Former Stray Cats members
color="#003163">Lee Rockerand Slim
Jim Phantom, rockabilly wild man the
color="#003163">Reverend Horton Heat
color="#003163">Reverend Horton Heat, sometimes rootsy
crooner Chris Isaak, roots-rock
pioneers the Blasters and insurgent
country band the Knitters head the
bill July 1 at the sixth annual Hootenanny, an all-day rockabilly
blowout held each year at Oak Canyon Ranch in Irvine, Calif.
This will be a rare, if increasingly frequent, appearance by the
Knitters, who began as an acoustic side project of the Los Angeles punk
band X. Fifteen years ago, X
bassist/singer John Doe (here
playing guitar), singer Exene
Cervenka and drummer D.J.
Bonebrake joined guitarist/singer
color="#003163">Dave Alvin(then of the Blasters) and upright bassist Johnny Ray Bartel to form the Knitters.
The band made only one album, the 12-song Poor Little Critter on the
Road (Slash, 1985). But their legacy was enough to inspire a record
label, Bloodshot Records, and a tribute album, Poor Little Knitter on the Road (Bloodshot, 1999), which features the Americana likes of Robbie Fulks,
color="#003163">Whiskeytown color="#003163">Old 97's
However, Doe downplayed the importance of the Knitters, who covered
Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings"
"I think the Knitters were a good outlet for X's and the Blasters'
country leanings. And if we influenced people and maybe we were
ahead of the times that's great," Doe said between takes on the
set of the otherworldly teen TV drama "Roswell," on which he has a
recurring role as a dad.
"I know that Bloodshot, which put out this Knitters tribute record,
points at the Knitters as a huge influence for even starting the record
company. I wouldn't be so bold as to take credit for that; they can say
that, but I can't.
"I can say that when X put out the Ain't Love Grand record [also
in 1985], we were doing what Guns N'
Roses ended up doing," Doe added, "which was to have sort of
heavy-metal production with melodies and songs."
Hank Williams III, the
color="#003163">Amazing Crowns, Dave
Vanian (of '70s British punks the
color="#003163">Damned) and James
Intveld are also featured on the Hootenanny bill.