Reunited Knitters Headline Southern California Hootenanny

Stray Cats alumni, Reverend Horton Heat, Hank Williams III, Amazing Crowns also on bill.

Former Stray Cats members

color="#003163">Lee Rocker and Slim

Jim Phantom, rockabilly wild man the

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 and the

color="#003163">Old 97's.

However, Doe downplayed the importance of the Knitters, who covered

Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings"

(Real Audio excerpt) and reprised X's "The New World" (RealAudio excerpt of the Knitters' version) when the band briefly reunited to play some scattered dates in California in December.

"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.