“Psycho-Boogie” EP

Welcome to “The Psycho-Boogie Sounds of the Modern Throwbacks”
Produced by Billy ‘The Jack’

Arrow Clamons: guitar
Jennie Olson: bass
Billy ‘The Jack’: vocals, drums, left-side guitar on “Shake It Baby Boogie”

1. Get Out of My Way (writtten by Billy ‘The Jack’ c.2010)
2. Four Gets Boogie
3. I Don’t Wanna Die
4. Only All Just a Little Bit of Rock and Roll
5. Back Seat Baby
6. Shake It Baby Boogie (written by Diablo Dimes c.2012 Viva Marquee Music)


An ‘Alternative’ to the Band Bio

As chief creator and leader of the Modern Throwbacks, I’ve been tasked with writing a promotional bio to help build up our presence. Some people say I am a pretty decent writer (I don’t think so, myself, but Diablo Dimes asked me to write a promotional paragraph for his “Villians” album, which I had produced [Villains’ Promo Blurb at Bottom of Page]. He was very happy with the results) but as a humble man (honestly!) I’ve so far found it very difficult to write about my own band.

I’ve read so many bio’s with lofty words, definitions and clinches—essays that rarely conveyed an accurate accounting after I had listened. And every time I got on a writing roll, I’d stumble across another professional wind-breaker, compare theirs to mine, and hold my head in shame for what I had so badly written. Since I can’t seem to sell the Modern Throwbacks like those other promotional efforts,  I tried this opposite approach (yes, it’s probably been done to death!) and I was at least not embarrassed, if not amused. Enjoy:

BILLY ‘THE JACK’ AND THE MODERN THROWBACKS play uninspired music with insipid lyrics that say nothing relevant — or even interesting. Their music sounds like a mish-mashed mess of jump blues, boogie woogie, amped up riff-raff guitars, rockabilly… and disco (?!?!?!?!).

Billy ‘The Jack’ is about the worst — and ugliest — singer on any stage. With unkempt greasy hair and a scraggly beard, he prances ungainly about in an outdated suit spewing just awful one-liners masquerading as lyrics, mostly about how great he is (not!).

Arrow Clamons is a hulking giant who must have failed every other guitar audition — otherwise he’d be in a much better band! Like a typical lead ripper, he’s often in his own world (which is why it’s so difficult to get a decent photo of him).

T. M. Horra pounds on a flat-black double-bass drum kit like some reject from a bad Eighties-horror rock band. He has as much flair for dynamics as a sober pirate does.

There are many unknowable mysteries in this Universe, so it’s impossible to answer just how in Hell’s Holy Name did they get that hot bassist, Jennie Olson?

That was fun, actually.


Notes About the Modern Throwbacks Debut Series of Live Shows

Well, O Mother-humping WELL!

Four Shows!

Four live shows with the Modern Throwbacks — three of them rockin’ (and one of those out of town), and one of them not so hot.

I had originally wanted to post a diary for each show, but I got sidetracked and so I will give you the basics about the first three shows and a little more about the fourth.

We blew the house down at our first, even bringing people in off the mean streets of Midway Saint Paul.

The second had a few fits and starts, but that club wants us back too, for we wowed the people even as we didn’t wow ourselves.

The third at the Eagle in Saint Paul was the best time I had in quite a while.

And while the Soup-Town show rocked, I lost the Modern Throwback Rat Rod to a bad transmission with the rest of the band hitching a ride back home (which I whole-heartily supported). The Rat Rod did get me back (barely!) to Minneapolis with the final smokey hiccup of the battered engine and last squealing whine of the transmission killing the Rat Rod for good at my front door (three hours there, seven hours back). But it was all worth the ride for we met a lot of awesome people along the way. The week prior to going, our awesome young drummer had some issues that needed tending to. So Tom Mundahl jumped right in and saved the day, bashing the big band boom so’s I could make a fool out of myself.

I wanna talk a bit about the rock and roll lifestyle. I ain’t had a romp with any groupies and I usually go straight to sleep after playing. So much for the fantasy! Reality is so much better!

Okay.

Alright.

Our next show is July 31 (even though we may book some between then and now). We’ll be working on some new material in the meantime instead of playing the same songs I wrote so long ago. I think these will be much more rockin’!

That is All.


And the Modern Throwbacks Play What Genre?

We get asked all the time: “What kind of music do you play?” It ain’t so easy to tell them, when we take so many small pieces of so many types of music and just mix it together as we see fit.

So… what genre?

If you really need to fit Billy ‘THE JACK’ and the MODERN THROWBACKS into a specific genre, “psychobilly” might do the trick, for we like it loud, hard and swingin’ — but we don’t sing songs about death and horror-movies (even though our drummer T. M. HORRA likes that zombie stuff). “Rockabilly” works too, because we like to sing about good times, girls and fast cars — but JENNIE “THE CLEANER” plays boogie bass riffs on her amped up electric instead of the usual ‘Americana’ accoustic. You could call us “Southern Rock” I guess, because we ain’t quite as fast and hard as psychobilly — but ARROW ain’t too fond of guitar twang; he’d rather make his guitar scream instead. “Hard rock” fits a bit because BILLY ‘THE JACK’ has a strong (and sometimes harsh) voice — and his hair is long and ratty– but he seldom sings angry songs, and he likes to wear sharp, vintage suits.

