on the U.S. singles chart.
Stray Cats perform on The American Music Awards where they are nominated for a "Best New Artist" award, but do not win.
March- The Cats embark on their second North American tour.
Stray Cats appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
During the early part of 1983, the band topped the success they'd achieved in Europe. As there, they appeared on countless television and radio programs and had their faces printed in hundreds of magazines from coast to coast and all over Canada.
Stray Cats perform at the "Us Festival" in Devore, California. At over 500,000 people in attendance, it will be the largest crowd the band plays to in their career. The "Us Festival" was a 3-day event featuring nearly every popular band of the time. Each night of the event, highlights were aired in U.S. cable television. The sight of the 3 band members, alone on the massive stage with their minimal stage gear is visually startling. The power of their sound makes the simple instrumentation meaningless. The band begins their show as the sun is going down and play as night descends on California
Stray Cats release "Rant & Rave with Stray Cats" throughout the world. It's the first LP that the band has released at basically the same time, everywhere. It features the single, "Sexy & 17", which will become the band's 3rd major hit in the U.S. " Sexy & 17" goes to #5 on the U.S. singles chart.
Stray Cats perform on "Saturday Night Live". They play "Sexy & 17" and "I Won't Stand In Your Way". The latter features the vocal band, 14 Karat Soul.
Prior to the "Saturday Night Live" appearance, the band had begun another U.S. tour in Chicago on 28 October. This tour would last until 7 February 1984!
Stray Cats contribute their version of the Crests' classic, "16 Candles" to the John Hughes film of the same name. A poster of the Cats hangs on the wall behind the main character's (played by Molly Ringwald) bed.
Stray Cats begin brief European tour. The band includes a second guitarist/vocalist on the tour named Tommy Byrnes. Byrnes is an old friend of the band from Long Island, NY. He was once a member of The BMTs. Prior to Byrnes inclusion, "Wild" Bill Thompson (also from Long Island) played with the Cats for 1 or 2 shows.
Stray Cats begin another U.S. tour. (Again, Tommy Byrnes is along for the ride.)
Late September 1984
After nearly 5 years together Stray Cats take a break.
No music-related activities featuring Stray Cats occurred during 1985.
Stray Cats release "Rock Therapy" LP on EMI America. The sessions took place at Capitol Records in Los Angeles over the summer. Although the record features some fantastic playing and 5 of the 10 tracks are originals, the band does not tour in support of it.
The Cats perform live for the first time since late August 1984 at a charity concert held at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go in Hollywood. Actor Bruce Willis sits in on harp.
No music-related activities featuring Stray Cats occured during 1987.
Stray Cats reform to take part in a televised tribute to Les Paul at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. In the days before the Internet, most of the band's still huge fan-base are alerted to the reunion by reading about the taping of the Les Paul show in the Associated Press. The world prays for a new LP and tour.
Stray Cats embark on a reunion tour of the United States. The first show takes place at the 99 Club in Seattle, Washington.
The reunion tour wraps up in New York at "Club California " in Island Park.
During the latter part of 1988 the band enter the studio with Dave Edmunds to start recording a new album.
A new single is released in the U.K. it's called, "Bring It Back Again". It's featured on a forthcoming album being recorded in Hollywood.
Stray Cats begin a tour of England and France.
The Cats release a new LP worldwide. It's called "Blast Off" on EMI U.S.A.
The band embark on another U.S. tour that takes them from Texas and ends in Philadelphia on 16 May.
Stray Cats perform live from Philadelphia at Sigma Sound Studios. The show is broadcast in Philly, New York and Detroit and subsequently heavily bootlegged.
Several U.S. television appearances were taped from early to mid 1989.
04 June - 06 July
Stray Cats tour Europe. Tour starts in Helsinki and ends in Stuttgart, Germany.
25 July - 13 August
Stray Cats play 8 shows in America supporting the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. First show in Memphis, Tennessee - last show Gardner, Massachusetts.
08 September - 17 September
The band returns to Europe for 1 show in France and a handful in Germany . They also make some radio and television appearances.
01 October - 18 October
Back in the Western U.S., the band performs several shows from Seattle to Las Vegas.
Stray Cats take part in a Roy Orbison tribute concert that is taped in Hollywood at the Universal Amphitheatre and shown throughout the U.S. on cable television. They perform a blistering version of the Orbison classic, "Rock House".
