American Psychobilly, Hayride To Hell, interview, music, music interview, Psychobilly, rockabilly

Hayride To Hell

Hayride to Hell is an American Psychobilly Band. Come of think of it I saw them once at Sam’s Burger Joint and there’s nothing like a good Psychobilly show. Here’s the full interview with guitar play and singer John Long.If you’ve never experienced Psychobilly I would highly recommend this great American band as a start or for even more experienced Psycho’s as well.

BBM: Give our readers some history on the band:
We’ve been at it since 1993 and started as a slightly different incarnation.  We still hadn’t quite found our sound and half of our set was covers then.  When we found that another band from Chicago had already been using the same name, we decided a name change was in order.  We made the name change at the same time as a slight lineup change as well as a full set of our own material with a heavier sound.  The first year was more Neo-Rockabilly as played by amateur idiots and Hayride to Hell become more Psychobilly blasted by lunatics.

BBM: How did you come up with the band name?
Our original vocalist/bass player Craig Hart and I came up with the name.  Obviously the “Hell” is Psychobilly driven but the “Hayride” portion I think was inspired by our trip to Tennessee back then.  Craig and I had a riotous good time and met some really cool people but I’m not sure they knew what to make of us in 1994.  The sight of two guys with quiffs and huge overalls in Docs roaming Nashville and Memphis was little out of place.  The guide at the Jack Daniel’s distillery called us “Crazy Californee Farmers.”  Anyway, we started formulating during and shortly after that trip.

BBM: Three words that describe the band?
Loud, Drunk, Stupid…

BBM: If you could please tell us how you discovered the genre of Psychobilly?
For Craig and I, we were riding with a group of Rockers in Santa Cruz, CA.  One of our brothers made a trip to England for cafe bike parts and came back with some early Psychobilly albums.  It was pretty much The Meteors first and many things followed.  This was probably the later eighties.  I’m pretty sure our drummer Joey stumbled on it from the same source or someone else in our scene at the time.  Joey had been in Rockabilly bands for years already and might have stumbled on it elsewhere.  Mal was a crazy Canadian for a lot of his life and I’m sure he discovered it when living in Edmonton.  There’s also a lot of us Psychos from around the world that would meet up at weekenders after getting acquainted on the original psychobilly message boards.  For me, it was the ultimate music.  I’d always liked the extreme edge of rock as a kid and went on to punk but always dug on my dad and grandfather’s records, a lot of which was Rockabilly.

In 1994 Psychobilly was rare in the US what inspired you to start a band?
Exactly that, the fact that it was rare!  We had been listening to killer Psychobilly from the UK and Europe and wanted others to get to know it in the US.  The Quakes were either in London or back in New York at the time and all we had here was Terror Train from down south and the Hellbillies had just gotten going up the Bay.  We had Elmer’s Shotgun out of our home town Santa Cruz but they were falling by the wayside.  We figured we’d carry the torch.  I’d like to say we had a pretty big hand in developing a Nor Cal scene.

BBM: What are some of the bands influences?
The usual suspects.  Obviously horror although its gotten broader over the years.  There’s only so many songs about vampires, werewolves and serial killers we can do without getting redundant though.  Jack Daniel’s has influenced us over the years and that hasn’t changed though.  Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, Johnny Burnette Trio, Eddie Cochrane as well as early Elvis are in the mix too.  We’ve broadened the style over the years too and there’s elements of Rock, Metal, Ska and whatever else moves us along with the standard issue Rockabilly and Punk.  There’s some Misfits, Sabbath and Motorhead influence in there too although we’ve never covered and of their songs.

BBM: Funniest touring moment?
One of our stops was at a pretty well known Hollywood bar.  We had a door deal but as typical in Hollywood, almost everyone came through the door fashionably late and knew the door guy.  The place was packed.  They gave us $53 after the gig and told us that they wanted us back and the pay would be better next time if we do more promoting.  Now, we’ve all done our own street scene thing in our home town but how the hell can I promote a show 400 miles south of us when we pull into town at soundcheck time?  Oh well.  We went and loaded our gear out but took a bottle of their Jack with us along with a box of their t-shirts.  We drank the Jack that night and sold the Hollywood bar’s t-shirts at the next night’s gig in Orange County.  Justice!

