Kool Kat of the Week: Getting Ready for a Rockabilly Rumble in Little 5 Points with Right Reverend Andy

Posted on: Aug 9th, 2012 By:

For almost a decade, the Right Reverend Andy Hawley has been at the pulpit of Atlanta’s rockabilly revival as the DJ of Psychobilly Freakout (now airing Mondays from 8-10 p.m. on Garage 71 Internet radio and live at area events) and also for the many ‘billy events he has organized. This Saturday August 10, he’s hosting a Rumble in Little 5 Points at the Star Bar, long the temple of Atlanta’s rockabilly/psychobilly scene, with a great line-up headlined by Hi-Test and including Sonoramic CommandoAtomic BoogieJunior, Dolan & Cash and Grim Rooster, so we thought it’s high time we declare the minister of one of our favorite Retro musical styles Kool Kat of the Week

ATLRetro: What’s so special about Hi-Test and why does their return warrant a Rumble?

Rev Andy: Hi-Test is one of those bands that any other band would have a hard time following. Their music is in-your-face and when you listen it goes straight to your core. They put on one hell of a stage show and all four guys are incredibly talented musicians! If you’ve never seen Hi-Test, then you’re truly missing out.

What else is happening at The Rumble?

A: We’re also having an unofficial CD release for Sonoramic Commando’s new album HANG AROUND [Ed. note: Read Slim’s Retro Review here], and you need to come early to catch the new punk country band Grim Rooster!

How did you discover rockabilly/psychobilly? And was there a key turning point when you decided to devote your life to keeping these Retro music styles alive?

I grew up with parents who listened to Elvis, Cash and all those old cats from the Sun Records days. When I hit high school, I stopped listening and began buying heavy metal albums. Toward my late twenties, I migrated back to what I grew up on and eventually went to my first local rockabilly show, which featured Sonoramic Commando. When I had the chance to start a ‘billy radio show, I grabbed the bull by the horns.

How did you become a Right Reverend?

It began as something fun I decided to do one afternoon. I came in to do my show at Album 88 (88.5FM) and told the DJ before my show went on I had become ordained through the Universal Life Church. Without prompting her, she ended her shift by saying, “Coming up next is Psychobilly Freakout with Reverend Andy!” Years later, Sully from daveFM would add the “Right” part to add some flourish. Now, I’m active outside the studio with my role as the high priest of rock ‘n’ roll getting folks deep fried and sanctified with the help of roots music!

Why Psychobilly Freakout?

This name (and song) encapsulated the theme for what I wanted my show to become. Honestly, it came down to naming it this or “Rockabilly Rebel,” after a Hillbilly Hellcats song. The program director for Album 88 wanted to differentiate my show from the country show, so I went with the Freakout. The first time I interviewed Jim Heath (Reverend Horton Heat), I told him I had named my show after one of his songs. He told me, “You better make it live up to the name,” and I think I have, eight years going.

For the uninitiated, what makes a great rockabilly and/or psychobilly band?

The band should capture your attention with their sound and stage presence. It may add to the stereotype, but they need to be dressed the part – no loafers on stage! A great rockabilly band should be sonically sound, know and love their songs, and avoid being “shoegazers” on stage. If someone wants to start a band, go watch and listen to Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Billy Lee Riley, and figure out how their music speaks to you. Turn that sound into your own. Little Richard once told me, “Everything has already been done. You just have to pick something up and figure out how to make it your own.”

How long have you been doing your Monday night shows on Garage 71?

Last month marks three years on Garage 71, but my show has been around much longer. I started it on Album 88 in August of 2004, so the show has now been around 8 years! It had a brief stint on WREK (91.1FM) and as a podcast. No matter what, this is my show and I’m sure the name will be associated with me for years to come.

What are a few bands and performers who are exciting you now?

