Happy Birthday Brian Setzer

posted by Kenny Young -

Brian Robert Setzer was born April 10, 1959 in Massapequa, Long Island, NY. His love of early Rock-n-Roll, Rockabilly and punk rock led to his forming The Tomcats with his brother.  This is where Brian cut his teeth playing the clubs in New York and honing his chops. Within a couple of years, that group would transition in new members bassist Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom.  By 1980, they were playing under the name the Stray Cats.  The legend goes: that they sold their instruments to pay for plane tickets and flew to London to make a go of it. As luck and timing would have it, Rock Star Dave Edmunds, he of "I Hear you Knockin'" -fame, caught their act and helped get them signed to Arista records. He would also serve as Producer on that debut album. It was released in the U.K. at first in 1981. It proved to be a success, which led to The Stray Cats American debut a year later, Built for Speed. They proved to be a hit on THIS side of the Pond as well. Thanks to heavy rotation of their videos on MTV "Rock This Town" "Stray Cat Strut", and "(She's) Sexy + 17", to name a few.  Ironically, they called it quits at the peak of their career by 1984. 

Brian Setzer would see solo success by helping to launch the swing/jump blues movement in the 1990's and forming the 19-piece, BSO (Brian Setzer Orchestra). Led by his giant, hollow-body Gretsch guitars  they scored a Billboard hit with a cover of the Louis Prima tune "Jump, Jive an' Wail".  The early 2000's saw about an album per year and more BSO World Tours.  Among his travels he has sold 13 million records, Won three Grammy Awards and received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award throughout his career. 

Fast Forward to January 2. 2018.  Setzer announced through Facebook page that The Stray Cats would reunite for one show in Las Vegas this month. June 24th, you can catch Brian's "Rockabilly Riot" as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series 

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