Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot! hits Japan with an eight-show run. The tour kicks off in Sapporo and ends in Tokyo! Click here for a full list of tour dates. Don’t forget to tag your photos using #SetzerJapan2016
When I was 12 years old, I stayed up late one Friday night and saw a wild band on the Tonight Show. In the middle of the song the singer got on the floor, rolled on his back and started kicking his legs in the air. The whole band was just dead cool, playing totally unique music and at the same time having a radical, dangerous edge. Johnny Carson announced at the end “Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks!”
The next morning I bugged my Mom until she took me to the record store, where I bought “Where’s My Money,” a record that has been one of my all-time favorites ever since. I am so honored to have met Dan in 1999 and to have had the opportunity to work with him and his music ever since. It has also been genuinely heart-warming to see the respect so many others have for Dan’s work, which became very evident throughout the recording of his latest albums.
I truly loved Dan and will miss him. He was in every sense – as a human, musician, singer, writer, comedian, performer – the real deal and a true original.
Rest in peace, Dan.
Banding Together’s 2016 fundraiser was a huge success, raising a ton of funds that will help provide music therapy, mentorships, and instruments to youth with special needs! Learn more about Banding Together here!
Check out Dave Kaplan and the jam session members performing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams!
Surfdog is a proud supporter of Banding Together, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide music therapy, mentorships, and instruments to youth with special needs. Banding Together’s annual fundraiser will be at The Belly Up, Saturday, January 30th at 1:30 pm. It will be a fun afternoon with live music from Steph Johnson, Dr. Seahorse and The Lovebirds. Click here or more details and tickets!
(From Surfdog/DKM Owner Dave Kaplan)
I only met him once.
While my wife was on the Glass Spider Tour, I randomly ended up in an elevator at the Four Seasons/LA, and we rode up 8 floors together.
But David Bowie is the reason I no longer work as a CPA, in my 3-piece suit, working for Ernst & Young.
In 1983 I got a call at my desk at Ernst (then Ernst & Whinney) in San Diego, with my old college bud on the other end of the line, begging me to come up and interview for the Head of Finance gig at his dad’s merchandising company.
I told him I had no interest whatsoever in moving to LA, for any salary. And…by the way…what’s a merchandising company?
I’m from Phoenix, AZ and knew nothing about the music business, or anyone IN the music business.
He said, “listen, just come up and meet me in Anaheim for the David Bowie concert.” Suddenly I was at the Bowie show (Serious Moonlight tour), with a Backstage Pass, at a stadium!! Turns out that Bowie was one of the company’s merchandising clients.
That was it. Magical night. Are you kidding—be around THIS for my job?? Not to mention in high school I had basically learned to play guitar from the Ziggy Stardust album (“Hang On To Yourself,” “Suffragette City,” “Ziggy Stardust,” etc.).
I’d still be auditing soulless empire-building greedy-pig environmental-rapist corporations.
I’m listening to all the songs, in disbelief.
He changed everything. Genius. The very definition of Rock Star.
Ever wonder who all those artists are that Sublime thanked on “Thanx” from 40oz to Freedom? Check out the playlist now on Spotify!
Congrats to Brian on the most successful BSO Christmas Tour in the 12-year history of his Christmas franchise! Read below to hear what the press had to say about the 12th Annual Christmas Rocks Tour!
“Reimagining Christmas songs has been done before, but never this unusually and rarely this well. The reason for that became clear as the night wore on: He is not just that tattooed, pompadoured skinny guy from the Stray Cats. He is a Musician, with a capital M…what Setzer does is become music… his guitar face is one of pure joy, for him and for us. But the depth of his immersion into the music allows him to turn otherwise holiday chestnuts like ‘Here Comes Santa Claus,’ ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’ ‘Jingle Bells’ and especially ‘Angels We Have Heard on High’ into something wholly different. And there’s not enough praise for the genius in morphing the theme song for the cartoon ‘The Flintstones’ into a new holiday classic, ‘Yabba-Dabba Yuletide.’”
