Stray Catsis a rockabilly band which was formed by Brian Setzer (guitar player & vocalist), school friends, Lee Rocker (born as Leon Drucker), and Slim Jim Phantom (born as James McDonnell). The band was formed in 1979, in Massapequa, Long Island, New York The groupís style of music was influenced by Sun Records artists of the 1950's, such as Bill Haley & the Comets. The group did not have much success in the New York area so they moved to EnglandThey had several hit singles during the early 1980's in the U. K. And also in the U. S.. The group met Dave Edmunds, a producer, in London after a gig and he agreed to work with them. Dave had worked as a solo artist and also with the group called, Rockpile, in the past. The Stray Cats released their self titled debut album in 1981, in England, with the Arista Records label. The group was an immediate hit and had three hits that year. They were, Runaway Boys, Rock This Town, and Stray Cat Strut. The follow up album called, Gonna Ball, was not as successful. The group then moved back to the U. S. And signed with the EMI America record label. In 1982, they released the album, Built For Speed, and it went to the top of the charts thanks to MTV airplay. Their next release was, Rant Ní Rave With the Stray Cats, and it was almost as successful as Built For Speed. The release of these two albums in Britain were also big hits the following year. Several other hits followed these.
After the success came some personality conflicts because of the way the members handled their new found fame. In late 1984the band split up. Setzer went on to pursue a solo career while Rocker and Phantom formed a trio called, Phantom Rocker & Slick, Slick being Earl Slick, who was a former David Bowie member. They changed their tune to a more rock Americana style instead of the rockabilly style they had used in the past.
The Stray Cats got back together in 1986, in Los Angeles, and recorded, Rock Therapy, but it did not receive much attention. A little later, they split up again. In 1989, they got back together again and released the album called, Blast Off. They also went on tour with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Nile Rodgers went with the group into the studio and recorded, Letís Go Faster, in 1990. In 1992, they released, Choo Choo Hot Fish, and Original Cool, but neither album got any attention so the group called it quits again. The band reunited yet again in 2004 for a month long tour of Europe. A live album was recorded from the tour and it was called, Rumble In Brixton. As of August 2007, the group were touring the U. S. With ZZ Top and The Pretenders. They were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006. They have released 12 albums and 7 singles during their career so far.
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