Rockabilly is a fairly new genre for me. Rockabilly has been around since the 50’s. It has taken shape in the forms of Brain Setzer, The Guana Batz, and Social Distortion. So What is Rockabilly? Rockabilly is a cross between African American blues and R&B mixed with British-American country music. One might be turned off by the definition, but it is high-energy music that keeps the crowd moving. One British Rockabilly band that is making a comeback this year is the Guana Batz.
The Guana Batz formed in 1983 in Feltham, England. The band continued to perform live until 1990 when they broke up. They went through several different bass players and drummers in their history and members even moved to Southern California from their home country England. I caught up with the front man of the group, Pip Hancox, to get the lowdown on a new album, touring (new tour dates just announced!) , the new drummer and the music industry.
What influenced you and other band members to relocate to Southern California from the UK?
Well, I moved here in 92 to marry my wife who is from Vista, California. Jonny, my long time bass player, moved here a few years later and also married a Californian. Never looked back!!
What lead the Guana Batz to find a new drummer?
We started to get offered more and more US shows but our drummer in the UK wasn’t able to come out as frequently as we needed him to so we found a replacement for the shows over here. John Buck still continues to play our European shows with us though.
Tell me a little bit about your new drummer.
Alex Pappas, our US drummer, hails from Temecula and was the original drummer for the band “Finch”. He’s an awesome drummer and learned our set real quick in time for the Wiltern Theatre show we had coming up. He fits the band really well.
What is your favorite part of being in the Guana Batz?
Definitely being on stage. I’m not too fond of the traveling anymore and have never really been into recording, but love playing live.
Are we going to hear new material from the Guana Batz? A National or local tour?
We’re currently recording our new album, the first in 11 years, and plan to do some US touring to promote it. In the meantime we will continue to do Southern California and European shows.
Favorite venue to play while out on the road?
Probably the Speedfreaks Ball in the UK. I get to catch up with lots of old friends and fans of the band.
How did you get involved in the MusicInk Festival with Kat Von D?
I guess our style of music and heavily tattooed appearance fits the whole feel of the festival. It should be a lot of fun!
Who are your musical influences?
I would have to say Eddie Cochran has always been my main influence as I grew up listening to 50s music that my mum handed down to me.
Some of your favorite bands out there today?
I really don’t listen to much music these days but always impressed the Foo Fighter’s song writing and sound. A bit of a generic answer, I know!!
In all your years in music, how have you seen the music industry change?
I’ve definitely seen a change in the whole record contract area.
It used to be that if you weren’t signed, you had no chance. Now with the help of the internet, a band can really do a good job of promoting themselves and actually making money from recording without the “middle man” record label.
I have to ask….
If you own an mp3 player which do you own?
Just got my first I pod and love it!
Do you own a Mac computer or a PC?
PC, I use my laptop at Starbucks each morning to take care of all the bands Myspace stuff. A full time job!
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