It is with sadness that I must report the departure of The Screamin’ Sugar Skulls. A band I had the pleasure of bearing witness to just this April 2012. The band decided it is the right time for them to split despite having been well received on the Rockabilly / Psychobilly circuit for some time.
I promptly look back over my diary notes.
It was my belief that Psychobilly was dead. The days of The Klub Foot, bleached jeans and Jack Geach bowling shirts seemed a distant faded memory, partly because of the drugs, and the nights of slashing ourselves up at The Headstone Hotel and sleeping in graveyards have become faint scars on the arm of someone who moved on long ago from a scene that fast became a sad parody of itself.
Apart from wanting to look at a woman in a rubber dress, I was intrigued
Even The Cramps turned their backs on the monster. So I was scratching my head as to why I was standing in front of a stage lit like a 3D B-Movie and sealed off with police barrier tape in Hicksville. Apart from wanting to look at a woman in a rubber dress, I was intrigued, that’s why. It had been a long time indeed since I had seen a Psychobilly experience in these parts, and feeling in a nostalgic frame of mind, I decided to bear witness.
From amongst the smoke and strobes came The Screamin’ Sugar Skulls. Booted, buckled and braced, like a beer -fueled, Monster Munch-chomping rampage of a Psychobilly whirlwind that swept across the stage at Long Island, bringing tales from the dark side to the sleepy town of Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire.
a world our parents warned us about if we were caught masturbating, didn’t finish our homework, eat our greens or say our prayers at bedtime
The slightly surreal trio provided a nightmarish peek into a world our parents warned us about if we were caught masturbating, didn’t finish our homework, eat our greens or say our prayers at bedtime. Without a bass in sight, the stage was non the less devoured by lead guitarist Kevin Nightingale and his cheekbones, thrashing out seductive riffs on his Gretsch, the evil eye and beat of Nick Kemp’s relentless percussion, driving the band like a steam train on a collision course with the Devil and Sarah: the bands flame-haired, panty-flashing, sneering front woman.
She shook her rubber dipped tail for all she was worth, fell to her knees, deep throated her mic and shrieked out the vocal like a Wanda Jackson from hell. They were dark, they were dirty and they were dangerous. They were all the sick and scary things that make life worth living. It was music for twisted degenerates. The embodiment of kick arse Psycho / Rockabilly. On this night Psychobilly lived, somebody flicked the switch and the Monster was ALIVE.
ALIVE I TELL YOU!
Rickmansworth nor I may ever be the same again.
Images: Carl Byron Batson