Psychobilly is a fusion genre of rock music that mixes elements of punk rock,
       rockabilly, and other genres. It is one of several subgenres of rockabilly
       which also include trashabilly, punkabilly, surfabilly and gothabilly.
       Psychobilly is often characterized by lyrical references to science fiction,
       horror and exploitation films, violence, lurid sexuality, and other topics
       generally considered taboo, though often presented in a comedic or tongue
       -in-cheek fashion. It is often played with an upright double bass instead of
       the electric bass more common in modern rock music. Psychobilly gained
       underground popularity in Europe beginning in the early 1980s, but remained
       largely unknown in the United States until the late 1990s. Since then the
       advent of several notable psychobilly bands has led to its mainstream
       popularity and attracted international attention to the genre.

       History

       In the mid- to late 1970s, as punk rock became popular, several rockabilly
       and garage rock bands appeared who would influence the development of
       psychobilly. The term "psychobilly" was first used in the lyrics to the country
       song "One Piece At A Time", written by Wayne Kemp for Johnny Cash,
       which was a Top 10 hit in the United States in 1976. The lyrics describe the
       construction of a "Psychobilly Cadillac." The Cramps, who formed in
       Sacramento, California in 1972 and relocated to New York in 1975 where they
       became part of the city's thriving punk movement, appropriated the term from
       the Cash song and described their music as "psychobilly" and "rockabilly
       voodoo" on flyers advertising their concerts. The Cramps have since rejected
       the idea of being a part of a psychobilly subculture, noting that "We weren't
       even describing the music when we put 'psychobilly' on our old fliers; we were
       just using carny terms to drum up business. It wasn't meant as a style of music."
       Nevertheless, The Cramps, along with artists such as Screamin' Jay Hawkins,
       are considered important precursors to psychobilly. The Cramps' music was
       heavily informed by the sound and attitude of 1950s American rockabilly, and
       they recorded numerous covers of songs from the Sun Records catalog.
       Their 1979 album "Songs the Lord Taught Us" is considered influential to the
       formation of the psychobilly genre.

       First Wave In Britain

       The Meteors, formed in South London in 1980, are considered the first verifi-
       able psychobilly band. Their albums "In Heaven" (1981) and "Wreckin' Crew"
       (1983) are recognized as landmarks of the early years of the genre.
       The Meteors blended elements of punk rock, rockabilly, and horror film themes
       in their music. They also articulated psychobilly's a political stance, a reaction
       to the right- and left-wing political attitudes which divided British youth
       cultures. Fans of The Meteors, known as "the Crazies", are often attributed
       with inventing the style of slam dancing known as "wrecking", which became
       synonymous with the psychobilly movement. The short-lived Sharks, formed
       in Bristol in 1980, followed closely behind The Meteors with their influential
       album "Phantom Rockers". Another significant British band were The Guana
       Batz
, formed in Feltham, Middlesex in 1983. Their first album, 1985's "Held
       Down To Vinyl At Last", has been described by Tiger Army frontman Nick 13
       as "the most important release since the Meteors' first two albums."

       The Klub Foot nightclub, opened in 1982 at the Clarendon Hotel in Hammer-
       smith served as a center for Britain's emerging psychobilly movement and
       hosted many bands associated with the style. Johnny Bowler of the Guana Batz
       describes the club as "the focal point for the whole psychobilly scene. You'd
       get people from all over at those gigs. It built the scene. Record labels like
       Nervous were there, signing bands all the time." A live compilation album
       entitled "Stomping at the Klub Foot" was released in 1984, documenting the
       club's scene and the bands who played there. At the same time psychobilly
       bands were forming elsewhere in Europe, such as Batmobile who emerged
       in the Netherlands in 1983, released their debut album in 1985, and soon
       began headlining at psychobilly festivals and at the Klub Foot.

       Second Wave In Europe

       The second wave of psychobilly is noted as having begun with the 1986 release
       of British band Demented Are Go's debut album "In Sickness & In Health".
       The genre soon spread throughout Europe, inspiring a number of new acts
       such as Mad Sin (formed in Germany in 1987) and the Nekromantix (formed
       in Denmark in 1989), who released the album "Curse of the Coffin" in 1991.
       The Quakes formed in Buffalo, New York in 1986, but had such difficulty
       building a following in their hometown that they moved to London the
       following year, where they released their first album "The Quakes" in 1988.
       Another significant release of this era was the compilation album "Rockabilly
       Psychosis and the Garage Disease", which acknowledged the genre's roots in
       rockabilly and garage rock.

       The second-wave bands broadened the music's scope, with the introduction
       of new and diverse musical influences into the sound. Record labels such as
       Nervous and Crazy Love helped the genre to expand, although it still remained
       largely unnoticed in the United States, where the albums were poorly distributed
       and most psychobilly bands preferred to play weekenders than to tour. Nick 13
       states that while other British youth trends such as scooter riding, the skinhead
       subculture, and 2 Tone ska crossed over to the United States during the 1980s,
       psychobilly did not. However, one American act that emulated the style was
       The Reverend Horton Heat, formed in Dallas, Texas in 1985. Their 1990 single
       "Psychobilly Freakout" helped introduce American audiences to the genre.
       The band was heavily inspired by The Cramps, and original Cramps members
       Lux Interior and Poison Ivy have both identified The Reverend Horton Heat
       as the latter-day rockabilly/psychobilly band most closely resembling the style
       and tone of The Cramps.

