Last month, Stray Cats released 40, their first new studio album in 26 years, which the rockabilly trio recorded in celebration of their 40th anniversary.
Bassist Lee Rocker says he, singer/guitarist Brian Setzer and drummer Slim Jim Phantom decided to make the new album after reuniting for four concerts last year.
“[I]t was just magical,” Rocker tells ABC Radio about those shows. “[W]alking out on that stage and seeing 20,000 people singing every word to the songs, we kind of looked at each other [afterward] and [went], ‘We gotta do this. We’re coming up on 40 years.’ So we got into [a] Nashville [studio and] recorded this new record.”
Lee says he’s “so happy” Stray Cats made 40, noting that the group “hit the studio, really, with a hell of a lot of intensity.”
Rocker reveals that 40 was recorded “in around two weeks,” and says, “Maybe by not playing together in the studio…for so many years, it’s sort of like the dam burst, and it just was there, and it was there quickly, which is pretty amazing.”
Stray Cats roots-rock influences are on full display throughout 40, from rockabilly rave-ups like “Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me)” and “Three Time’s a Charm,” to blues-rock gems like “Rock It Off” and “That’s Messed Up,” to the straightforward rocker “Cry Danger,” to the surf instrumental “Desperado.”
“It’s a diverse record in a way, but it’s right down Stray Cats’ alley,” Lee maintains.
Rocker also says that when he, Setzer and Phantom come together, something special happens where “there’s a certain spark, there’s a certain uniqueness.”
Stray Cats launch a 40th anniversary tour June 21 at Spain’s Azkena Rock Festival. The trek’s U.S. leg begins August 3 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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