–Chuck Yarborough, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
“Setzer and his players were truly rocking. Whether it was ‘Boogie Woogie Santa,’ ‘Fishnet Stockings’ or a riotous ‘Let’s Shake,’ BSO rocked this town. Setzer stretched out often on guitar, showing a wide vocabulary of rock, rockabilly, jazz, blues and surf licks.”
–Jon Bream, STAR TRIBUNE (Minneapolis, MN)
“Ninety minutes of frenetic musical joy. That’s what Brian Setzer and his big band gave Omaha for an early Christmas present Sunday night…Setzer brought [his] 12th annual Christmas tour to the Orpheum Theater with all the relentless enthusiasm and unparalleled electric-guitar virtuosity — fully emulated by his 20 bandmates — that have made ‘must-hear’ experiences out of both his recordings and concerts…Setzer’s guitar solos are beyond description. He uses virtually every trick in his vast arsenal of styles, speeds and sound effects, not only throughout his concerts but seemingly in every song. And he throws maximum energy into his performance from the first song to the last…If music isn’t fun, there isn’t much reason to do it. Few teach us that lesson better than Brian Setzer.”
–Todd von Kampen, OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
“There can’t be a more entertaining rocking Christmas show than the one guitar wizard Brian Setzer and his swing orchestra puts on.”
–Stephen Peterson, THE SUN CHRONICLE (Attleboro, MA)
“Yuletide music was delivered with style that made the Kirby Center [in Wilkes-Barre, PA] feel like a sock hop during The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour…The freight train of sound delivered rockabilly and swing versions of classic Christmas tunes as well as Setzer’s originals and better known covers, and the crowd made merry all through the night.”
–Matt Mattei, THE TIMES LEADER (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
“Leading his Brian Setzer Orchestra, a 19-piece big band of talented players, at the Fox Theater [in Spokane, WA] Saturday night, the retro-rocking guitar man delivered in ways Santa could only dream of…Veering from holiday songs to cuts from his work in the Stray Cats and as a solo artist, Setzer kept all the spirits in the house high with energetic tunes, thankful stage banter and incredible musicianship on songs that moved from jazz to swing, rockabilly to, during the encore, classical.”
–Dan Nailen, THE INLANDER (Spokane, WA)
“Featuring hot-rodded holiday tunes souped up with spanked upright bass lines à la rockabilly/rock forefather Fred Maddox; intricate saxophone, trumpet, and trombone arrangements delivered by a 13-piece horn section; and epic guitar breaks courtesy of Setzer, this concert puts you smack in the middle of that unlikely intersection where Christmas carols, revved-up rockabilly riffs, big band swing, and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite all collide…At the Orchestra’s performance at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles Friday night, Setzer, naturally, handled lead vocal duties (as he has since he burst into the national spotlight in the early ’80s while fronting the Stray Cats), singing everything from Christmas classics such as ‘Here Comes Santa Clause’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ to Stray Cats staples such as ‘Rock This Town’ and ‘Stray Cat Strut.’ That being said, the biggest voice on stage Friday was whichever Gretsch 6120 or 6120 Hot Rod Brian Setzer signature model happened to be in Setzer’s hands at any given moment…Setzer knows a secret: Almost no one—not your grandpa, not your friends, not your kids—can help but get swept away by the all-consuming tsunami of harmony and groove that rolls off the stage when a great big band is playing. The music is that irresistible. The first guitarist ever to lead a bona fide big band, Setzer has created an ensemble that takes his two favorite genres of music to the next level—his Orchestra is the Earth, Wind & fire of rockabilly, the Led Zeppelin of jump swing. And though there are plenty of guitar cognoscenti who have yet to realize it, Setzer’s annual Christmas extravaganza just happens to be one of the best guitar shows around.”
