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Psychobilly

       


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Psychobilly is a rock music fusion genre that mixes elements of rockabilly and punk rock. TheFreeDictionary.com defines it as "loud frantic rockabilly music", while according to About.com it "takes the traditional countrified rock style known as rockabilly, ramp[ing] up its speed to a sweaty pace, and combin[ing] it with punk rock and imagery lifted from horror films and late-night sci-fi schlock,...[creating a] gritty honky tonk punk rock." Dark imagery is also central to an offshoot of psychobilly known as gothabilly.

Psychobilly is often characterized by lyrical references to science fiction, horror and exploitation films, violence, lurid sexuality, and other topics generally considered taboo, though often presented in a comedic or tongue-in-cheek fashion. Psychobilly bands and lyrics usually take an apolitical stance, a reaction to the right- and left-wing political attitudes which divided other British youth cultures. It is often played with an upright double bass, instead of the electric bass which is more common in modern rock music, and the hollow-body electric guitar, rather than the solid-bodied electric guitars that predominate in rock. Many psychobilly bands are trios of electric guitar, upright bass, and drums, with one of the instrumentalists doubling as a vocalist.

Psychobilly has its origins in New York City's 1970s punk underground, in which The Cramps are widely given credit for being progenitors of the genre and the first psychobilly band to gain a following. The music gained popularity in Europe in the early 1980s, with the UK band The Meteors, but remained underground in the United States until the late 1990s. The second wave of psychobilly began with the 1986 release of British band Demented Are Go's debut album In Sickness & In Health. The genre soon spread throughout Europe, inspiring a number of new acts such as Mad Sin (formed in Germany in 1987) and the Nekromantix (formed in Denmark in 1989), who released the album Curse of the Coffin in 1991. Since then the advent of several notable psychobilly bands, such as the US band Tiger Army and the Australian band The Living End, has led to its mainstream popularity and attracted international attention to the genre.
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