       Third Wave Internationally

       The third wave of psychobilly began in the mid-1990s, with many acts
       incorporating influences from genres such as: hardcore punk, indie rock, heavy
       metal, new wave, goth rock, surf rock, country, and ska. Psychobilly became
       popular in the United States, particularly in southern California, where punk
       rock had thrived and remained popular since the 1970s. The area's large Latino
       community, which revered early rock and roll icons, also played a part, as did
       the popularity of bands like the horror-influenced Misfits and country/rocka-
       billy-inspired Social Distortion, as well as a celebration of hot rod and
       motorcycle culture.

       Tiger Army, formed in San Francisco in 1995, became the dominant American
       psychobilly act following the release of their 1999 self-titled debut. Their
       touring in support of the album helped to establish a foothold for psychobilly
       across the United States. Los Angeles-based Hellcat Records, run by Rancid's
       Tim Armstrong, became home to many psychobilly acts, including Tiger Army,
       Devil's Brigade and the Danish groups Nekromantix and HorrorPops, both of
       whom relocated to southern California in the early 2000s. Guana Batz
       members Pip Hancox and Johnny Bowler relocated there as well, moving to San
       Diego where they sometimes perform with Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats
       under the name Guana Cats. Another notable California psychobilly band
       formed in the 1990s was The Chop Tops.

       The genre remained vital in Europe, where new acts continued to appear.
       Asmodeus formed in Amsterdam in 1992, the same year the Kryptonix emerged
       in France, and The Godless Wicked Creeps formed in Denmark the following
       year. The Sharks re-formed in Britain, releasing the album "Recreational Killer".

       Battle of Ninjamanz formed in Japan in 1994 and Os Catalepticos formed in
       Brazil in 1996. Australian act The Living End formed in 1994 and scored a hit
       with the double single "Second Solution/Prisoner of Society" in 1998. It peaked
       for several weeks at #4 on the Australian charts and became the country's
       highest selling single of the decade. The Living End generally describe their
       style as "punkabilly" rather than psychobilly because they do not share the
       genre's fascination with horror imagery, though they do blend punk rock and
       rockabilly at fast tempos, use a double bass and share much the same fanbase
       as psychobilly.

       Musical Style

       Psychobilly is commonly played with a simple guitar/bass/drum/vocal
       arrangement, with many bands consisting of only three members. Often the
       guitarist or bassist will be the lead vocalist, with few acts having a dedicated
       singer. An upright doublebass is often used instead of the electric bass found
       in most rock bands. The use of the upright bass is influenced by 1950s rockabilly
       and rock and roll musicians. The bass is often played in the slap style, in which
       the player snaps the string by pulling it until it hits the fingerboard, or hits the
       strings against the fingerboard, which adds a high-pitched percussive "clack"
       or "slap" sound to the low-pitched notes.

       Some acts have made their upright bass the centerpiece of their stage shows;
       some psychobilly musicians elaborately decorate their upright bass, such as
       Nekromantix frontman Kim Nekroman, whose "coffinbass" is in the shape of
       a coffin, with a headstock in the shape of a cross. Nekroman created his original
       "coffinbass" from an actual child-sized coffin, and has since designed new models
       to achieve better acoustics, as well as collapsibility for easier transportation.
       Another notable act to use a coffin-shaped bass is the Brazilian psychobilly band
       Os Catalepticos. HorrorPops frontwoman Patricia Day also uses an elaborately
       painted and decorated double bass.

       The Cramps performed without a bass player in their early career, using two
       guitars instead. They did not add a bass guitar to their arrangement until 1986,
       and have used an electric bass since that time. Cramps guitarist/bassist Poison
       Ivy sees this as one of the distinctions that separate the band from the psychobilly
       movement: "I think psychobilly has evolved into a gamut of things... It seems to
       involve upright bass and playing songs extremely fast. That's certainly
       not what we do."

       Lyrical Style

       Lyrically, psychobilly bands tend to favor topics and imagery drawn from horror,
       science fiction and exploitation films, violence, lurid sexuality, and other taboo
       topics, usually presented in a comedic or tongue-in-cheek fashion reminiscent
       of the camp aesthetic. Most acts avoid "serious" subjects such as politics. Original
       psychobilly act The Meteors articulated a very apolitical stance to the scene,
       a reaction to the right- and left-wing political attitudes dividing British youth
       cultures of the late 1970s and early 1980s. This attitude has carried through later
       generations of psychobilly. Nekromantix frontman Kim Nekroman describes:
       "We are all different people and have different political views. Psychobilly is all
       about having fun. Politics is not fun and therefore has nothing to do with
       psychobilly!"

       Fashion

       Psychobilly musicians and fans often dress in styles that borrow from 1950s
       rockabilly and rock and roll, as well as 1970s punk fashions. Other aesthetic
       influences include the scooterboy and skinhead subcultures, although not all
       performers or fans choose to dress in these styles. Men often wear brothel
       creepers or Dr. Martens boots and shave their heads into high wedge-shaped
       pompadours or quiffs, military-style crops, or mohawks. The Sharks song
       "Take a Razor to Your Head" articulated the early psychobilly scene's code of
       dress, which was a reaction to the earlier British Teddy Boy movement:
       "When your Mom says you look really nice / When you're dressed up like
       a Ted. It's time to follow this cat's advice / Take a razor to your head".
       Women of the psychobilly subculture frequently model their fashions after
       B-grade horror films and hot rod culture. Tattoos are common among both
       sexes.

       Source: Wikipedia