Used by The Cramps to described their sobre rockabilly influenced brand of punk rock, Gothabilly is a hybrid music genre. Listening to it is like going to a prom where theme is not “Black and White” but “Black and Black”. Similar to Glam Rock, Gothabilly is also firmly intertwined with fashion. Many Gothabilly artists can be distinguished as Gothabilly through there bizzare mix of the kitsch 50s style and goth dress. Like syrup and bacon – it just works. However, band names are where Gothabilly really shines. Among my favourites are Elvis Hitler, Surf Sluts and Cult of the Psychic Fetus. Despite the fact it’s a relatively unknown genre, it’s still active today, so if you have a deep desire to wear 50s pin up with skulls on whilst singing about death, then it’s a career option still open to you.
Song to Ease You In
Bury Them Deep
Bury Them Deep (2006)
This title track epitomises the Gothabilly grungy prom vibes. However there is a hint of angry cowboy to Ghoultown too, best seen in some brilliant guttural hngghs and huehhs. With catchy guitar riffs and mysterious lyrics like “dust drinks the blood of their tears” it’s a track that shows off the genre well.
Song You Will Love
Off the Bone (1980)
As the gods of gothabilly The Cramps had to appear. Starting with the sound of a garbage truck this tracks Elvis-esque tones and fuzzy feedbacky bass make it an entrancing listen. The Cramps perhaps more well-known song Surfin’ Bird was also a contender, but I didn’t want to subject you to it being stuck in your head for the next month. Listen to at risk.
Song for the Fan
David Vanian and the Phantom Chords
‘The House is Haunted’
Big Beats Presents David Vanian and the Phantom Chords (1995)
Adding this purely due to David Vanian with all honesty. After a brief stint as a gravedigger he changed his surname from Lett to Vanian, a play on Transylvania and since them has a become a living entity of Goth. In November 1976, NME stated that Vanian “resembles a runaway from the Addams Family” However, the best part is his TV series on Rockworld TV ‘Dave Vanian’s Dark Screen”. Essentially a darker version of ‘You’ve Been Framed”. Please watch if you want to feel simultaneously disturbed and fascinated. But the track is good too.