I’m really digging the sound of JD McPherson [Ed. note: Read our Retro Review of JD’s latest album here]. Holy crap, this guy has captured the classic essence of rockabilly and jump blues, and he’s very exciting to watch perform! Check out King Sickabilly & His Full Moon Boys if you’re into Johnny Cash. His songs, even toned down, speak volumes. Exploring the past I’ve recently acquired a love for The Queers and The Cult. I don’t know how I let those two bands stay under my radar for so long. And if you don’t own any, go buy some Lone Wolf OMB and Ronnie Dawson right now!

You DJ regularly at Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge (bimonthly at Masquerade), her new Mad Lib-Ations (Thursdays at Corner Tavern in L5P)and many other of her events. How did you both meet each other and why do you enjoy working with her so much?

I believe a mutual friend had us meet a few years ago. When she began working on her first Rockabilly Lounge, said friend told her her event wouldn’t be complete without getting me involved. Since then, she and I have worked together on many events and you’re guaranteed a good time! If you can’t enjoy yourself at one of our shows, then you should be flogged.

What’s next for the Right Reverend Andy, i.e. what should our readers mark their calendars for?

I have a few more events in the works before the end of the year. I’m working on bringing Hillbilly Casino back to Atlanta, a Rocket 350 reunion, and one of the musicians I mentioned in this article will be playing Atlanta in November (his manager asked I not discuss details). I’m also collaborating on a book about rockabilly lifestyle from the past 60 years – this is in the very early stages. I’m lending my voice to the Left 4 Dead 2 video game – you’ll find me voicing multiple characters in some upcoming downloadable content! I’m a geek at heart, so hearing my voice in a video game is pretty darn cool! You’ll also find my own Website launching in the next couple of weeks so people can keep track of my new and ongoing projects.

Until the Website launches, keep up with Reverend Andy at rightrevandy.blogspot.com and twitter.com/revandy. All photos are courtesy of Andy Hawley.

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Old Enough To Drink: Bubbapalooza Turns 21! Remembering Gregory Dean Smalley

Posted on: May 23rd, 2012 By:

By James Kelly
Contributing Music Editor

(Note: all photos of Gregory Dean Smalley are courtesy of James Kelly)

In Atlanta’s Redneck Underground, Memorial Day weekend means one thing: BUBBAPALOOZA! For 21 years, the Star Bar has hosted a wild and wooly hootenanny of great Southern music and fun. This year’s event takes place on Friday May 25 and Saturday May 26, with 21 bands representing a vast array of rootsy musical styles (for a complete schedule, scroll down to the end of this article!).

Some of us have been there since the very first event, but over time things have changed; bands have come and gone and familiar old faces faded away, pulled by grown up jobs, family obligations or the need to preserve their livers. But like any great music scene, new folks step in to fill the void, and this year promises to be as good as it gets. It seems that no matter what crappy genre of music is being adored by the mainstream, traditional country, rockabilly, surf and roots rock continue to maintain a high profile in L5P. A mix of the old, the new and the unknown makes each band’s set a celebration of the diverse musical legacy established so many years ago by the late Gregory Dean Smalley.

A will o’ the wisp of a man, Smalley had a vision that has continued on, and is now entering its third decade of existence. Smalley was a journeyman musician, with temporary stints in just about every band he booked at Bubbapalooza. He was as charming as he was infuriating, able to carry on a thoughtful conversation with just about anyone on just about any subject, and a mind full of the dirtiest jokes you ever heard. While so many of the newcomers weren’t even of drinking age when Smalley died in 1996 from AIDS-related illness, each year the long-term attendees make an effort to remind everyone of his contributions to our music scene, and to keep his memory alive for old and new fans alike. But sadly, many people never got to meet him, listen to his witty and usually offensive tirades, or hear his amazing guitar playing.

