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The story of this band begins, when a girl named Suzy May who lives in the suburbs of Florida, United States, decides to travel to England to form a band in which to mix all the music she loves: Merseybeat, 60’s girl groups, Rockabilly, The Clash, etc. Suzy arrived in London in 1979, very son he finds in the neighbourhood of Camden Town and in Soho the most attractive music scene. Suzy becomes a regular of the Dingwalls and there befriends members of The Pretenders, The Clash and shortly after with The Stray Cats. In this Bohemian and musical effervescence environment, you Will also meet those who Will be your bandmates, The guitar player Tony Berrington and bass player Kevin Green, who came from the Powerpop band, The Favorites and the Rockabilly Parker Semmons drummer, who would later be in The Rimshots, and who after recording their first single would leave the band and be replaced by Mark Roberson, who had just left The Meteors. In these musicians, Suzy finds what he was looking for from the beginning, they are soulmates, unconditional fans of Gene Vincent, Phil Spector and his Wall Of Sound, The Beatles and the Brill Building Pop. Everything was ready, just need to name the band. It was baptized as The Deadbeats.
The Dead Beats were a unique and wonderful band, which unfortunately only recorded on LP and two singles, although in their day they got very Good reviews and shared stages and tours with The Pretenders, Stray Cats, Doctor Feelgood The Pogues, The Clash or The Inmates. The band had influences from Johnny Kidd, Vince Taylor, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Joe Meek and his fabulous productions, The Ronettes, The shangri las, etc… On the other hand, they had influences from English Pub Rock or New Wave bands at that time. The lp was produced by Vic Maile (The Who, The 101’ers, Motörhead, Brinsley Schwarz, Doctor Feelgood, Eddie & The Hot Rods, The Pirates, The Vibrators, The Inmates, Screaming Lord Sutch, Dogs, The Godfhathers, etc…) and the sound has nothing to do with any band of those years, it’s amazing. All are their own songs except a wild version of Swan Lake, an instrumental of those who make history. The best description that can be made of this band is that made by a French music magazine of the time, “it’s as if Joe Meek had mixed Johnny Kidd, The Pretenders and The Shangri Las”. As if all this were not enough, the lp has an amazing cover. This album is one of my 10 favourite albums of the 80’s
The Deadbeats were an atypical band, although they were on the scene of British Rockabilly, both for the aesthetics and for many of their musical influences, they did not quite fit within that musical movement. His only, On Tar Beach, in 1985 shows some styles quite distant from the British Rockabilly Revival sound or the emerging Psychobilly of those years. Suzy May’s voice had a certain resemblance to Chrissie Hynde, but May showed a touch of vulnerability and a dramatic touch very much in line with Mary Weiss of The Shangri-Las, which set her apart from other female singers on the Rockabilly scene. Although Rockabilly was present among the ingredients that made up the band’s sound, Suzy May injected vintage pop elements from girl groups, surf music, and garage rock. This mix gave the band a unique personality and style. May was the most imaginative person in the band, Singer, guitar, keyboard, and lead songwriter of the group. Her compositions were beyond the limits of what the revivalists groups of the moment were, but also the skills of the guitar Tony Berrington created an impressive sound and atmosphere, even when based on riffs we have heard before, clear winks to Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Jonn Leyton, Vince Taylor, etc, recreating a Rock & Roll sound typically British. The bass player Kevin Green y el drummer Mark Robertson were a very solid and versatile rhythm section, which added a jazzy atmosphere to calmer themes while faster songs sound like pure and blunt Rock & Roll. An example of the forcefulness of this rhythm section can be found in its version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, without a doubt the best Rock & Roll code version ever recorded. The band was very well received by the music press and the general public in France and the United Kingdom. In France, were they toured with Stray Cats, the press raved and extensive articles were devoted to them in the trade press. They also performed several shows for television. Still, their success lasted, after the launch of their “On Tar Beach” the band disappeared, a pitty. They were a very good and imaginative band, it is interesting to imagine what they could have done on their second album. The Big Beat Records label released in 2014 a cd in which their only 1985 Lp appears, plus their first single from 1982, quite rare to find, and some songs from the Lp in its demo version, very different from their final recording, and very interesting, by the way.
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