October 2008

Lucy: All right, another founding member of Los Straitjackets mysteriously appeared on Mystery Island--the one and only EDDIE ANGEL!

Hi, Eddy!

Before we ask you about your awesome work with Los Straitjackets—tell us a little about The Planet Rockers and The Neanderthals. Do you still get to perform with either of those bands?

Eddie: The Planet Rockers were a rockabilly band formed in 1989 in Nashville, TN. The original members were me, Sonny George (vocals), Bill Swartz (drums), and Mark Winchester(bass). The original line up disbanded in 1992 when Mark went to play with Emmy Lou Harris and later on with Brian Setzer. Sonny and I continued to play festivals in Europe but in 2005 Sonny had a nervous breakdown and we haven’t done anything since. This year at the high rockabilly festival in Spain I did a tribute to The Planet Rockers with The Reno Brothers (from Holland).

The Neanderthals are my garage frat-rock band featuring my best friend Johnny Rabb on vocals. The Neanderthals started in 1994. We recorded our first record at Toe Rag studio in London and it featured many friends including Boz Boorer (guitarist for Morrissey) on sax. We still record and tour. We are doing dates in November with The Trashmen and Davie Allan and The Arrows.

Lucy: Sounds great. How did you and Daddy-O Grande get together to form Los Straitjackets?

Eddie: We met in Nashville in 1986. We had both moved here to pursue music careers. Danny had been in The Raybeats, a very popular instro band from NYC in early 80s. He came to see my band perform at the Exit-In in Nashville in 1986 and was impressed that I did a few Link Wray numbers. He made it a point to introduce himself to me after the gig.

Lucy: What kind of guitar do you play and why?

Eddie: I play a Dipinto Galaxie. I like the way it looks and sounds. Plus Chris Dipinto is a great guy and is very supportive of us.

Lucy: If you had to give us a superlative guitar player, if you really had to draw a line on the beach mud, who was/is the greatest guitar player of all time—and how did that person specifically influence your approach to bringing in the heavies with Los Straitjackets?

Eddie: Okay these questions are hard because there are players you think are great but not your favorite ... I love Chuck Berry, Link Wray, George Harrison, Scotty Moore. The greatest to me is Chet Atkins ... My favorite is Link Wray. Link brought attitude and style to guitar playing and everything he did was cool.

Lucy: "Rumble" makes me want to take my clothes off, so I know what you mean. Tell us about the 60’s festival Las Vegas Grind and Chicago Exotica.

Eddie: My wife Melanie and I were promoters of these events. The LVG was held at The Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas. Some of the acts that we had were: The Trashmen, The Wailers, The Standells, The Remains, Andre Williams, Dolemite, The Neatbeats, Jackie and The Cedrics, The Liars, The Neanderthals, Los Straitjackets ... As for Chicago Exotica, it was a Tiki Party featuring Hawaiian music, dancers, vendors, B movies. Some past acts included: The Trashmen, Los Straitjackets, The Neanderthals, Jon Rauhaus, Haole Kats, Barefoot Hawaiians.

Lucy: Please share a funny “road” story/antidote or something crazy funny that has happened at one of your shows.

Eddie: Well probably the time we went to Moscow for 2 weeks in 1998. They asked us to be "guest" bartenders at a bar that had a ladies nite. On ladies nite all the ladies got to drink free for 3 hours! They all drank straight vodka for 3 hours and were so drunk they were passing out and dancing on the bar. Then they had male strippers come in an do a show that made it crazier, and then after 3 hours they let men in, charging them a lot of money. But it was a crazy scene, like out of a movie. Danny probably told you his story what happened to him that nite, it's one of the best road stories.

Lucy: Have you guys ever had beer bottles thrown at you?

Eddie: I was hit by a beer bottle once. It happened in Amsterdam at The Milky Way about 10 years ago with Los Straitjackets. If anyone knows who did it, I'd love to know. It hit me in the hand and hurt bad for days.

Lucy: Tell us about working on Psycho Beach Party. We love beach movies!

Eddie: The part that we were in took place in a huge sound stage and we sat around waiting all day. It was quite boring, but the outcome was pretty cool.

Lucy: It was totally cool! I remember hearing one of your tunes on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, too, but I can’t remember which one. Do you remember? How did that come about? Did you have any interaction with Joss Whedon as to which song would work best on the show?

Eddie: I actually have no idea what song was used ... but we have our music used a lot in TV and movies.

Lucy: I'll have Brad [pop culture unlimited] look into it. What was the Grammy Awards like? Seems like a cuckoo circus.

Eddie: It was really exciting to be part of the Grammies. Most of the awards were given during the afternoon, which was not televised. That was pretty cool because Tony Bennett showed up. People were very curious about us since we were wearing wrestling masks with tuxedos and Converse sneakers. The televised part took place at the Staple Center, a huge basketball arena. That part was a bit of a circus. We got to see The White Stripes, Black Eyed Peas, Outkast, and Earth, Wind and Fire. We then went to a private party hosted by Wolfgang Puck. The presentation was amazing. We drank martinis from ice sculptures. Later we went to the big party that had a band in every room and a different spread of food in each room. We saw The Bar Kays. Then at midnight we turned back into pumpkins.

Lucy: Is there a song that you’ve always wanted to cover but haven’t been able to record yet?

Eddie: I can't think of any one song but I'd like to do an album of standards and a mambo album.

Lucy: Do you have a favorite Los Straitjackets tune?

Eddie: "University Boulevard."

Lucy: Excellente! Thank you so much.

Love, Lucy


Lucy: Your favorite baseball team/why?

Eddie: NY Yankees, I grew up in Upstate NY. I've been a fan since I was 7. Baseball is the only sport I follow.

Lucy: Your favorite Beatles song?

Eddie: "She Loves You."

Lucy: Totally, one of the best songs ever, and Eddie Angel’s favorite ice cream?

Eddie: Chocolate.

Lucy: Why is Elvis important?

Eddie: Elvis didn't invent rock 'n' roll but he embodied it. Everything came together; he was like a black person inside a white body. And he was the greatest white blues singer. When you see pictures or TV performances of him in 1956 you see the coolest person who ever walked the face of the Earth. I love Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bill Haley and I think they all have a claim to the title "king of rock 'n' roll" but I have to give it to Elvis.



“Eddie Angel Interview" by Lucy Hell.
Edited/formatted by Bradley Mason Hamlin. © 2008 by Mystery Island Publications. Published: 10.11.08.
All rights reserved.

Photos of Eddie Angel and/or Los Straitjackets and other bands from the collection of Eddie Angel.