|Memphis Mike & The Legendary Tremblers, Raw & Uncut
Raw & uncut indeed! LOL... Here's the scoop on the CD "Live & Loud, Big & Ugly, Warts & All"... a DJ from Euroland caught me gigging at the Hall of Fame in Tennessee, really dug a song of mine (Cool Rocking Daddy) and wanted to know where he could get a copy. I coulda sworn I had a studio version (my old bass player insists we never recorded it) at home. As I looked (in vain) for it, I kept coming across a bunch of live tracks. I figured, "what the hell", I'd do it up as a CD (for promo, booking, etc.) and just send him a copy of it. The damned thing went nuts after that! His friends emailed me to get copies, their friends, and so on. Going into a 3rd pressing soon. Actually made a profit the first time I sold them at a show! Damned silly when ya think about it, all the years of really "trying" and then the one time I do something just for shits & giggles, it snowballs on me. I've been getting airplay as far away as australia on the damned thing! Who'da thunk it?
Okay, bio time. Let's see... taught the weeping willows how to cry, oh sorry, that's Johnny Cash. I'm 35 (almost 36, March 20, 2002 for those who want to send cards and presents hahaha) and I've been "in the biz" since I was a teenager (1979) in Steubenville, Ohio, birthplace of Dean Martin. I started out playing in punk bands until 1982 when I joined The Swingin' Caddilacs (rockabilly), first on lead guitar then on bass when our bassplayer quit (I was the unfortunate one who happened to own a bass). The Caddilacs tried to break up in 1990 but still have to do a couple shows a year to satisfy our old fans. Never released anything with them. In the late 1980's, I also did a short stint playing with a cleveland band call David Loy & The Ramrods, kinda rockabilly, R&B stuff. I also recorded an album with Alan Leatherwood on Ohio Moon Records called "Burn It". I was playing bass (again/still) and some guitar.
In 1990, I tried to quit "the biz" but wound up hooking up with a cat named James Morrow and we started The Rowdy Bovines. I was originally supposed to play upright bass but after James heard me goofing around on a guitar at a party (playing Scotty Moore & Cliff Gallup licks) that was that. Guitar player at last! Did the Bovines gig until '94. Released a cassingle (remember them?) "Too Much Of A Man" b/w "Wreckin' Ball"... We've also been bootlegged to hell and back!
I was out in Arizona a few years back, hanging out in some bar and a guy comes up to me and says "Hey! Aren't you the guitar player for The Rowdy Bovines?" I told him that I had been, but we were "no more" and asked how he knew about the band (we'd only ever played the east coast). He said he recognized me from our "album cover photo"! I'm still waiting to come across this particular bootleg. I understand it did okay on the west coast.
In 1995 I started The Tremblers with Shawn Moyer on bass and Bruce Martin on drums. We recorded an album for Ohio Moon (produced by Alan Leatherwood) that is loooong since outta print. I've been thinking about re-issuing it. We had a couple of instrumental tracks out on Pixler Disks and a couple of tracks on the Gene Vincent tribute on Rock Therapy (El Toro) Records outta Spain. I've enjoyed some small bit of notoriety I guess. It was a real hoot at the first Rockabilly Hall of Fame fest when Marco Di Maggio recognized me from my picture in jamboree magazine!
Did another CD with the Tremblers "Diamonds, Cadillacs And Other Lost Gems" (now just about outta print). The rockabilly "scene" on the east coast has died down a good bit in the last couple years but I'm still gigging around whenever and wherever. It actually feels pretty good to be back in the redneck joints and biker bars! That's where r'billy lives, breathes and thrives even if most americans don't know what it's called.
In 1991, I did a brief stint with Laurence Beall & The Sultans (outta Nashville), now known as Lucky & The Hot Dice. I also do gigs whenever possible with Matt Lucas, who'll be playing Hemsby this spring; Leslee "Bird" Anderson (the real queen of rockabilly); Mack Self (I love it! He always calls me "his bass man") and I always play with Sleepy LaBeef when he's in town. Hayden Thompson and I have been wanting to do an album together for years and it looks like we're finally gonna do it this year (having said that, I'm sure I've doomed my self to a disabling stroke! LOL). Rayburn Anthony and I are trying to work some shows together this spring, if at all possible. Last year (2001) at the Hall of Fame fest in Jackson, Dave Crimmen and I wound up being the "house band" for just about everyone... Stan Perkins, Big Al Downing, John Mueller, Eddie Austin, and a whole mess of cats whose names escape me at the moment.
So, what the heck's up with this "Memphis Mike" stuff?" How can a man born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio have a name like "Memphis"? Okay kiddies, here's the tale:
When me & the boys in The Tremblers 1st started playing out, we were just billed as The Tremblers. At one point we had some legal trouble over the name (grow up people, it's not like two bands can't have the same name! Especially when the one doesn't even exist anymore). Sooooooo here's what we did... On our very 1st show (5/5/95 at Luciano's along with the Lords of the Highway) we were billed as the Legendary Tremblers. OK I thought, good start. Mike & The Legendary Tremblers doesn't sound bad. Then, our boy Goo (David Gooski), the (then) owner and proprietor of Gooski'S Bar in the Polish Hill section of town, started teasing me calling me "Memphis Mike" after the band "The Memphis Mafia" got a cease & desist order from THE Memphis Mafia (OK, I guess maybe ya had to be there to get the humor). I got to thinking (admittedly, a rare moment) and "Memphis Mike & The Legendary Tremblers" was born! I didn't have to change the business cards or posters (at least not much anyhow) and yeah, it's a damned long name, but so was The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band! Get over it! It's the music that counts, and I think we've always kept up in that area. Hope that make things clearer than mud!
Okay amigos, mail me, or book us!
Story by Memphis Mike for BlackCat Rockabilly Europe, 2002
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