25 February - 03 March
The band perform a series of shows up and down the coast of California.
Stray Cats perform in Brazil for the first time.
30 March - 14 April
More shows in southern California.
06 May - 14 May
Stray Cats tour Japan for the first time since 1981.
09 June - 02 July
Stray Cats tour Europe.
During the mid-summer of 1990, Stray Cats went into the studio with Nile Rodgers to begin work on a new CD. Including a host guest stars, the sessions took place at Oceanway Studios in Hollywood.
Stray Cats tour Australia 19 December "Lets Go Faster" is released in Australia (Liberation Records) and in Japan (Toshiba EMI Limited). Not released in Europe or the U.S.
10 February - 24 February
Stray Cats tour Japan.
27 February - 24 March
Stray Cats tour Australia.
19 October - 20 November
Stray Cats tour the Eastern U.S.A.
Stray Cats begin recording their next CD in Chattanooga, Tennessee at Pyramid Studios. Dave Edmunds is back behind the board, working oh his fourth Stray Cats record.
11 March - 28 March
Stray Cats tour Japan (3rd time in less than 2 years).
30 March - 1 April
The band plays their first-ever shows in Hawaii.
"Choo Choo Hot Fish" is released worldwide on CD and 10" vinyl.
Throughout May, the Cats do loads of promotion for the new record. They perform live on the radio in Asbury Park, New Jersey and also do a in-store record signing in New York City.
07 June - 17 June
The band heads to England and Holland to promote "Choo Choo Hot Fish".
18 July - 15 August
Stray Cats tour the U.S. in support of "Choo Choo Hot Fish".
12 September - 15 October
Stray Cats tour Europe in support of "Choo Choo Hot Fish".
04 November - 18 November
Stray Cats embark on Japanese tour.
Despite releasing a very solid record in "Choo Choo..." the band members go their separate ways again.
Stray Cats release a Japan-only CD of cover versions of some of their favorite songs. It's called, "Original Cool". It was recorded at Virgin Convent Studios in Los Angeles in early 1993. The CD was eventually released in the U.K. in 1996 but remains unreleased anywhere else in the world. The Japan issue is on Toshiba EMI Limited.
1994 – 1997
No music-related activities regarding Stray Cats occurred from 1994-1997.
Stray Cats reunite to play a benefit concert for the Carl Perkins Center For The Prevention of Child Abuse at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, CA.
No music-related activities regarding Stray Cats occurred during 1999.
Brian, Jim and Lee play 4 songs together during a Christmas party at Brian's home.
2001 – 2002
No music-related activities regarding Stray Cats occurred from 2001 - 2002.
The band reforms for a one off show at the 2003 Hootenanny Festival in Fullerton, CA.
05 July - 30 July
Stray Cats reunite once again and play a 17 show sold-out tour of Europe.
The Cats go into the studio (Liberty Recorders, Los Angeles) to record a new song called "Mystery Train Kept a Rollin" for inclusion on an upcoming CD/DVD release. The session is the first one that the band has done together in 10 years.
Surfdog Records releases 15 CDs recorded live (straight off the board) during the Cats' European tour. The CDs are available all over the world and are called "Live From Europe" with the specific venue and city printed on the packaging.
"Rumble in Brixton" is released throughout the world on Surfdog Records. It's out on both DVD and CD. It's a live recording taped on 17 July at the Brixton Academy in London. It includes the new track recorded on 19 August.
2005 – 2006
No music-related activities regarding Stray Cats occurred from 2005 - 2006.
15 April - An announcement is made that Stray Cats will be reuniting for a U.S. summer tour. The band played with ZZ Top and The Pretenders on a tour associated with JACK-FM, a U.S. radio conglomeration.
19 July - Stray Cats begin a 28 city-tour of the U.S. in Chicago at Toyota Park. The Cats played primarily with Z.Z. Top and the Pretenders throughout the tour, but some shows included R.E.O. Speedwagon on the bill. Tonight's show also featured Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. This was the only show of the tour to feature Jett.
26 August - The Cats' first U.S. tour in 15 years wraps up at the Clark County Amphitheatre in Ridgefield, Washington. The tour is a massive success and the band have more fun onstage (and off) than they've had since the late 1980s. Brian Setzer calls the tour, "My favorite Stray Cats' tour...EVER!!"
Brian Setzer announces the Stray Cats Farewell Tour. The tour is to start in Spain in mid-August of this year.