During the last year of his life, Greg spent a lot of time at my house, sitting in an easy chair and watching Nascar, picking guitars, shooting the breeze, or napping for a hour or so. As the AIDS virus ravaged him, he had a medical port for injecting his prescribed drugs, and often dosed while in that chair. About six months after he died, I was walking through the living room when I noticed something under the chair that had not been there before. It was an empty syringe that had just fallen from the chair that day, one of Greg’s medications he had injected while in my home. The day it fell was September 3, Greg’s birthday. His way of saying “Hey, remember me?” As if I needed a reminder. He was unforgettable, and is still around in spirit, and every Memorial Day weekend, he smiles upon his family and friends as we celebrate his legacy.

The social media as we know it today never existed during Greg’s lifetime, and there is no telling what he would have thought of all the Twittering, Facebooking, blogging and what-not that goes on. ATLRetro tossed a request for a personal comment out into the web-o-net regarding our old pal Gregory Dean, and here’s a sample of the (printable) responses we got:

A natural-born entrepreneur, raconteur and spirited musician, Greg hustled and humped his way through life with unbridled exuberance, which carried anyone in the vicinity along for what often turned out to be a wildly memorable ride.Doug Deloach

Greg Smalley was one of the funniest, sweet, and bravest guys I ever knew, and he had a fantastic ear for music – playing it as well as putting together great shows! I miss him a lot. –  Katy Graves

Greg Smalley was a funny, wirey little dude that could play the shit out of the guitar!Annie Hamm

The first time I met Greg – in Columbia, SC – he tried to pick a fight with me, the ‘college-rock’ dude… a year or so later, he was an important part of the band.Walter Czachowski

Thoroughly Southern in manner and mind.Ian Shipp

Greg was quite strange (not a bad thing, I am also!), and he gave John Grant and me (Dos Hombres) a chance to play at Bubbapalooza, so how could I dislike the man!? – Elliott Michaels

One of the most rewarding guitar repair clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Seeing Greg on stage tearing it up on his Les Paul Special made me feel like his NASCAR crew. Being in a band with him was just as rewarding. I’m sure he’s up in heaven telling other deceased rock star guitar players how to play their trademark licks.Bryan Lilje

Greg Smalley was one of the funniest guys I ever knew.Wher he played with The Chant for the first time, he knew all the guitar parts, including the little riffs in the background to sweeten things up. He put everything into what ever he was doing. I miss him so much. He made my life a better place to be.Jim Johnson

Funny, unaffected, kind human being!Sean Bourne

Greg wouldn’t just wave or nod from across the bar. He’d always come over for a chat. Still deeply missed and finding his way into many conversations today. And there was the whole guitar giant thing.Thom Heckel

One determined person who really didn’t care what anyone else thought.Faylynn Owen

Greg was completely fearless about being himself all the time, extremely good and incredibly awful, and if you could recognize and accept that, you could be his friend, and that was a very rewarding experience.Tim Lathrop

Played “breaking my heart while I’m drinking her beer” before it was finished on his couch on Franklin Rd. Long cigarettes and intelligent music.Philip Buchanan

Not a lot of pretense with Greg. I recall he labeled effects pedals “SHIT” and “MORE SHIT.”Al Shelton

He was only ever nice to me. Good to me especially on stage, which is 90% of my interaction with him. Generous, encouraging, and a fearless gamer. I learned a lot about not caring what people think: a difficult and priceless lesson for this Southern mama’s boy.Jon Byrd

No matter what Greg went into everything with a smile on his face, and a joke at the end of his tongue. If you were offended then wait for the next one.  – John Thomason

Greg Smalley was everything I love about the south. – Steve Pilon

Bubbapalooza #21 Line-up:

FRIDAY MAY 25
DOORS 7PM/$8

12am: THE BAREKNUCKLE BETTIES
11pm: BLACKTOP ROCKETS
10pm: GHOST RIDERS CAR CLUB
9pm: UNCLE DADDY & THE KISSIN COUSINS
8pm: SLIM CHANCE & THE CONVICTS

in the Little Vinyl Lounge:
10:30: SUICIDE DOORS
11:30: JUNIOR, DOLAN & CASH

SATURDAY MAY 26
DOORS 4PM/$10

12:30: THE MYSTERY MEN?
11:30: THE KENTUCKY BRIDGEBURNERS
10:45: AM GOLD
10:00: CLETIS & HIS CITY COUSINS
9:15: SONORAMIC COMMANDO
8:45: DUSTY BOOZE & THE BABY HATERS
7:45: THE MIDWAY CHARMERS
6:45: J.J. & THE HUSTLERS
5:45: THE SKYLARKS
4:45: CHICKENS & PIGS
4:15: THE SERENADERS

