When you think about rockabilly scenes and where the music is located, people most often think of Southern California, Austin, parts of Tennessee, and England. In the years I've spent reading, researching, and getting to know this music I've found small pockets everywhere you can imagine. From Seattle, to Rhode Island, and Brazil, we rockabillies exist to some degree. Even though Atlanta is a Southern city we're better known for being "the Dirty South" and for hip-hop artists. I plan to take a minute to tell you about our scene - a scene that may not be as huge as SoCal, but it's full of incredible people who have dedicated their lives to entertaining the rest of us.
It seems our scene will come and go in waves. Our scene is ever-changing and evolving. Not many moons ago you would find local clubs filled to the brim with bands from the redneck underground. Truckadelic, Hillbilly Frankenstein, Slim Chance, Blacktop Rockets, and Redneck Greece owned the Atlanta stages and hardly a weekend went by without one of these bands hitting the stage. Some of these bands have faded (Frankenstein), reformed (Truckadelic is more-or-less Ghost Riders Car Club), or they've stood the test of time (I don't think Blacktop or Slim will ever go away, if they have anything to say about it).
This is not to say our scene hasn't added more bands. Almost every week I hear of a -billy band I've never heard of before in the metro area. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't take the time to catch Sonoramic Commando, the Psycho DeVilles, or Willie Heath Neal & The Damned Old Opry when they're playing around town. What I am curious about is where the hell all these people come from when Reverend Horton Heat comes to town. Why aren't you slackers coming to support the bands who play for almost peanuts and put on just as good a show? That's neither here nor there...
We've also got our fair share of big events around town. Anything from Drive Invasion (music, hot rods, and pinups at our local drive-in), to Cash Bash (Johnny Cash tribute night), or Hollyfest (a Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens tribute night), and Bubbapalooza (a yearly event started several years pulling in fantastic regional acts). Not to mention all the mini-fests that get -billy bands involved (Monster Bash, Horrorfest...)
I'm proud of what we have in Atlanta. As a promoter, it can sometimes be difficult to find bands able to fill up a bill when some of the guys are already playing in bands you have booked! Do I wish we had a few more bands and clubs? Sure, but I think you can then run the risk of thinning out the scene and make it less palatable. Who knows, but if you build on it the people will come. The next time you're in town, I want you to come check out our bands. And if you live in Atlanta and you find yourself saying there's never anything to do, then you need a fresh cup of "Wake the f*ck up" and bring your ass out to see your hometown heroes in action!