long have you been doing music ?
Ive been playing music
since the age of 5. I started on
piano and was playing the guitar
Do you have a classical
No classical training per se. I
only took lessons from the age of
5 until 8. More technique,
scales, etc during that time
Does it help you writing
Any musical training will
definitely help your
understanding and knowledge of
musical structure. Im sure
it has some effect on what Im
doing now as a musician and song
How did you get started ?
My father was a jazz musician
through high school and college
and he encouraged me to take up
music. My father played saxaphone.
Did you grow up in a
musical family ?
On my fathers side mostly.
My grandmother sang and played
piano and did a few recordings.
What kind of stuff was
She was a young woman when she
made them in the early 40s.
They were kind of contemporary
music from that time period. Love
songs of a sort, I would say.
Have you always been into
Ive always liked the genre
throughout my life. My mother was
a big Johnny Cash fan and through
that I discovered the Sun stuff
and it went from there. During my
teen years I listened to a lot of
punk and hardcore music (still a
big scene for that genre in
Detroit). I got heavily into
rockabilly/hillbilly music in my
Youre in your mid
30s, so you were a teenager
when the Stray Cats were big in
the States. Did they influence
you one way or another?
I did buy their records when I
was 13 I think. At the time I
think I liked them because they
were doing something different
and influenced by 50s music.
Looking back, they seem to be a
starting point for a lot of
people to get involved in
rockabilly in the United States.
Do you remember the first
record you bought and/or the one
that made you think «Woahhh,
thats what I want to do !»
Well, the first record that made
me want to play rockabilly music
was the Johnny Burnette Rock n
Roll Trio stuff. It was so wild
and out there....imagine
recording all that back in the 50s?!
They must have thought they were
from outer space back then.
When you bought that
Johnny Burnette record, how old
were you and how did you end
buying this record?
I was in my early 20s and
it was the first piece of
rockabilly vinyl that Id
owned. I cant remember
where I got it, but I rember
getting it because I liked their
version of «Train Kept A Rollin».
The rest of the LP really killed
me?! It was hard for me to
imagine music that savage and
wild being recorded during that
What are your influences
as a singer and a songwriter ?
Man, thats a tough one as
there are so many...Johnny
Burnette, Jack Earls, Charlie
Feathers, Joe Clay, Lew Williams,
Curtis Gordon, Johnny Powers are
all at the top of my list, but
there are a ton of guys out there
that had only maybe one record....Jimmy
Carroll for instance.
What about your band,
where do they come from, were
they in other bands before ?
The Hi-Qs has been around
since April 2003. Our drummer
Loney and guitar player Smokey (now
former guitar player) were in a
band called the Big Barn Combo
for several years. Our bass
player Rudy was in the Starlight
Drifters and played in a couple
of earlier groups with Loney.
Both Loney and Rudy play with
Jack Scott as part of the Top
Ranks. Currently, Jimmy Sutton of
the Four Charms has been filling
in duties on lead guitar.
Is he a
permanent member ?
Jimmy Sutton is the permanent
guitar player for the Hi-Qs.
Weve just started working
on a new set of recordings with
him in the last couple of weeks.
What about Steve Jarosz ?
Steve has played with us on
several occasions and Id
surely use him in the future if
the need arrises. Hes got
his own projects here locally
including a fantastic Latin Jazz
Do you remember the first
show you played?
We did a show at a small bar in
Detroit. I remember feeling
relaxed and confident... had a
load of fun with it too. Id
been in too many bands were I had
to worry wether or not one or
more of the other members would
do their part.
Tell us more about your
site «Planet Rockabilly».When
did it start?
Planet Rockabilly is the brain
child of our bass player Rudy. I
guess Ive taken over as the
content manager while Rudy
handles all the technical aspects
of the website. At the time, we
thought there was no worldwide
website that covered the rockin
scene in depth and on a regular
basis. It can be a lot of work,
but its enabled me to meet
a lot of really good people who I
would never have known.
The Rockabilly scene
seems to be reborned by the many
and high quality newcoming bands
from Sates. Tell us more about
the actual american rockabilly
Thats very true! Most of
the newer bands are coming from
Southern California where they
have a very strong scene, but
there are bands scattered
throughout the rest of the
country like the Star Devils,
Buck Stevens and the Buck Shots,
the Star Mountain Dreamers, etc..
Its very difficult to tour
most of the country as the
opportunity make enough money to
pay for the tours are very
limited. Hopefully some inroads
will be made soon and get the
bands coming through our area on
a regular basis. Ive done
some promotion and wont
book shows if I dont think
that I can fairly compensate the
acts for their performance...
also wont make promises I
cant keep either.
Tell us more about your
first album «Hop and Bop»...
We recorded «Hop and Bop» in
two sessions at a local recorded
studio called Woodshed Studios.
Its run by a good friend
and musician Tim Pak. We recorded
live using analog equipment and
ribbon mics. We tried to get that
live 50s sound like you
hear on Sun, Meteor or Mercury
Why beeing produced by
the «El Toro» spanish label ?
We actually produced and recorded
the record ourselves, but
released it on El Toro. We needed
a way to distribute the record
and Carlos does a great job of
putting his bands out there and
getting them heard.
What are the most
memorable gigs you played and/or
went to ?
As a musician, the most fun I can
recall having at a gig recently
was at the High Rockabilly
Weekend in September of 2004. Boy
was that ever a fun party!
As a fan, I think the first Green
Bay weekender was just amazing...so
many artists in one place at one
time. It was almost like a dream.
Im looking forward to
playing there this time around?!
about Green Bay, did you meet «legends»
there youve always wanted
to meet ?
I did get a chance to talk to a
few of the «legends», but I
think I spent most of my time
getting crazy with my
contemporaries !!! It was a wild
party that lasted a long week.
When can we expect a new
Were busy working on new
songs and hope to have some new
recordings put together as soon
as we can get ourselves back in
A last word ?
Id just like to say thanks
to you and to everyone out there
who bought the Hi-Qs CD and
contributes to Planet Rockabilly?!