In the Little Vinyl Lounge:
10:45: ATOMIC BOOGIE
9:45: THE WHEEL KNOCKERS
7:00: ALICK GERARD & THEDIXIE LIMITED

To find out more about the history of Bubbapalooza, check out last year’s interview with Bryan Malone and Ted Weldon, Raising a big PBR toast as Star Bar’s Bubbapalooza turns 20.

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Retro Review: HANG AROUND by Sonoramic Commando

Posted on: Apr 25th, 2012 By:

By James Kelly
Contributing Music Editor

Sonoramic Commando
HANG AROUND
Sonoramic Records

Atlanta has had a rich and thriving country/rockabilly/roots music community for over 25 years, and while the bigtime glory days of the storied Redneck Underground may fade a bit, there are still plenty of talented bands making good music that fits in the genre. On HANG AROUND, their second album, Sonoramic Commando exhibit significant maturity and a strong command of their eclectic style. Over 18 quick tracks (clocking in under 50 minutes), the boys cover most of the musical bases well, including the rockin’ groove of “Gina L.,”  the sweet honky tonk “Pony” and the surfy sultry “The Stalker.” Lead singer-bassist Rodney Bell, guitarist Chad Proctor, and drummer Matt Spaugh cut the record over a three-day stretch, and the rawness of the “live in the studio” recording effectively captures their energy and intensity.

Other than support on two tracks by pedal steel player Bill Fleming, the boys pretty much did this one by themselves, and manage to create a full and well balanced sound.Chad’s guitar rings loud and clear, Matt’s backbeats keep the rhythm rolling, and Rodney’s confident vocals deliver the quirky material with harmonic accompaniment from his cohorts. The band wrote 16 of the 18 tracks, and received some help with the words for a couple of tunes from Commando Emeritus John McLean and the Bluejays’ Jay Murphree. All in all, a fine piece of work, and an excellent representation of Atlanta’s roots rock community.

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Tis the Season To Be Patriotic: Pin Ups for Soldiers Supports the Troops with a Burlesque Show at Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge

Posted on: Nov 8th, 2011 By:
By Spookie Susie
Contributing Blogger
Veteran’s Day is fast approaching, and in honor of the brave men and women who have defended our freedom since the founding of our country, we’d like to revisit Pin Ups for Soldiers, a Loganville-based nonprofit which provides care packages to our troops overseas. They’re going to be rockin’ out and looking lovely this Saturday November 12 at the bimonthly Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge with the Pinups for Soldiers Burlesque Show at The Masquerade, featuring special guest performer Violet Vixxxen of Nashville. The show is dedicated to Atlanta’s own Chameleon Queen‘s father and the squadron he served during the Vietnam War, the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362, aka the “Ugly Angels.” Also taking part in the festivities is Sonoramic Commando, named for the mighty ’61 Plymouth engine, and the one and only Reverend Andy will be spinning Psychobilly Freakout and swing dance tunes. We checked back in with Dena Stahl, aka Avenging Angel, co-founder of Pinups for Soldiers, to get the briefing on all their latest happenings in addition to re-issuing the original interview for any of those who may have missed it.


Can you give us a quick update on any major happenings with Pin Ups for Soldiers since we last chatted with you?

