Psychobilly Kicks Back (against cancer)

English Version! Many thanks to Chris for the translation!

Ginger Meadham was already featured in our first issue and gave us an interview about the organization he founded: Psychobilly Kicks Back (against Cancer). Shortly after the interview Ginger asked me to report from the first Psychobilly Kicks Back Festival in Germany. Naturally, I was thrilled. In the following you find the article about the first Psychobilly Kicks Back Festival in Germany and additionally another short report. The interview “Meet the Meadhams” is dedicated to Ginger and his wife Amanda. Enjoy!

 

I was filled with great anticipation when I saw the terrific lineup and many familiar names and faces who registered for the event. Especially, I was very excited to see three of the “Zorn”-ladies. The “Zorn Family” is a group of cheerful dames with whom I had the pleasure to spend many memorable days and nights with.

Day 1

October 19th 2018, I arrived in Wuppertal via train so I had to take the “Schwebebahn” to get to my hotel. I wonder if I’m the only person who gets sick on this form of transportation, it’s an upside-down-monorail, I had to get off and walk. Wuppertal has its name from the river Wupper that carved a steep valley (german: Tal) in the area. I’ve been here before and remembered the hills and staircases. To my delight, fortunately they have level roads too.

After checking in to the hotel I headed to the “underground”. As usual it took me some time to get inside due to all the friendly people greeting me outside the club. That’s also where I met Ginger and his adorable daughter Zoe. We talked about his expectations on this report and he just said: “Do what you gotta do to wright a marvelous report for us!” It felt like I had just received a letter of marque, so with the pirates of the Caribbean-theme in mind, I entered the “underground” with my camera.

Inside I came across many more familiar faces. Such as Thomas Heiden, the organiser of the event. He ensured me all his help and support for this report and provided information on the bands. Thomas is a member of the “cruisers Germany”. Cruisers are well known in many countries. Their appearance with their leather vests might seem like a biker club. But these are a group of rockabilly and psychobilly enthusiasts who enjoy their passion together. I must admit, at first I was a little intimidated but none of the cruisers members were aggressive or unfriendly this entire weekend. In fact those I’ve spoken to were very friendly and helpful. I guess you should never judge a book by its cover. They helped organize and run the festival. Even some of the bands are cruisers.

The venue had a great layout for the festival. When you got in you had the stage and vendors hall to the left, a cozy pub to the right and the backstage area up the stairs. So if you felt like having a proper chat with a mate you wouldn’t have to shout at each other but just go to the other bar.

The underground provided the venue without charge, for the good cause. I talked to Dirk, one of the owners.

Navigator: Dirk, why did you provide the venue to the Psychobilly Kicks Back Festival for free?

Dirk: We are very open to charity events like this. We’ve done it before and we always support a good cause.

Navigator: Usually you do gothic and metal events right?

 

Dirk: Yes and no. The “Underground pub” is a metal pub, and metal is played there to the most. But on the “underground event floor” is used for a variety of music styles and Disco-events.

 

Navigator: How long have you been here in Wuppertal?

 

Dirk: We started in south Wuppertal in the year 2000 in a cellar. (therefore the name “underground”). In 2013 we moved to this location due to new smoking laws. First we only rented the pub, two years later the event floor was added.

 

Navigator: What are your thoughts on this festival?

 

Dirk: Very positive! Nice audience, great bands, awesome promoters! It’s great!

Before I come to the bands, I would like to emphasize once again that each band waived their fee for a good cause.

The Meltdown Kids opened the festival. The Meltdown Kids are also from Wuppertal. The trio consists of Christian, Patrice and Thomas. The young band opened the festival with outstanding catchy psychobilly.

 

The following pictures are from the fantastic Britt Byrnes Photography. Since I had to go to interviews again and again, I didn’t have time to take pictures. A very special thanks to you!

Bilder by Britt Byrnes Photography

The Meltdown Kids handed over the stage to Australian Koffin Rockers who were touring Europe. Michael on the guitar, Dean on the drums and Shaun on the double bass presents a mix of rockabilly and punkabilly. Shaun and Michael tried to trump each other with tricks on their instruments and offered a great show.

