The Stray Cats’ ‘Desperado’ is a Pitch-Perfect Surf-Rock Instrumental, and its Music Video is Even Better

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

When The Stray Cats reconvened in the studio to work on new music, it was a rejuvenation of the creative spirit that has helped the trio become the rockabilly/surf legends they are.

The result was 40, their first new album in 26 years, meant to mark their fortieth anniversary as a group. One of the album’s songs is a slick instrumental titled “Desperado,” which sounds tailor-made for an old black-and-white western from decades past.

Fully realizing that, the band’s music video for the song is just that — and it’s great:

How did the Stray Cats — Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom — reconnect on such a level that led to music as vibrant as this?

The thing is with the Stray Cats, when we’re at our best we do things one way and that is live, as live as possible,” Rocker told Rock Cellar’s Ken Sharp. “That’s what the Stray Cats are about; we’re a live rock and roll band.

“It’s not overdubs and it’s not studio trickery. So getting into the studio was virtually the same as doing a concert. We set up in one room shoulder to shoulder, no headphones, and played, and I think one of the really unique things about the band is that there’s a lot of freedom in the music. The Stray Cats, when the three of us get together, there’s a spark that happens and it becomes almost conversational musically. So if there’s a guitar riff at the end of a solo and Brian (Setzer) ends a figure in a certain way I’ll react to that and alter my playing to that. Jim might put an accent and this happens back and forth between all of us.”

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