We now have our 2012 Pinups for Soldiers Charity Calendar in hand and are actively selling those at events and online.  For just a $15.00 donation you get a calendar full of beautiful pinups AND you help us send care packages to over 800 troops this holiday season through our Santa for Soldiers initiative.  We are currently taking orders for the 2012 calendar via our Facebook page; just look under the SHOP tab.  You can purchase a calendar for just $15, and for an additional $10 you can also purchase a calendar as a gift for a soldier and Pinups for Soldiers will ship it to one our units on your behalf.  We will have calendars in hand in October.  You can also purchase a calendar through donating via our PayPal located on our website; make sure to note “calendar” on your instructions and include your mailing address.

We also have some exciting events coming up in the next couple of months.  As you know, we will be at Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge on November 12 to honor all the veterans of our great country.  Then on December 10, we will be at Trader Vic’s for a Pearl Harbor Remembrance.  We will be selling and signing calendars at both events.

Left to right: Danielle Davis (De De), Danielle Camp (Pretty Polly), Diana Ellison (Sweet Adeline), Dena Stahl (Avenging Angel) at Hell on Wheels Beerfest. Photo Credit: Fresh Eye Photography.

Your next major care package drive is Santa for Soldiers. Can you tell us about that program?

We started Santa for Soldiers last year.  We get each soldier a Christmas stocking of their own and fill it with goodies.  Anything from necessities like gold bond and sunscreen to fun goodies like playing cards and CD/DVDs.  We really depend on the support of the community to help us make this happen and we need to help now more than ever.  Last year we sent stockings to just under 200 soldiers.  This year we will be sending to over 800!  We are asking that our supporters help, either by donating stockings and/or items or by making a donation on our website or Facebook Fan Page.  Every dollar makes a difference.  It means so much to a soldier to receive something from home, especially during the holiday season when not being home is even harder.  It lets them know that they are remembered and appreciated.

What kind of fun shenanigans can we expect at Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge this Saturday?

We are very excited to be involved in this event with Mon Cherie.  This will be our first time participating in one of her shows, and we are looking forward to it.  Not sure what all Mon Cherie has up her sleeve but we know it will be great!  You will just have to come out to the show and see for yourself November 12th!

Pinups for Soldiers co-founder Dena Stahl.

How did you meet photographer Danielle Camp, and what made you two decide to start Pinups for Soldiers?

Danielle and I have been friends for over 18 years.  Danielle wanted to do a Pinup shoot and asked if I was interested in helping her build her portfolio.  I reached out to my friends for ideas and one of them mentioned that she had always wanted to do a Pinup calendar.  It was March 2010 and my husband, SGT Travis Stahl was deployed to Afghanistan serving our country. During his deployment I became aware that there were many soldiers who did not receive care packages from home, Travis began giving items from the care packages I was sending to those soldiers.  We decided that if we were going to make a pinup calendar we were going to make it a nonprofit and use it to raise money so that we could send care packages to soldiers stationed overseas.

Tell us about having your husband deployed.

Having a husband deployed is one of the hardest things I have ever been through. A year of sleepless nights waiting on a phone call, email or text to confirm he is okay, the constant worry and not knowing where he is or what is going on, the fear that enters your body any time there is a knock on the front door, the empty spot in the bed beside me, handling everything on the homefront on my own…is all very hard. However, I am honored to be a soldier’s wife.  He is my husband, my hero, and his dedication to not only me and our family, but to our amazing country, makes me so proud.

How many units does PUFS help? Do you have a most memorable request for assistance?

Currently we are supporting three units totaling almost 200.  The units are stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.  We have a unit that is about to deploy, bringing us to almost 600!  We are always touched when we receive emails from soldiers.  For me, they are all memorable.  The requests we get range from necessities to soldiers wanting pictures.  Our motto is “Brightening Lives Protecting Ours,” and that is our mission and we take it to heart.  We feel as if the American Soldier is a true patriot and should be honored and appreciated.  We want them all to know that they are not forgotten.

What is your favorite reaction to the receipt of a PUFS care package?

We LOVE to get pictures from units we support and emails letting us know we did make a difference and put a smile on their face!

