Stray Cats

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About Stray Cats

Punk signaled a return to early rock ‘n’ roll fundamentals in the mid-’70s, and no group took that mission to heart quite like the Stray Cats. Formed in Long Island in 1979, the trio of singer/guitarist Brian Setzer, bassist Lee Rocker, and drummer Slim Jim Phantom bypassed the pogo pit and went straight for the sock hop, fashioning a wild rockabilly-inspired sound (with the pompadours and stand-up bass to match) that connected the dots between Carl Perkins and The Clash. With ‘50s Teddy-boy culture making a comeback in England, the Cats relocated overseas and became instant UK sensations by dropping two albums in 1981 that reasserted old-school style and attitude in the era of peak New Wave. A year later, those releases were distilled into the Cats’ U.S. debut, Built for Speed, which rocketed to No. 2 on the charts on the strength of its signature rave-up “Rock This Town” and the band’s snap-along theme song “Stray Cat Strut.” The Cats never again scaled those commercial heights before burning out in 1986, but periodic reunions over the years have only reinforced the timelessness of their sound.

Massapequa, NY, United States
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