Stray Cats 10/17/18

In celebration of their 40th anniversary, the Stray Cats — Brian SetzerSlim Jim Phantom, and Lee Rocker — will reunite in Nashville to record their band’s first new album in 25 years, and head out on tour in 2019. No shows have been announced yet for next year’s trek, nor a release date for the new studio album. The last Stray Cats album was was 1992’s, Choo Choo Hot Fish.

This past summer, the rockabilly trio joined forces for their first North American shows in 10 years, with four sold-out headlining concerts. Frontman and guitarist Brian Setzer said in a statement announcing the upcoming sessions, “40 years ago, us three teenagers started a little band to play a musical style that had long since passed, and most folks had never heard of, this rockabilly music. 40 years later we stand together and still get that same thrill and exhilaration from the music. That feeling is what makes the fireworks go off and the sparks fly. It makes the world go around.”

Drummer Slim Jim Phantom added: “Making a new Stray Cats album for 2019 in Nashville seems like the exact right thing, right time, right place, and right band for the gig! We have an album’s worth of new songs that are classic rockabilly while keeping the music and style current and fresh, like always. In other words. . . A Stray Cats album.”

Lee Rocker went on to say, “They say history repeats itself and I now know that’s true. 40 years after Brian, Jim, and I formed the Stray Cats, we are back! I’m so excited to be in the studio with my brothers. I can tell you that this will be the best Stray Cats album we have ever made. The time is right, the songs are great and we’re ready to rock.”

Although Brian Setzer has gone to solo acclaim with his Brian Setzer Orchestra and sold out live tours, the Stray Cats have stated an infrequent — but still ongoing — concern since the group’s first split in 1984. Lee Rocker shed light on how he views the Stray Cats: [“There’s no big animosity or problems between us. We all just wanted to branch out and do some different things. That was the band that we were in since we were teenagers. We probably started that band when I was about 16-years-old — our first record came out when I was 17. And, maybe, it’s sort of like your high school girlfriend. I mean, how many of us are still with her, y’know?”] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC. . . . with her, y’know)

Brian Setzer says that although he’s been credited for pumping new life into the rockabilly, big band, and swing genres — that’s never been his intent: [“Y’know, I just do really what I like to do. I don’t really think about reviving musical styles. I love the sounds of music that come from the blues. I love jazz, I love country, swing, rock n’ roll, rockabilly. To me, it all comes from the blues, and my way of thinking is there’s no way you can’t take all these kinds of music and blend them together, which is kind of how I always thought. And I never consciously thought of blending them, it just sort of happens in my head and it comes out of my hands that way.”] SOUNDCUE (:27 OC: . . . hands that way)

The Brian Setzer Orchestra performs on November 16th at Minneapolis’ State Theatre.

SOURCE: Press release


  • The legendary Dave Edmunds produced he Stray Cats‘ 1981 self-titled debut album in the UK. The set featured three major UK hits — “Runaway Boys” (# 9), “Stray Cat Strut” (#11) and “Rock This Town” (# 9). All three songs were featured on the band’s U.S. debut — 1982’s Built For Speed.
  • Upon release in the States — and thanks to near saturation airplay on MTV — “Rock This Town” hit Number Nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and “Stray Cat Strut” went all the way to Number Three.
  • 1983’s Rant N Rave With The Stray Cats featured the band’s third and final Top 10 U.S. hit when “(She’s) Sexy + 17” peaked at Number Five.