We heard the exciting news that renowned modern day pinup model, Bernie Dexter, is participating in the 2012 calendar. How did she become involved?

My husband, SGT Travis Stahl a bronze star recipient who proudly serves our country as a Combat Medic in the United States Army emailed the wonderful Bernie Dexter and introduced her to Pinups for Soldiers (PUFS).  Bernie’s father served in the United States Navy.  Bernie Dexter is a gem and you won’t find a better person in the pinup world or otherwise.  We cannot articulate how over the moon we are about her involvement and support.

Dena Stahl.

Are any of your calendar girls in the armed forces themselves?

Glad you asked this question.  Yes, we have a member of the United States Army, Miss Sweet Adeline in the 2012 Calendar.  She inspires me.  Not only does she serve our country with great honor but she also makes the time and gives so much back to her peers.  We are blessed to have her as a part of the PUFS family but also as a friend.

You held a Motorcycle Poker Run this summer to help raise funds for the troops and a Memorial Ride for 9/11. Do you have a strong supporter base in the biker community?

We also included the Mini Cooper community in the run.  We have found that the biker community has a very heavy veteran presence and proud Americans in general who stay active in the community. The American Legion has been a wonderful support system for us; they will be the first and last stop on this run. The Poker Run was September 10 at the American Legion Post 127 located in Buford, GA.

What can interested girls do to be considered for the 2013 calendar?

We always want to make it clear that we are a volunteer-based organization, and philanthropy to the soldiers is our number one priority.  Being in the calendar is a side bar to the main goal.  Girls must first volunteer their time to the cause prior to being considered for the calendar.  We will be holding a casting call for the 2013 calendar in January once we have wrapped up all our efforts and events for the 2012 calendar.

All photos courtesy of Pinups for Soldiers.

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BUBBAPALOOZA 20 Schedule

Posted on: May 27th, 2011 By:

The Star Community Bar presents: BUBBAPALOOZA 20 “In memory of Gregory Dean Smalley” Read the full ATLRetro sneak preview from Bryan Malone and Ted Weldon here.

FRIDAY May 27, Doors 7pm/$8

Main Stage
8:00 PM The Wheelknockers
8:45 PM Rod Hamdallah
9:30 PM Bareknuckle Betties
10:15 PM The Blacktop Rockets
11:15 PM Anna Kramer & theLostCause
12:00 PM Ocha La Rocha

Little Vinyl Lounge Stage:
10:00 PM Midway Charmers
11:00 PM The Atomic Rockets

SATURDAY, Doors 3pm/$10

Main Stage
4:30 PM Chickens & Pigs
5:30 PM Senator Artie Mondello
6:25 PM Uncle Daddy & the Kissin Cousins
7:15 PM Sonoramic Commando
8:00 PM The Stumblers
8:45 PM AM Gold
9:30 PM Cigar Store Indians (Ben)
10:20 PM Ghost Riders Car Club
11:15 PM Caroline & the Ramblers
12:15 PM The Billygoats

Little Vinyl Lounge Stage:
6:00 PM Western Union Messenger
8:30 PM The Disasternaughts
ALSO: Garage 71 will be broadcasting live.

Parking lot beside Star Bar:
The Redneck Cruise-In Car Show! Hosted by Garage 71; pre-1970’s & earlier Hot Rods & Cycles; starts Saturday at 5pm.

BBQ provided by SLOPE’S BBQ

Raffles & Prizes including gift certificates to the best shops and stores in Little Five Points (to benefit the family of Gregory Dean Smalley)

Get your official BUBBAPALOOZA 20th Anniversary photo at the PBR Photo Booth.

Sponsored by: Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Garage 71, Slopes BBQ, Starlight Six Drive-In, Plaza Theater, Memorial Tattoo, East Atlanta Tattoo, Criminal Records, Wax N’ Facts, El Myr, Junkman’s Daughter, Abbadabba’s, Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, Savage Pizza, Tin Roof Cantina & Star Community Bar

 

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