Stray Cats New Album 3/8/19

In celebration of their 40th anniversary, the Stray Cats — guitarist Brian Setzer, bassist Lee Rocker, and drummer Slim Jim Phantom — will release their first new album in over 25 years, titled 40 on May 24th. After spending June and July touring throughout Europe, the band will kicks off a nine-date U.S. run beginning on August 3rd in Atlantic City and wrapping on August 31st in San Diego.

In the press release for the new album, each of the Stray Cats spoke about the band four decades on:

Brian Setzer“You have to understand how unique the Stray Cats are. It’s me playing an old hollow body guitar, Slim Jim playing two or three drums, and Lee Rocker slapping a stand-up acoustic bass. I get to write new songs and then play them with my buddies. Somehow we created a new and exciting sound with this simple idea. And you know what? A lot of people agree!”

Lee Rocker“This new album really feels like the first record we did, it’s really natural and comfortable. For the recording, we went live — like doing a gig, we recorded in a real, organic way. We were all in one room standing next to each other recording live, with the amps turned up to 10, it captured the undefinable things that happen when a band is great, it captured the magic that takes place and an undefined spark.”

Slim Jim Phantom“We’re very, very focused when we get into the studio, it didn’t feel like a long time had passed since we had done this, it felt very natural and familiar. We were all in a row with everyone watching each other, so it felt like a gig in the set-up. We really embraced that a little bit for the album, it’s like an old way of making records. The modern is meeting the vintage, which has always been our inspiration.”

The fact that rockabilly even exists today can be attributed in large part to the work of Brian Setzer pver the years — both with and without the Stray Cats. A whole back, he shed light on what the allure of rockabilly was for him: [“Rockabilly to me is just that wild abandonment of it that just thrills me, y’know? There’s a lot of punk stuff that has that wild abandonment, too — and there’s a lot of things that music had to say. But the rockabilly thing to me had more of an art to playing the actual guitar, whereas the punk thing was just kind of a thrash-out chords. The rockabilly thing; those players came from really knowing how to play from country roots to blues roots, and it had more of a musician quality to it.”] SOUNDCUE(:24 OC: . . . quality to it)

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)

The tracklisting to The Stray Cats’ 40 is:

“Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me)”
“Rock It Off”
“I’ve Got Love If You Want It”
“Cry Danger”
“I Attract Trouble”
“Three Time’s A Charm”
“That’s Messed Up”
“When Nothing’s Going Right”
“Mean Pickin’ Mama”
“I’ll Be Looking Out For You”
“Devil Train”

JUST ANNOUNCED: The Stray Cats tour dates (subject to change):

June 21 – Vitoria, Spain – Azkena Rock Festival
June 23 – Birmingham, England – Birmingham O2Academy
June 25 – Manchester, England – Manchester O2 Apollo
June 26, 27 – London, England – London Eventim Apollo
June 29 – Tilloloy, France – Retro C Trop
July 1 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – AFAS Live
July 3 – Berlin, Germany – Columbiahalle
July 4 – Cologne, Germany – Palladium
July 6 – Tours, France – American Tours Festival
July 7 – Belfort, France – Les Eurockeennes
July 9 – Stuttgart, Germany – Killesberg
July 11 – Munich, Germany – Zenith
July 13 – Aix-Les-Bains, France – Musilac Festival
July 18 – Pori, Finland – Pori Jazz Festival
July 20 – Falun, Sweden – Summer Jamboree-Falun
August 3 – Atlantic City, NJ – Ocean Resort Casino-Ovation Hall
August 6 – New York, NY – Pier 17 at South Street Seaport
August 13 – Vienna, VA – Wolf Trap
August 14 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center
August 15 – Grand Rapids, MI – Meijer Garden
August 18 – Welch, MN – Treasure – Island Casino
August 26 – Salt Lake City, UT – Red Butte Garden
August 28 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
August 31 – San Diego, CA – Humphrey’s

SOURCE: Press release


  • The legendary Dave Edmunds produced the 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.