Bilder by Britt Byrnes Photography

Paddlecell was waiting for us next. These guys also belong to the Cruisers Germany. This band plays a mix of psychobilly and horror ska. A very exciting mix. In full cast, the band also includes several winds. Anyone who knows me may know that my favorite instrument is the saxophone. So, of course, this band immediately cast a spell on me. So I was a bit disappointed that tonight it was “only” the Paddlecell Trio, consisting of Frank on bass, Mark as singer and guitarist and Pete on drums. However, the three managed to convince me. Whether with or without winds. Marks’ almost crazy way to sing is incredibly exciting, I love his smoky voice. I had a lot of fun with their performance. Why didn’t they bring the brass? Let's ask bassist Frank:

Paddlecell Trio

Navigator: How did you get this gig and where do you know Ginger from?

Frank: Well, as Cruisers Germany, we raised this whole thing together with Ginger. Our president, Andree, has stuffed it all up with Ginger. That's how the contact came about. We thought this event is so great that we have to bring it to Germany and we as a club then have the opportunity to raise something like that. Now we are all very proud that it worked so well and hope it continues.

 

Navigator: Could you please briefly explain to our readers who the Cruisers are?

 

Frank: Cruisers is a rockabilly / psychobilly club. It's not a rocker club and not a motorcycle club, it's really just about the music and about giving the scene a platform. To keep it alive.

 

Navigator: Where did you leave your winds?

 

Frank: Actually, we just did not put our brass instruments out because we actually do the Paddlecell Trio as a second project to be able to do something different and to address a different bandwidth.

 

Navigator: It worked!

 

Frank: Yes, obviously! The audience was really cool and we were really happy because everything went so well.

Bilder Brina

After the interview, I went back to my “Zorn” ladies . Here are some pictures.

Bilder Brina

Next up: Knocksville. I was told: "The Sexiest Band Alive in Psychobilly" or "The Backstreet Boys of Psychobilly!". That sounded promising as an advance notice. Knocksville plays blues infestet punkabilly and come from England. Ginger and the band have a deep friendship, as I learned later. In addition, members of the band have even lost dear people to the cancer. Jason plays the bass, Martin plays the guitar and Chris plays the bass. Pretty soon I understood why they were introduced to me as the "sexiest band alive". 3 young men with beards (except for Chris), playing great songs, topless. Jason even played down in the audience, standing on his bass. While I was trying to take good pictures, I immediately noticed several ladies in the front row, who totally freaked out. At the end they stormed the stage and snuggled up to the boys for the graduation photo. So that was the boy band character you talked about earlier. Those who do not know the band are sure to be curious about the pictures. Therefore, I will present some pictures first, before I talk to the band a bit.

Bilder von Brina

Now I wanted to do an interview backstage with the band. Since I had the wrong wristband, I did not get into the backstage area at first because the security did a good job. Help came with Amanda Meadham. What struck me immediately was her strong and passionate voice. There are rarely people that you can hear well with so much background noise without them screaming. As the guys from Knocksville changed and freshened up, I talked to Amanda and Ginger for the first time. This interview as well as the further discussion was so exciting, emotional and important that I decide to outsource it on site. You'll soon find it here at Meet The Meadhams.

Navigator: How did you met Ginger?

 

Jason: I met Ginger about 3 years ago. I noticed that he was doing Kicks Back and wanted to talk to him. So I approached him and we started messaging.

 

Navigator: So, you approached Ginger?

 

Jason: Jeah, but I already heard his name before, because he is one of the bigger figures in the scene. So I was talking to him for about 3 month and we became really good mates. He sometimes jokes that I´m his long lost son from a time long ago, because there a lots of bands between us and…

 

Chris: Poor Ginger!

 

Jason: Poor me!

 

Chris: No, no! Poor Ginger!

 

Navigator: How did you learn about Kicks Back?

 

Jason: We already knew about Kicks Back and what it about. My ex-father in law, we lost him to cancer probably 2 years prior than that, before we started doing this. We had to watch him deteriorate and pass away. Which was really shit! To say the least. That gave me a little bit more drive to give more for charity. When Ginger was telling us about Kicks Back, I really wanted to get involved!

 

Martin: I did loose someone to cancer, too. So we are all really happy to perform here and really want to help.

 

Navigator: So when Ginger asked you, you just said: Yes!?

 

Jason: Of course. We are a band that never turn down a gig anyway. Wherever it´s paid or unpaid. So when it´s something so close to our hearts we would never say no, we could never say no. It´s so important thing and it´s cool that everybody is here to help and music can give you so much.

 

Martin: It´s a little way of saying thank you!

