Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Psychobilly: Genre of the Moment

I have not done one of these since May 2009. My friend Dave requested that I "resurrect" this column.

This installment is about the genre Pyschobilly (duh, as if you couldn't tell by the title of the post).

Psychobilly is a genre of rock music. It is a hybrid of punk rock and rockabilly.

One of the main characteristics of the genre is is lyrical content which ranges from sci-fi and horror to violence and sex.

The genre started in the 70s in England but became popular with the formation of The Cramps, who started in Sacramento, CA.

Some bands other than The Cramps that are considered psychobilly include:

The Creepshow
Devil's Brigade
Graveyard Shift
The Gun Club
Elvis Hitler
The Matadors
Mojo Nixon
Reverend Horton Heat (although I might disagree with them being part of this genre)
Switchblade Valentines
Tiger Army
The Young Werewolves

Essential albums of the genre include:
The Cramp's Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
Nekromantix's Curse of the Coffin (1991)
Tiger Army's Ghost Tigers Rise (2004)
Horrorpops' Kiss Kiss Kill Kill (2008)

Wikipedia has a really good article about the genre that you can read here.


  1. The Cramps used to swear up and down that they weren’t a psychobilly band. The first true psychobilly band is generally considered to be The Meteors.

    I was into psychobilly, or tried to get into it more accurately, for a few years. Most of the stuff is really hard to get, outside of the Reverend Horton Heat, Tiger Army, HorrorPops, and Nekromantix. More than anything I think that I liked the idea of psychobilly better than I liked psychobilly itself. Plus at the time I was a huge fan of The Staggers and I was looking for more stuff alone those lines and psychobilly was the clasest thing, but honestly none of the bands in the genre could hold a candle to The Staggers.

    Also I have to question the folks at Wikipedia for including Mojo Nixon in their list of psychobilly artists. Mojo does NOT play psychobilly.

    I think that the best way to describe the genre is by saying “imagine the Misfits with a standup bass” and that is pretty much what you get.

    Great post by the way. I'm glad to see you bring this back. :o)

  2. Anonymous1:55 AM

    Oh come on! Don't promote mainstream modern music that happens to have an upright bassist.

    Ugh Tiger Army and the HORROR POPS? xD bahahahah

    The Meteors
    The Sharks
    The Radiacs
    Guana Batz
    Frantic Flinstones
    The Sting Rays

    That's some real Psychobilly.
    And FYI The Sharks started Psychobilly.