The Stray Cats are coming home. After reuniting earlier this year for a handful of reunion shows, the rockabilly revivalists will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2019, marking the milestone with both a new album and a full-sized tour.
Bandmates Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom haven’t released a studio record since the early Nineties, with 1993’s Original Cool marking their last effort together. Twenty-five years have elapsed since then, punctuated by a handful of solo projects — including Setzer’s Brian Setzer Orchestra, whose Grammy-winning cover of Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” became a surprise hit in 1998 — and the occasional Stray Cats tour. Coincidentally, the band will resume its classic pace next year by teaming up with Peter Collins, the same producer who oversaw Setzer’s “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” sessions, for their first record of the 21st century. The new project is slated to be recorded in Nashville with additional help from engineer Vance Powell, whose credits include Chris Stapleton’s Traveller.
“Forty years ago, us three teenagers started a little band to play a musical style that had long since passed and most folks had never heard of,” Setzer says in a statement. “Forty years later, we stand together and still get that same thrill and exhilaration from the music. That feeling is what makes the fireworks go off and the sparks fly. It makes the world go around.”
A proper tour is also in the works, thanks to a swell of momentum generated by the band’s recent sold-out gigs in Las Vegas and Southern California. Those shows marked the Stray Cats’ first North American shows in a decade. Dates for the band’s reunion tour have yet to be announced, and it remains to be seen whether the Cats will also return to the U.K., where they scored their first handful of Top 40 hits years before their American breakthrough.
“We have an album’s worth of new songs that are classic rockabilly while keeping the music and style current and fresh, like always” promises Phantom. “In other words … [It’s] a Stray Cats album.”