The Stray Cats Back in Action for 40th Anniversary with New Album and a Tour in 2019



Rock Cellar Magazine
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Stray cats may be notoriously tough to corral, but it’s been done for 2019 — at least referring to the band, that is. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic rock and roll trio‘s formation in 1979, and they’re going to celebrate in a big way.

Brian Setzer (guitars/vocals), Lee Rocker (bass/vocals) and Slim Jim Phantom (drums/vocals), all original, founding members of the group, are back together for a big tour and new studio album.

That’s right, a new album — which will be the first album from the band in 26 years! It’ll be released on May 24, and features song titles such as “Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me),” “Devil Train” and others.

Speaking of “Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me),” it’s the first single from the record and can be streamed below:

So, hwo’d this all come about? Well:

The STRAY CATS recorded 40 at Blackbird Studios in Nashville in late 2018 following their first North American shows in 10 years, with four concerts including sold-out headlining shows in Las Vegas and the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, CA before wildly enthusiastic audiences. Still buzzing from the thrill of playing together again and the crowd response, they went into the studio with producer Peter Collins (Rush, Bon Jovi, The Brian Setzer Orchestra) and engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, Arctic Monkeys). There are a dozen original songs that comprise the album.

Here’s what the guys have to say:

Brian Setzer: “You have to understand how unique the Stray Cats are. It’s me playing an old hollow body guitar, Slim Jim playing two or three drums, and Lee Rocker slapping a stand-up acoustic bass. I get to write new songs and then play them with my buddies. Somehow we created a new and exciting sound with this simple idea. And you know what? A lot of people agree!”

Lee Rocker: “This new album really feels like the first record we did, it’s really natural and comfortable. For the recording, we went live–like doing a gig, we recorded in a real, organic way. We were all in one room standing next to each other recording live, with the amps turned up to 10, it captured the undefinable things that happen when a band is great, it captured the magic that takes place and an undefined spark.”

Slim Jim Phantom: “We’re very, very focused when we get into the studio, it didn’t feel like a long time had passed since we had done this, it felt very natural and familiar. We were all in a row with everyone watching each other, so it felt like a gig in the set-up. We really embraced that a little bit for the album, it’s like an old way of making records. The modern is meeting the vintage, which has always been our inspiration.”

Catch the Stray Cats on the road this year in support of their renewed activity! The schedule:

Friday 6/21 Vitoria, Spain Azkena Rock Festival
Sunday 6/23 Birmingham, United Kingdom Birmingham O2Academy
Tuesday 6/25 Manchester, United Kingdom Manchester O2 Apollo
Wednesday 6/26 London, United Kingdom London Eventim Apollo
Thursday 6/27 London, United Kingdom London Eventim Apollo
Saturday 6/29 Tilloloy, France Retro C Trop
Monday 7/1 Amsterdam, Netherlands AFAS Live
Wednesday 7/3 Berlin, Germany Columbiahalle
Thursday 7/4 Cologne, Germany Palladium
Saturday 7/6 Tours, France American Tours Festival
Sunday 7/7 Belfort, France Les Eurockeennes
Tuesday 7/9 Stuttgart, Germany Killesberg
Thursday 7/11 Munich, Germany Zenith
Saturday 7/13 Aix-Les-Bains, France Musilac Festival
Thursday 7/18 Pori, Finland Pori Jazz Festival
Saturday 7/20 Falun, Sweden Summer Jamboree-Falun
Saturday 8/3 Atlantic City, NJ Ocean Resort Casino-Ovation Hall
Tuesday 8/6 New York, NY Pier 17 at South Street Seaport
Tuesday 8/13 Vienna, VA Wolf Trap
Wednesday 8/14 Huber Heights, OH Rose Music Center
*Thursday 8/15 Grand Rapids, MI Meijer Garden
Sunday 8/18 Welch, MN Treasure Island Casino
*Monday 8/26 Salt Lake City, UT Red Butte Garden
Wednesday 8/28 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
*Saturday 8/31 San Diego, CA Humphrey’s


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