 

Jason: Yes! Cause we´ve been embraced all the last couple of years, since we´ve kind of make our way into the scene. Everyone has been so welcoming and made us feel like we are part of a family. It´s really nice on all our gigs now we knew people and they are really involved and ask us how we are doing. So they really became friends, not just fans. That is really great so we want to give something back to the scene and we want to help charity.

Knocksville

In the further course of the festival, Martin also showed us his stamina and skills when "stacking cups on drunks”.

Backstage I also met Sarah. Sarah was the good fairy in the backstage area. She immediately offered me something to drink and asked if I needed anything and she always had an honest and warm smile on her face.

 

 

Now the 56 # Alley Chaps entered the stage. They played their own mix of neo rockabilly, Psychobilly, as well as Surf and New Wave. The trio from Wuppertal consists of Serge on guitar, dePFuerst on bass and Basti on drums. With a deep and growling voice, Serge got the audience going.

Bilder by Britt Byrnes Photography

I like bands with humor, so I was looking forward to the Rusty Robots from Goslar. The trio plays Oldschool Psychobilly and has a lot of fun. Chris plays the drums and convinced as a standing drummer immediately. I particularly liked Paddy on the double bass. He convinces with calm and relaxed mind and high professionalism. I had the chance to talk to the boys later.

Rusty Robots

Navigator: How did you meet Ginger?

Paddy: That must have been either at a Highliner concert or a Ricochett concert. Then we just started talking but still superficially. Then we met and talked at the Kicks Back Festivals in England and other shows. As a result, the contact has developed more and more.

 

 

Navigator: Did you ask or were you asked to play Kicks Back?

 

Paddy: We were asked but we were very interested.

 

 

Navigator: Would you play again next year?

 

Paddy: If we get asked, of course!

 

 

Navigator: What does it mean to you to play here?

 

Chris: What does it mean? Well… getting up early! No, seriously, this is a great thing. Cancer sucks! I really like how this is evolving. I think no one of us ever thought of saying no. I’m afraid that people I know or people on the scene could get cancer sooner or later. I mean, we’re all gonna die sometime. I would play here anytime again.

Navigator: How was your gig?

 

Chris: Warm!

 

Salmi: The drummer was too fast!

 

Chris: That was when our singer forgot how he wrote the songs!

 

Paddy: So it was a typical Rusty Robots gig.

 

Chris: We wouldn’t be Rusty Robots if we wouldn’t have fun playing music, well when we wouldn’t have fun playing crappy.

 

Navigator: That’s the Punk-element of psychobilly!

Bilder von Brina

First nights gigs were done. But people enjoyed wrecking and dancing to Vinyl music.

I had to confess that I was already a bit exhausted and therefore wanted to end the evening quietly. It always takes time to scratche all the hair spray from the hair and makeup from the face. So I grabbed my roommate Luca and went to the hotel.

Day 2

Day 2 started very quiet. Around 15:00 we started in the direction of: Mighty Psycho Munching. Some people had arranged to have dinner together at the Italian. Of course we were strangely eyed by the locals: too late for Carnival and too early for Halloween. Each of us knows that, but as a large group of 15-20 Psychos, that had another dimension.

 

At the Italian restaurant it had a similar effect on the other guests. A mixture of fear and curiosity. Soon we had the small restaurant all to ourselves. In the meantime, another 10 psychos joined. The staff was happy about the full house and even played Psychobilly throughout the restaurants PA. Tobi, who asked for a "made with love pizza", received this and in heart shape. The food was absolutely outstanding!

 

Then we went back to the venue, met others in the parking lot and prepared for the second night. First we had to disturb a young couple in the car (when sleeping, a hovel who thinks evil!), As we stored our drinks there. Respectfully, we knocked on the windows. (Actually, we played bloodthirsty zombies at the window) After much laughter and a hypothetical band founding the festival went on.

The first band was psychofarmaka. As I was told, Matz bought Ginger's drums at the time and that's how good contact with Ginger came about today. The guys gave a great start to day 2.

Bilder by Britt Byrnes Photography

Cobra Express then presented Surf from Karlsruhe. The trio loves performing and you could see that. Surf is not my favorite genre, but I love well-made music no matter what genre.

Bilder by Britt Byrnes Photography

Now came my first favorite this evening: Clockwork Psycho play Psychobilly and Punkabilly, they’re from Slovenia. What everyone immediately noticed: They have a very talented front-singer who plays the double bass. Too few women dare to play double bass and that's a pity. In addition, Lilith convinced not only by her snotty-punky voice and her great bass playing but also as a personality and by her friendly charm. Of course, Lilith, has two more full-blooded musicians in the band, Al and Marko, making a concert of Clockwork Psycho an experience.

