Retro rockabilly crew Cherry Lee & the Hot Rod Hounds is one of the hottest new bands on the Dayton scene. However, the roots of the group, performing at Tumbleweed Connection in Dayton on Saturday, Oct. 19, reach back to the 1980s when three of its principal players were blasting out rockabilly nuggets as The Jitters.
Kevin Schirmer (rhythm guitar), Steve Hook (lead guitar) and Skyp Krantz (drums), who had been away from rockabilly since The Jitters folded in the early 1990s, were drawn back into that musical world in late 2011 by Cassandra Barker (vocals). Although she had never performed publicly before, Barker’s retro look, big, brassy vocals and command of the stage made her the perfect front person for a new band.
The members of Cherry Lee & the Hot Rod Hounds sat down recently in their rehearsal space in the Davis-Linden Building to discuss the band, which was solidified with the addition of Brian Hoeflich (upright bass) in late 2012.
THE RIGHT MIX
Krantz: “This is what The Jitters should have been but never got to be. It was amazing but it never got to where this band is.”
Schirmer: “This is it for me. This is what we’ve strived for all along.”
Hook: “This really is what we’ve been looking for. We found a diamond in the rough and she turned out to be a jewel. It’s been great.”
Barker: “I, maybe, went out twice a year and did karaoke randomly but I never anticipated this happening. It’s been crazy.”
Hoeflich: “Cassie and I have been co-writing some songs and we’re writing to what the band already does, which is a broad base of early rock ‘n’ roll, roots rock ‘n’ roll, classic country and rockabilly. Our cover songs cover a lot of ground and we’d like to do that with our originals too and maintain that diversity.”
Krantz: “We promote ourselves as a rockabilly band but we’re not just rockabilly. It’s roots rock ‘n’ roll and it’s so much fun.”
AN ADDICTIVE BLEND
Hoeflich: “This is Cassie’s first project and that’s one dynamic you have to consider. I’m also aware I’m in a band with these other guys who have been doing this twice as long as I have. It all seems to fit together well.”
Barker: “I never expected singing in a band to be part of my life. Now, it’s like crack. If anything happened to this band I’d be out tomorrow looking for a new one. The thought of not having it is terrifying at this point.”
HOW TO GO
Who: Cherry Lee & the Hot Rod Hounds
Where: Tumbleweed Connection, 454 E. Fifth St., Dayton
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19
More info: (937) 228-5500 or www.facebook.com/tumbleweedconnection
Artist info: www.reverbnation.com/cherryleehotrodhounds