The Stray Cats To Celebrate 40th Anniversary with Album and Tour

Reunions are also a “thing” when it comes to concert tours and I was pleased as the proverbial punch when I saw this announcement. Check it out.

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The Press Release:
All revved up and red hot, The STRAY CATS are back.

Brian Setzer (guitar, vocals), Lee Rocker (bass, vocals) and Slim Jim Phantom (drums, vocals)–original founding members of the iconic and acclaimed American rock and roll trio–are celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2019 with a new album and tour (*see tour dates below).

The STRAY CATS have titled the album 40. Marking their first new album in 26 years, it will be released May 24 via Surfdog Records and distributed by BMG (CD, vinyl, digital). The song titles alone–including “Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me),” “Rock It Off,” “Mean Pickin’ Mama” and “Devil Train”–instantly let listeners know they’re in for a non-stop rocking time.

Watch the band and album producer Peter Collins in the studio discussing the making of the album below.

The first instant grat track, “Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me),” is available now with a pre-order of the album. The song is also streaming on Spotify. An exclusive indie-store edition of the album–colored vinyl, with a double-sided 24×12 poster–will arrive on May 24:

In addition, The STRAY CATS are releasing an exclusive 12″ picture disc with three songs–“Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me), “When Nothing’s Going Right” and “Rock It Off”–on April 13, Record Store Day.

The STRAY CATS begin their select U.S. dates on August 3 on the heels of June and July overseas shows. Tickets for the shows go on sale Friday, March 8 at 10:00 AM (local time).

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.”

’40’ Tracklisting
Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me)
Rock It Off
I’ve Got Love If You Want It
Cry Danger
I Attract Trouble
Three Time’s A Charm
That’s Messed Up
When Nothing’s Going Right
Mean Pickin’ Mama
I’ll Be Looking Out For You
Devil Train

stray cats

The Stray Cats from L-R: Lee Rocker, Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom By Russ Harrington

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

About The STRAY CATS: The STRAY CATS, the band that put Rockabilly music back on the record charts in the early ’80s, scored several big hits on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to a striking visual 1950’s style brought “up to date” with exaggerated pompadours and colorful tattoos and as well as genuine musical chops that evoked the best players of rockabilly’s original heyday. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer, upright bass player Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom in the Long Island town of Massapequa, NY, in 1979, the trio shared a love for Rockabilly music. After banging around New York for a few months, in the summer of 1980, and seeing a pompadoured kid on the cover of UK magazine NME, they hopped a plane to London where a rockabilly revival movement was just beginning to emerge. Their massive hits and videos include “Runaway Boys,” “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut” “(She’s) Sexy + 17,” and “I Won’t Stand in Your Way.”

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PiercingMetal Thoughts: I’m not going to lie and say that I loved this band when they first came onto the scene because I didn’t. I think this was mostly based on the minimalism that they brought to the table and the sound was far different from the very crushing vibe of the Metal scene for me as a young wannabe famous drummer. Of course I only admit this based on my being much more open-minded to a wide variety of groups and The Stray Cats are among them for sure. Having listened to them a lot more since those early days and having caught Setzer with his big band orchestra, think that this trio is going to be a hoot and a holler. What do you readers think about this tour, will you attend any of the dates? Chime in down below in the comments and speak your mind.

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