Brian Setzer - vocals, guitar; Slim Jim Phantom - bass, vocals; Lee Rocker - drums, vocals
Formed in 1979 on Long Island, New York the Stray Cats were singing for the birds when they initially formed. The US alternative music scene was still reeling from the impact of the punk movement and the Cats' retro-rockabilly vibe didn't have many takers.
Convinced they had something, guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer, bassist Lee Rocker (born Leon Drucker), and drummer Slim Jim Phantom (James McDonnell) high-tailed it to England, where a rockabilly revitalization scene was in full swing. There, they met guitarist/singer Dave Edmunds, who took the group under his wing. Edmunds produced and played on the band's two initial UK album recordings, on which a number of hits emerged, among them, "Rock This Town", and "Stray Cat Strut."
The group returned to America just in time for the emergence of MTV. Their highly-stylish '50s rockabilly look was merged with a slick retro sound and the band exploded. Between 1982 and 1983, propelled by the success of Built For Speed (the US debut that merged the best of the band's two UK releases), the Stray Cats became a highly-successful touring act, stateside.
Fame and fortune had a hard impact on the trio, and Setzer dissolved the band in 1984. Setzer formed his own band, and Phantom and Rocker hooked up with ex-Bowie guitarist Earl Slick to form Phantom Rocker & Slick. Neither camps saw much commercial success, so in 1986 the three Cats kissed and made up. However, a string of album-length efforts failed to produce anything as noteworthy as their early material. The Cats split for good in 1992 after the release of a poorly-received covers-record, Original Cool. The Stray Cats reunited for tours in 2004 and 2007.
This King Biscuit show was recorded during promotion of the LP Blast Off!, considered a comeback record by many. Among the highlights here are Blast Off! tracks "Rockabilly Rules O.K." and "Slip, Slip, Slippin' In," earlier tracks "Sexy + 17," and "Built For Speed," and classic hits "Stray Cat Strut" and "Rock This Town."