Rockabilly Bash. When did you first realise that such kind of music as rockabilly exists?
Jerry Chatabox. When I was 14 years old. I heard Donít Be Cruel on the radio, and thought it sounded like it was recorded in someoneís bathroom... it had a very raw sound compared to the pop music of the 70ís... I had to find out more...
RB. How did you come up with the idea to organize Rockabilly Festival? Couldnít you find something else to spend money on?
JC. I have been a rockabilly DJ for 30 years, one of the very few to make a living by working with the music I love. Of course this meant I nearly starved to death as rockabilly has always been an underground scene! The festivals have just been a natural progression after being in the scene for so long.
RB. How did the first Rockabilly Rave look like?
JC. It started very small and lost money all the time! But it was the best pure rockabilly festival in the world, even back then, and I never gave up with it. I believe it grew because it was run by someone in the scene who believed in the music... not just an outsider who wants to make money. There is a big difference.
RB. Would you regard yourself as one of the most popular persons nowadays in rockíníroll scene? Or you know somebody who is more popular than you?
JC. I never really think about it like that! Each person in the scene is just as important as any other. I believe we are all the same. A musician, a DJ, a guy drinking at the bar, a girl that writes on internet Rockabilly Bash site... you need all of them to make a scene!!!
RB. How are you choosing bands for your party? Are you choosing them from your circle of friends, your family or friends of friendsí and family? Or do you have some other scheme?
JC. At the Rockabilly Rave we can Ďcherry pickí the very best bands from around the world. It does not matter where they come from, or how much it costs to get them there... if they are the best, they will appear at the Rave!
RB. What I do like about your festival, that it becomes better and better every year. So you can clearly see improvements. Are you finding yourself those not that perfect sides to make Rave more perfect? Or it is just people who are complaining, so this is the way you are trying to calm them down?
JC. We always try and add more things to the show, to make it more exciting and fun and great value for money. Iím glad you enjoy the improvements! Just because we are the biggest pure rockabilly show, does not mean that we sit back and relax... we always listen to people, especially positive and passionate people like ourselves, and always work hard to get details right.
RB. How many people are coming to the Rave every year?
JC. The site holds over 3000 people and we have sold out for the last three years... but in the early days we had 300 people...!!!
RB. Do you think these are the same crowds, who are coming to Rye every year, or faces are constantly changing?
JC. Obviously we do get a lot of Rave regulars. For many it is the Mecca of Rockabilly, and they visit it like a shrine! But we also are starting to attract new, younger rockiní fans, who have heard about this famous festival and want to come and check it out. And we attract rockin fans from all over the world, it is an incredible mix of people, but all with a common passion.
RB. Do you know anyone who has visited every Rockabilly Rave since it startedÖ Besides yourself and Wildfire WillieÖ
JC. Probably only people with very strong livers.....!!!
RB. What was the band from the most unusual country who performed at your festival? How did it happen you invited them?
JC. I DJíd in Russia many years ago, when they just had a tiny underground scene and brought over the first Russian rockabilly band to the UK... in return they taught us how to drink Vodka properly and I donít think my brain ever fully recovered....!
RB. You never have burlesque shows during the festivalÖ why? You donít like how women get undressed?
JC. Well I do like women to get undressed... probably a bit too much as my two ex wives will tell you....!!! But the Rockabilly Rave is a rockabilly music show. Burlesque is nothing to do with authentic rockabilly... You would not have seen Carl Perkins at the Lousiana Hayride and then had a Burlesque girl getting up on stage. It just didnít happen. There is nothing wrong with Burlesque, and there are some great shows and performers and we work with them at Sin City,in London, which combines modern rockin acts with modern Burlesque artistes in a theatre setting, and that seems to work very well.
RB. What is so special that you have at Rockabilly Rave that other rockíníroll festivals donít?
