In celebration of their 40th anniversary, the Stray Cats — Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom, and Lee Rocker — will reunite in Nashville to record their band’s first new album in 25 years, and head out on tour in 2019. No shows have been announced yet for next year’s trek, nor a release date for the new studio album. The last Stray Cats album was was 1992’s, Choo Choo Hot Fish.
This past summer, the rockabilly trio joined forces for their first North American shows in 10 years, with four sold-out headlining concerts. Frontman and guitarist Brian Setzer said in a statement announcing the upcoming sessions, “40 years ago, us three teenagers started a little band to play a musical style that had long since passed, and most folks had never heard of, this rockabilly music. 40 years later we stand together and still get that same thrill and exhilaration from the music. That feeling is what makes the fireworks go off and the sparks fly. It makes the world go around.”
Drummer Slim Jim Phantom added: “Making a new Stray Cats album for 2019 in Nashville seems like the exact right thing, right time, right place, and right band for the gig! We have an album’s worth of new songs that are classic rockabilly while keeping the music and style current and fresh, like always. In other words. . . A Stray Cats album.”
Lee Rocker went on to say, “They say history repeats itself and I now know that’s true. 40 years after Brian, Jim, and I formed the Stray Cats, we are back! I’m so excited to be in the studio with my brothers. I can tell you that this will be the best Stray Cats album we have ever made. The time is right, the songs are great and we’re ready to rock.”
Although Brian Setzer has gone to solo acclaim with his Brian Setzer Orchestra and sold out live tours, the Stray Cats have stated an infrequent — but still ongoing — concern since the group’s first split in 1984. Lee Rocker shed light on how he views the Stray Cats: “There’s no big animosity or problems between us. We all just wanted to branch out and do some different things. That was the band that we were in since we were teenagers. We probably started that band when I was about 16-years-old — our first record came out when I was 17. And, maybe, it’s sort of like your high school girlfriend. I mean, how many of us are still with her, y’know?”
The Brian Setzer Orchestra performs on November 16th at Minneapolis’ State Theatre.