Ronny Weiser Growing
up Jewish in repressive 1950s Italy spurned Ron Weiser to believe America,
with its cowboy heroes and rockabilly stars, was the land where dreams
came true for the kid who didn't fit in at Catholic school. The kid
who wanted so desperately to wear his American blue jeans that he died
a pair of white jeans brown and tried to pass them off as uniform khakis.
And got kicked out
of school. By the time Ron started attending UCLA, 'cowboy' was an adjective
for reckless self-interest and the music industry was run by hippies.
Horrified, Ron founded the "Rollin' Rock", the world's smallest record
label. He recorded original legends
like Gene "Be-Bop-A-Lula" Vincent and up-and-coming young artists like
LAs own kings of the blues, "The Blasters". In the 70s Rollin' Rock
transformed the UK disco scene and the LA punk scene with the revival
of the slappin' bass. Rollin' Rock became a cult favorite with the likes
of Quentin Tarantino (who used the Rollin' Rock track "That Certain
Female" in "Kill Bill"). Ron is credited by many (even some who are
not his close personal friends) with bringing the standup bass back
to rock n' roll. Ron still rocks,
records and wears his jeans every day in Vegas where he is happily married
and raising two
sons who, despite their good looks, insist they have no interest in
becoming rock stars. Rollin'
Rock has no website and a lot of Ron's greatest albums are out of print,
so to buy you will have to
resort to Ebay. Look for "Rollin' Rock Got the Sock" to find "That Certain
Female" by Charlie Feathers and "Rockabilly Music" by Ray Campi, both
featured in this documentary. You can also try www.hightone.com. They'll
sell if they still have a copy lying around to sell. Check
out Ronny on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame website here.
guitarist and music historian Skip Heller grew up in Philadelphia during
the rockabilly draught of the 70s. He quickly learned to dig through juke
box dumps to rescue the early Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis discs that
would become part of his musical influences. Inspired by his friend, Blasters
cofounder Dave Alvin, Skip made LA his musical home. Here he produced albums
for several artists, including Ray Campi. He engineered the comeback of
LA legend Lalo Guerrero, first by transcribing Lalo's scores and later by
taking Lalo on tour. Skip composes for movies and commercials and has written
liner notes for everything from Gene Vincent to Barry Brothers albums. As
a guitarist, Skip has recorded on several jazz labels, including Hyena.
He has also self released several albums, as well as a book about life on
the road as a working musician. Support this working musician by buying
one of Skip's CDs at www.cdbaby.com. My favorites are "Homegoing" (because
of a track with very sexy vocals by Dave Alvin) and "Fakebook" (because
of an awesome version of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse"). Check
out Skip, his life and his work here.
Timmers, founder, Rockabilly Hall of Fame
makes his home in Nashville,
and is the
only person to have created an online database of rockabilly history with
his Rockabilly Hall of Fame website,
where you can not only find extensive information on those artists who played
a key role in the origin of this distinctinctly American art form, but where
you can also find listings for worldwide rockabilly events.
Kennedy / Wild Promotions, started
his career in promotions in the seething, organic world of the London club
scene. Now making his home in Burbank, Reb has channeled his Irish
heart and intensity on opening doors for young artists whose hearts cling
to the raw, authentic sound of American roots rockabilly. Check
out Reb, his shows, his bands and his merch here.
Bernie Dexter: What
a hottie, huh? I first spied Bernie Dexter when she and her husband,
rockabilly rocker Levi Dexter, were watching a Carlos and the Bandidos show
at VLV 03. Unaware at the time of who they were, I simply fell in
love with them as objects of desire, a couple so cute I wanted to order
them up as bobble head dolls for my dashboard. Only later did I uncover
the source of their natural sex appeal and come to find Bernie to be the
most charming, generous model a filmmaker could hope for. I am quite
sure that it is Bernie's hot pinup on the cover of my demo that scored me
my contract with my distributor, Red Eye. One of the things I love
most about Bernie is that every time she emails she attaches a new pinup.
It's like getting a candy-gram. What do we have to do to
get this girl to make us a calendar?
A founding member of the legendary punk rock band X, DJ Bonebrake changed
the history of rock n' roll with his drumming, a genius that is at home
with complex swing rhythms as it is with carnal, seminal punk. Charming,
sexy, generous and one of the defining artists of LA rock, DJ speaks in
the film about LA rock in the 80s and, if you're lucky enough to be in town
to catch him, plays live with the Bonebrake Synchopaters. Check out the
DJ's latest info here.
Gracia, The Drag-N-Shop,
grew up in a car-obsessed family. He says his defining moment as an
artist came the day he, as a mere tot wandering Disneyland, heard a sound
one chilly night instantly captivated. He followed it to a bandstand and
found Harry James jamming on a trumpet so hard the hot air coming out made
it seem like the horn was on fire. Joseph discovered swing and the call
of the siren that would forever make him crave "hitting that note"
with his own art, custom car design.. Joseph runs the Drag-N-Shop
in Sante Fe Springs where we interviewed him for this film.
Chuy became a significant LA Rockabilly DJ in early 2001 and in Rebel Beat
gives us a tour of his home town, East LA, just a few miles from Olvera
Street, LA's historic center. Since appearing in Rebel Beat DJ Chuy
has enrolled in Pasadena
City College as a radio major.
John & Jillian Villanueva
were a couple who I often captured on film dancing. I would note them
in my logs as "cute couple". I was lucky to have the
cameras there the night John made a surprise proposal to Jillian at
Rudolpho's in Silver Lake.
John and Jillian invited us into their rockabilly love nest to see
their hearth and home, retro style. Soon after, John was shipped out to
serve the US as a Marine in Iraq. For me, John and Jillian symbolize a lot
about LA Rockabilly, a community made up of hard
working, artistic people who have crafted a version of life in LA that mirrors
their unique taste and family values. Check
out Jillian's makeup services here and John's
MySpace page here.
Estrella, The Sunshine Brothers Known
as "Suavier" because of his penchant for sexy skirts, Javier is
a fixture of the LA Rockabilly community not only because he can be found
dancing with a pretty girl at ever show, but because he also performs as
a member of the The Sunshine Brothers.
Also on his resume are those two most common LA credits: Actor and Bartender,
and he's appeared in TV cameos and served Brad Pitt at the Emmys. Javier
generously shared both his family stories and photos with
this film. Check
out his band here.