The point is, none of us can quite pin down any specific “genre” to pigeon-hole Billy ‘THE JACK’ and the MODERN THROWBACKS into. Billy ‘THE JACK’ likes to use “Hard Rockabilly Boogie Core” because instead of fighting a genre war within himself when he first formed the Modern Throwbacks, he just took those elements of Rockabilly, Old Rhythm and Blues, Punk, Metal and Disco — the swingin’ rhythms, Motown flavored bass lines, amped up guitar riffs and stylistic syncopation — and melded them together into one unified sound, which has received high praise from both mainstream and underground music fans from 9 to 90 years-old.

Billy ‘THE JACK’ and the MODERN THROWBACKS have been performing for just about a year now. We’ve shared stages with soft acoustic acts, classic rockabilly and surf bands, hard rock cover bands, punk bands, metal bands — and even an industrial band or two. Not once have we ever felt out of place with any of them, and a majority of those bands’ fans have all had a rockin’ good time with Billy ‘THE JACK’ and the MODERN THROWBACKS.


The Genesis of the Modern Throwback Sound

I started this project after years of playing angry, aggressive music: All Flesh, Indoctri-Nation, Hostages and Ed Gien Fan Club.

Besides the metal and punk music of my youth, my musical tastes have broadened significantly over time. I’ve rediscovered old country from when I grew up, and in doing so I found a lot of old great rockabilly too. My musical tastes run the gamut from the old stuff to early heavy metal to disco and funk, punk, metal, industrial — almost anything with rhythm and energy.

I worked for a Burlesque show a few years back, and the pre-show music they played had been that pretentious hipster jazz stuff — which is fine for convincing morons that you’re hip and with it, but which didn’t set any kind of carnal, carnival mood. So I introduced them to that great old rhythm and blues from the thirties and forties” — not the Duke Ellington type but more of the jump blues and boogie woogie, like Wynonie Harris. And now, my current love is that shouted jump blues boogie-woogie rhythm and blues.

Inspired by the burly-q, I tried my hand at some big-band type stuff, but I couldn’t sing it well enough and never followed through. I then tried some soul, disco and funk combinations. The music was fantastic (much better than the big-band!) but I had trouble writing sexy lyrics or even figuring out any themes for the songs. Supreme Frustration! After giving up the hard-stuff, I had struggled for years to find a great musical project to put me back on the stage, while playing supporting roles in a few other bands.

Since I can’t sing nor play any instrument that well, punk rock still appeals to me in a big way. But all that anger and frustration kinda gets on my nerves. As I’ve gotten older, it seems rather pointless. I realized that reviving any of my old projects seemed more a desperation move.

Out of pure chance, I had written a few guitar riffs for a potential Hostages song, a super-fast boogie woogie blues-based rockin’ number. But the other guys said it was too fast (!?!?!?!), and it was discarded. That riff was stewing around in my brain, and I got the idea to make a demo with that hard-rock guitar riff, using a rockabilly swing rhythm section. And I was floored with the results! I knew I was getting somewhere…, but something was missing.

So again my hind-brain was churning, and it burped out that, instead of concentrating on one style, I should just incorporate all of the styles I love into one unified soumd. I took one of the soul songs, adapted it to the same instrumentation as that non-Hostages song, and recorded a second song to go with the first. I played them side by side and was pleased with the results. (Actually, exited is so much more apt to describe this new pulse flowing through my sordid veins as I contemplated this new thang.)

So I took a bunch of old standalone riffs I had written long ago, wrote some new riffs too and reworked a couple old songs of mine into a 10 track album with elements of punk, funk, rockabilly, jump blues, country, disco and heavy metal. Hence, a rock and roll record.

While reading an article by Terance O. Moore, I stumbled upon this little paragraph:

“Allan Bloom famously identified rock-and-roll as the music of sexual intercourse. It was no accident that the progenitor of the rock-and-roll revolution was nicknamed “the Pelvis.” Equally basic, but fundamentally different, are the passions enlisted by modern rock without the roll, that is, heavy metal. It is certainly not the music of intercourse, at least not of the consensual variety, since girls and women generally hate it. And with good reason: It is impossible to dance to.” “Wimps and Barbarians”

In my travels with the Hostages, I came to realize that very few women came to our shows — and afterward, I always went home alone. When you’re older and single, life can be pretty brutal — and the obvious became painful. I would rather play in front of lots of girls (a healthy male of any age that is also honest with himself, realizes that ‘women’ is why we do everything – you cannot deny it!) than at a punk rock sausage party, and it got me thinking…. When do you see girls at a rock show? If a band is popular, sure. But locally? The band has to be fun; Robert Hazzard was so correct when he penned that song for Cyndi Lauper: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.

It was a conscious decision to not be negative in my solo project. Don’t browbeat the audience or cause their ears to bleed, give them a good beat that everyone can dance to, show them a good time. And most importantly, give them something to relate to.

I love the older rock and roll musical forms, but I find the nostalgia — the whole ‘vintage’ thing a bit tiring. How can you move forward by looking only backward? There’s nothing wrong with taking elements of vintage music into our works– we all do it! — but being trapped in a specific time period is something I find distasteful. I am a modern man — as well as being a throwback, which is where I got the name of this band.

So there you have it. My musical and philosophical journey as I put the finishing touches on the unnamed record, as I prepare to bring the Modern Throwbacks to the local stage.

Related Links:

“Bringin It Back” ~ the Recording that Started it All