The Planet Rockers
The Planet Rockers. My introduction to the PlanetRockers was a little weird. Bear with me here…
The Planet Rockers. Sometime in the early part of the 1990s, my then girlfriend and I were on a big Smiths/ Morrissey jag. We were both coming to terms with the fact that we would never get to see the Smiths in concert, and somehow we managed to see Morrissey every time he came through Northern California. On Halloween 1991 or ’92, we went to a Morrissey show at the Shoreline amphitheater in Mountain View. The opening band that night was the Planet Rockers. Damn! What a surprise that was.
I had never heard of the Planet Rockers. I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw almost as many cowboy hats and belt buckles in line for this show, as I did silly hair-cuts (Yeah, I had one, too), guys with their collars buttoned all the way up (Oh yeah, I was there), and the young hipsters wearing old 1950s-style hearing aids (never had one of those) and Creepers (I had a bad-ass pair of Creepers when I was younger).
I don’t remember if we had seats or lawn for this show, what I remember was seeing the roadies bring out and set up a guitar amp, a stand-up bass and minimalist drum kit. Something about this band, the Planet Rockers was beginning to strike a chord within me, and the band hadn’t played a note. I hadn’t yet made the connection between stand-up bass–my high school band had astand-up bass. How cool could it be?–and what was no-frills “Tennessee Rock and Roll”, the Planet Rockers style.
The Planet Rockers didn’t play rockabilly the way the Stray Cats played it; not psychobilly like the Meteors or the Cramps. The Planet Rockers sounded as uniquely American, authentic rockabilly as anything I had heard to date.
I could have sworn that my girlfriend at the time swiped a Planet Rockers cd or a Morrissey t-shirt at that show. We chatted recently, and she claims that it must have been somebody else at some other show, because she would never do anything like that. Okay. Fine.
The Planet Rockers–100% Tennessee Rock and Roll
I think the Planet Rockers opened with Trouble Up the Road. Damn! Those guys had me! This was the most authentic-sounding rockabilly that wasn’t from the 50s I could remember hearing. I hadn’t yet begun my homework, so Eddie Angel wasn’t a name I was more than passingly familiar with. I think I had heard it before, but to me Eddie Angel sounded as silly and cliche’ as Sid Vicious. I figured he may have been a cartoon character or something. But, Dog my Cats and Paint Me Green! When the Planet Rockers started in, they didn’t stop. They played pretty much everything from their debut cd. We heard it all and then some–Trouble Up the Road , Big Daddy, Rampage, Big Wheel, Tennessee Woman, Spin My Wheels, Yes I Do, and so many more.
These guys were fu*king amazing.
The Planet Rockers–See? Again, I hadn’t put it all together yet.
I already knew Eddie’s work without knowing his name. Eddie Angel has played guitar with legends like Ronnie Dawson and Link Wray, and is a pretty active recording artist himself. Eddie recorded with Tex Rubinowitz’ band “The Bad Boys”, Martha Hull, the–get this–“legendary rockabilly revival band” The Planet Rockers with Sonny George, “Eddie Angel’s Dinosaurs”, “The Neanderthals” and “Los Straitjackets” and of course he had some great solo-issues, I am particularly drawn to “Rampage”, but Eddie Angel has so many good songs, it’s hard to pick just one favorite. Eddie plays guitar like a madman in whatever genre he picks up, rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, surf, garage, or… Eddie can play it all.
On that day, he was playing with the Planet Rockers…