There’s plenty more crazier stories but a lot of them involve me intoxicated.  There’s my ride into NYC from the NY Big Rumble in the trunk of a car and then riding on the hood of said rental car through Time’s Square but my band mates had to remind me of my antics afterward…

BBM: How would you say Psychobilly is different from when the band first started?
The earlier stuff was a little more raw and manic which I actually quite like.  We’re still that way but probably more because I’m not a technically gifted classically trained guitarist with the voice of an angel (cough cough).

I was seeing a lot of bands slapping as fast as possible with little to no Billy in there for a while.  Its not just the slapping and clicking of the bass that makes Psychobilly – its got to have at least some Rockabilly in there some where.  There are some newer bands that are capturing the earlier sound though which is encouraging.

BBM: How has the sound of the band changed since first forming?
I kind of eluded to it prior but we started as a raw trio and added to the sheer sonic value by adding a second guitarist.  Bill and I would trade solos and do complimentary rhythms Since Bill moved to Texas and started Concombre Zombi and Craig moved away for so many years, I felt I’d better step up and take all of the guitar and vocals on leaving space for their eminent return.  But, it looks like Bill’s never coming back from Texas.  Also, Craig is still not logistically close enough to do it full time with us anymore and has other things on his plate .  We’ve had all kinds of folks tell us that they like the current thing better than the prior and I’m sure that there’s plenty being too polite to tell us they like the prior better.  The thing is, we work with what we have at this point.  It seems to work and the reception has been great.

There’s also the obvious things like there’s only one guitar now.  Also, my voice is obviously different than Craig’s…

BBM: What are some words of wisdom you would give to a youth wanting to peruse a carrier in a Psychobilly band?
The number one biggest thing I can say is to learn your roots.  It’s still a subculture and probably always will be so you have to search to hear the different flavors of so many different bands from around the world.  Its not as hard as when I had to mail order records from Nervous or Raucous back in the day though.  The other thing I can so is to not try to be the fastest band right away.  Sure, it’s some pretty fast paced tempo stuff but always playing balls to the wall doesn’t justify it to me.

BBM: Has the sound changed at all since Mal joined the band?
Yes and no.  I’d like to say that the sound has evolved and broadened and it has.  On the other hand, we still rock out early stuff well as a trio.

BBM: If someone wanted to hear Hayride to Hell where could they pick the album up??
The first self titled album is available for download at Nervous Records UK.  Roy has gone all digital download.  The second  album “Hayride to Hell…and back” is available from all the usual places including Amazon and iTunes.  It can also be purchased from our online store as well as merch.

BBM: Any last words anything you want to add on to the interview?
After this many years and with day jobs to support our families, we don’t just fire up the van to head to a gig in another state at the drop of a hat for gas money, beer and a bottle anymore.  If someone wants us though and its worth our while, we’re there.  While having to try to cover costs in a bad economy but that doesn’t mean its about the money.  What makes our while is a packed house with a wrecking pit full of manic psychos.

BBM: I read on the site you will be recording new material soon can you
give us any details on that?
While we have lots of little adjustments and final arrangement decisions to make, we’ve got more than another album’s worth of material.  There’s a few of the numbers that we’ve been doing live that have gotten killer reactions.  With the current state of the music industry though, this one will be done entirely by ourselves with exception to distribution.  I’ve been building a studio and its been coming slow with money and time constraints.  It will be done before we are all taking dirt naps but that’s about all I can say at this point.  I’ll keep putting the finishing touches on the studio and we’ll get to laying down tracks and see where it goes.

BBM: Name of the album?

BBM: What direction is the sound moving towards as far as genre?
Still Psychobilly but with more flavor and elements

Release date?

BBM: Anything you want to add?
Just thanks for thinking of us and to all our fellow Psycho Bumbletards out there – STAY SICK!

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