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Stray Cats


Brian Setzer *10.04.1959
Lee Rocker (Leon Drucker) *03.08.1961
Slim Jim Phantom (Jim McDonnell) *20.03.1961

  “Rockabilly was more than the blues.
It had style. It had an outfit you could wear with it
and a haircut and a dance you could do.
It's flamboyant, tough and colourful.
All the elements were right for us to fall in love with.”
  — Brian Setzer —

The Stray Cats, schoolmates from New York City, are the most popular and the best-known revival band in the world. They were young, lovable hoodlums offering carefree fun, singing about teenage frustrations and release, playing intensely, and goofing off, too, riding the bass and playing shirtless to show their skin and their tattoos. As befitted the recessionary times, the Stray Cats were simple: their stage setup was one amplifier and two drums (using wireless technology, the bass went straight into the PA system). Despite their youth, they were polished, professional, and steeped in 1950s music, favoring the harder side: Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and the Rock'n'Roll Trio. Their stated goal was to bring recognition for rockabilly as British bands such as the Rolling Stones had for blues in the 1960s.

  • Rocker and Phantom had been a team since they were thirteen

  • Summer 1979 Long Island town of Massapeaqua, NY, they have founded the Stray Cats together with their schoolfriend Brian Setzer

  • 19th June 1980 the Stray Cats moved to London. After scuffling and sleeping in parks, they found acclaim. Their music was approved by Jeff Beck, Robert Plant and the Rolling Stones, and a recording contract came within three months. Dave Edmunds produced their recordings.

  • 1st Single: Runaway Boys (No.9 in the UK charts)

  • Breakthrough with “Rock this town” (No.9 in the UK charts)

  • From 1982 they toured Europe and Japan and opened dates on the Rolling Stones 1982 U.S. tour.

  • 1982 The Stray Cats' second album, Gonna Ball, recorded in the West Indies, was mostly self-produced.

  • Summer 1982 their first North American album, Built for Speed, was released. Aside from including the newly redorded title track, it was compiled from tracks off both U.K. albums. An U.S. tour was following (04.July 82 - 16.Sept. 82).

  • 1982 With their videos on MTV and a fifty-five city tour, sales steadily continued, and 'Rock This Town' and 'Stray Cat Strut' both made the American top ten. The media gave them lots of coverage, including the covers of Rolling Stone, New Musical Express and Guitar Player.

  • 1983 their 1.Album was allready soled about 3,5 Mio

  • August 1983 the release of their next album 'Ran't and Rave'

  • the songs 'Stray Cat Strut' and 'Sexy + 17' hit the charts

  • 1984 the band splintered. Setzer went for a solo carrer, exploring songwriting on an album. Phantom and Rocker teamed with Earl Slick (Guitarplayer of David Bowie). Phantom played a full drum kit and Rocker played electric bass.

  • 1986 the Stray Cats got back together and put out the album Rock Therapy.

  • 1987 The Stray Cats did an U.S. tour.

  • 1988 Reunion

  • 1989 The Stray Cats reiterated their rockabilly stance with the self-produced Blast Off
  • , singing about the music in 'Gene and Eddie' and 'Rockabilly Rules'.

  • 1992 they were touring again in the United Kingdom and released ChooChoo Hot Fish, with Dave Edmunds
  • again as producer.

  • 05th July 2003 the Stray Cats are back - for one night only
    the first joint concert since 10 years
    Hootenanny, Californien

  • July 2004 the cats are back again - Stray Cats Europe Tour

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