JC. One of the things that has become very special about the Rave, is the way it has helped put new acts in front of a huge worldwide audience. Many relatively unknown young bands appear and are then signed by small record labels, pick up distribution deals and appear all around the world, after their first Rave appearance! Great bands such as The Mad Men, The Mean Devils, The Bellfuries, The Montgomery Music Makers and many many more, all started their big festival appearances with the Rave. People know we only book the best talent... so they check out the unknown bands that we select.
RB. What is the difference between Rhythm Riot and Rockabilly Rave? Which party do you like more and why?
JC. The Rhythm Riot is the R'n'B version of the Rave. If you like roots Rock n Roll, and early RnB, then the Riot will be like heaven for you. If you like Rockabilly then there is no better place to hear it than at the Rave. I like them both... but rockabilly is my passion.
RB. Tell us about Rockabilly Rave in USAÖ Why did you decide to double the festival in other country? Why didnít you choose another name?
JC. America is very interesting because their scene is completely different to the European scene. There is not an authentic rockabilly show in the USA, so thatís why we took the Rockabilly Rave out there. Tom Ingramís massive VLV event caters for all tastes, from punk rock to modern rock n roll... but only a small part of it concerns authentic rockabilly. So we went out with the Rockabilly Rave show as there is no doubt what the Rave is about!!! We had a great first show last year and were thrilled to meet many new friends and true rockabilly fans.
RB. For how long do you know Tom Ingram? What do you expect from this co-operation?
JC. Tom and I started as DJs in London in the 1970ís! So we were there at the start of the rockin revival as itís now called. We have both worked on more shows than we can remember! Between us we have worked with all the greats and all of our heroes. It was fun working with him in the USA after all these years.
RB. Are you coming sometimes to other parties and festivals? At least to check how strong competition you have.
JC. Miss Mary Ann and I get to as many shows as we can! I always love to see other events as everybody does things differently. And I donít see them as competition... the more events there are, the healthier the scene is. If there are bad events, they wonít survive.
After the Rave this year, we are heading off to the A Bombers Show in Sweden, driving her 58 Suburban all the way! A week later we have the Hotrod Hayride in the UK which I organise with The Executioners Car Club. Straight after that we are at High Rockabilly in Spain, as Miss Mary Ann is singing there (we drove my í32 hotrod there from England, two years running...)! Then we fly to Vegas for the Rockabilly Rave USA and after that The Rockabilly Bash in Holland (!!!) and then home for The Rhythm Riot in November... We would have a relaxing Christmas, except weíll be getting ready for Sin City London in January!!!
RB. Will you come to Rockabilly Bash in November? If you are in the mood, you can dj and also bring your dvdís along? :)
JC. Thank you for your invitation... You are a very cheeky girl... but we like that!!!
RB. Talking about your dvdís. Who gave you that brilliant idea to finally make an official dvd? Who is the producer and other working stuff on it?
JC. This is the second DVD that we have made. The first was a very professional film company that did a great job on, ĎThe Clothes the Cars and the Musicí. But for the next film I wanted a young film maker from within the scene. We struck gold with Chris Magee, from Bopflix. We arranged everything and filmed and edited the whole thing in twelve months. There is a lot of work that goes into making something this good. But it is selling all around the world, and we feel it is a great advert for our scene!
RB. Why Rockabilly Rave doesnít have its Myspace profile? Seems like everyone has, except you?
JC. Do you have time to run that for me??? I think MySpace certainly helps keep rockin folk in touch and if there were 48 hours in every day I would be on there...! We have a very busy office here with me and Anya working full time... but I guess we now need more staff! Any volunteers?!
RB. Do you have some global plans for the future? You are working hard for all rockabillies (on your parties people are having fun, enjoying the music and coming to meet each other), do you still have time to make them even more happy?
JC. The very best part of my job, is when people say how happy an event made them. A couple wrote to me and told me that the Rave was like oxygen to them. I thought that was lovely. It is also how true rockin fans feel. I was very touched.
I always have more plans and I never stop working on getting the rockabilly message out there. And anyway, what else could I do? Rockabilly is my life.