– Jude Gold, GUITARPLAYER.COM
“Setzer gave an amazing performance, showcasing both his musical talent and his stage presence. From wailing on his guitar and crooning his effortless and powerfully smooth vocals, to balancing on a bass drum and dancing with Santa Claus, it was impossible not to get caught up in the excitement, the energy, and the rockin’ music that filled the auditorium. For nearly two hours Setzer jumped and jived around the stage with untiring vitality and finesse”
–Kathy Bradshaw, WHEREYAT.COM
“The energy in the room lit up like the Christmas decorations that adorned each side of the stage…What happened over the next 90 minutes or so was the switching-on of the virtual ‘Holiday Light Switch’ as the party cranked into full gear. Besides holiday classics, Setzer and company played revved up versions of Stray Cat classics like ‘Stray Cat Strut’ and a killer version of ‘Sexy And 17’…Fake snow drifted from the rafters, Christmas lights twinkled, snowmen lit up, and it was like being a child again with the whole magic of Christmas vibe. Visions of sugarplums, saxophones, trombones, stand-up basses, drums, and Gretsch guitars were dancing in my head, and my feet were dancing as well, as the room emptied out. A good time indeed. Long live the Brian Setzer Orchestra.”
– Jordan Wolsch, VINTAGEROCK.COM
“Brian Setzer is a fantastic performer and the talented groups of musicians who make up his orchestra make glorious music together. The crowd was singing and dancing along with the music; some in ugly holiday sweaters and others with their young children whose faces were filled with joy and wonderment. This was my first time seeing one of his Christmas shows and it was a definite treat to experience his 12th Annual “Christmas Rocks” show.”
– Steve Rose, GUITARDISORDER.COM
“Brian Setzer’s performance was top notch. His vocals were superb and his guitar playing was second to none. Well-oiled seasoned musicians, who all played harmoniously together, accompanied him, and this fun, energetic family oriented event is not to be missed. Some may say the show gets better each season, and they may be right. It is hard not to look ahead to the 2016 holiday season as The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Christmas Rocks! show is definitely a holiday tradition like no other.”
–Mike Perciaccante, CRYPTICROCK.COM
“Setzer sauntered onto the stage and, from the first strum of his iconic Gretsch guitar, reminded the audience why he is one of the musical greats of our time…Brian Setzer Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Rocks’ tour is a must see show for all Christmas loving fans of rockabilly and swing music.”
–Johnny Hall, CONCERTLIVEWIRE.COM
“Setzer seems to outdo himself each year as far as the show goes. Making it an annual event each year seems to make the upcoming holiday season even more enjoyable.”
–Joseph Suto, ROCKSHOWCRITIQUE.COM
“Brian Setzer kicked off the holiday season with a swingin’ Christmas show…Combining many of the Stray Cats’ hits, a few of BSO standards, and a handful of swingin’ Christmas tunes, last Friday’s show was easily one of the best shows to hit the Rocksino [in Northfield, OH] all year.”
–Brian Lumley, NEOMUSICSCENE.COM
“I was highly impressed and at times speechless with what was taking place on stage. From classic Stray Cats tune to hits from BSO and Christmas songs with that rockabilly flair, the show was a spectacular event that highlighted Setzer’s guitar skills. His band’s extraordinary talent and ability to keep the show rocking along made for another great show performed by Brian Setzer. His Orchestra and Leslie & Julie, the two vixens in the back, added more flair and made this the Christmas Concert event of the Year!”
–Paul Wilkins, MUSIC BLEND ONLINE
“This was an amazing experience I had long dreamed about and will never forget. If there’s anyone who can put on the most rocking Christmas show, it’s Brian Setzer.”
– Alex Kluft, EXAMINER.COM
“And then there’s Mr. Setzer – an absolute technician on the guitar. I’ve seen many of the greats – Clapton, Townshend, Eddie, Nuno, Petrucci, Lifeson, Dover, Farner, Walsh and many more. But seeing Setzer up there was just killer. Writing this post, I Googled “100 best guitarists” and the first link that pops up is the Rolling Stone list. There are some bada$ guitarists on there – but Setzer is nowhere to be found on that list. My point – he should be. I was blown away by his chops. He was lightning fast AND clean. Every note was perfect. He made those Gretsch guitars sing like nobody’s business. This cat can PLAY – and it would have been an honor to watch him for another 2 hours.”
–Jim Soloman, THESOLILAMA.COM
December’s Limited Edition Song Lyric Tee:
Another classic, Bad Fish brings to mind times when you’re on the “wagon” but fall off the boat and start drinking like a fish again, thus “Baby Are You A Bad Fish Too”
Click here to check out all the threads!