Bilder by Britt Byrnes Photography

The psychobilly band Jack O'Bones from England brought along young backup. Alfie Morris on bass showed the men in the convict outfit that there are still youngsters in the scene. Ginger also played with a single snare. The Jack O'Bones also play a Christmas concert for Kicks Back. In the evening, Alfie and his dad continued to delight the audience as DJs.

Bilder by Britt Byrnes Photography

Now came the concert part which had by far the biggest inflow. The Ricochets, Ginger's first band, was the absolute crowd pleaser. The venue was cooking. The wreckingpits were very crowded and everyone was cheering and dancing. I saw almost all other musicians in the audience as well, all together celebrated the musician who made all this possible. Of course, as one of the first real psychobilly bands, it is clear that all members are a bit older. You may know that but you did not realize it! It was a great concert and the band and the audience were full of euphoria and exhaustion afterwards.

Bilder by Brina

Navigator: Dave, when did you meet Ginger for the first time?

Dave: Well, you ´ll not gonna believe this but we met for the first time, when we were about 9 or 10 years of age, at martial arts. We met Ginger there, Sam, Steve and me. We all used to go to martial arts. From there we all became very good friends. This was in the early 70´s. We used to hang out together, go to pubs, all of us on every weekend.

 

Navigator: How did you musical career start?

 

Dave: It started, probably about 1978/79. Ginger was already learning Drums, playing mostly Heavy Metal but still was in the Rockabilly scene, too. I and Steve were Teddy Boys, after that Rockabillys and Sam was always playing Rock. So we were all rocking at this time. But Ginger was more into Heavy Metal. He had long hair, for example and we had quiffs, we were born with quiffs, we always had quiffs…well until we lost our hair. (Laughs) Well that’s the way it goes, apart from Sam he still has a bit. And then we started to play music together. Steve and I played the guitar. Sam bought his first double Bass in 1978 and Sam learned to play the double bass. By 1979/1980 Sam was slapping the double bass like the original comets. That was when we started to have rehearsals in our house and their houses. 1979/80 really kicked off and it was a great time.

Navigator: But then you took a pause.

Dave: Yes, we took a pause. What happened was: I left the band and got married in 1981. Ricochets’ first album was recorded in 1983 and we had Laster Jones singing. The Ricochets didn’t play a lot abroad but played a lot of British gigs. 1984/85 we just disbanded, we thought: well we did what we wanted to do, we recorded a great album and then the Guana Batz approached Sam and he joined them. Ginger joined the Meteors at the same time and they had a great, wild time. Sam stayed with the Batz until the Ricochets were formed back in 1989. We got back together and started on new material and recorded our second album. By that time I was back, doing the vocals again. Since than we never looked back. Ginger married my Sister

in the middle 80´s so we are a family band!

Navigator: Can you tell us what happened when you heard about Ginger and the cancer.

Dave: It began a few years ago. Ginger had some back problems. When Ginger first announced he had cancer it was in his face and in his nose. Ginger said: “Fuck it! I´m still gonna carry on!” and he did. That is the reason why we are here today because he managed to put all this together to support cancer support. It´s a massive charity and it´s gonna get bigger and it´s gonna get even better and we gonna play and support him. So while he can still breathe, talk, walk and drum the Ricochets will continue with him.

Ricochets

After the interview with Dave I had some time to talk to the guys of the Eightbomb. I was very pleased to see Matevž again. This young musician has a quiet charm and is in addition to his lovable nature also a very entertaining conversation partner. I really appreciate the lead vocalist Jure because of his cheerful character and his great sense of humor.

 

I was especially looking forward to the Eightbomb. I already knew the second band from Slovenia this evening from a previous interview. This band has a very refreshing madness on stage. Lead singer Jure is always on the go and looks into the audience with huge eyes. In addition, he likes to spin a few very fast laps on stage with his guitar. It's best to let the pictures speak here. Anyone who knows me may also know that Matevž is my absolute favorite bassist. He has a way of playing the bass so wildly and passionately. Plus, with a “here’s johnny” face like in "The Shining", he always manages to make me feel like his contrabass is energized when he plays. Stand Up Drummer Urban not only rocks behind the drums but also likes to play them from the front or climbs a bit on stage. New entry Lev, on the other hand, seemed a bit stiff, but I'm sure he will rock the stage self-confidently in half a year.