Crazy in the Head

Oct 5, 2005 at 12:00 am
You all know the clichés that go with rockabilly — stand-up bass, chain wallets, silly flame shirts and tats, and a fixation with chicks who fancy themselves peek-a-boo bombshells but really look like drag queens. Los Angeles’ Three Bad Jacks are peripherally no different. Sure, they might adore denim and leather, and they might romanticize the McCarthy era in song, but, as overdone as that may be, these Jacks transcend the tripe. Truly. Greasy-headed frontman Elvis Sussia (ex-Terror Train) leads this trio through exceptionally crafted, trad rockabilly with surfed-up chords that could make old Link Wray blink; there’s chutzpah and heart and true musical command.

On "Run Johnny Run" and "Thrill Me," you can practically taste the Blatz, while "Falling Down" might, on a good drunken night, raise the corpse of Gene Vincent. On "Gone Gone Goodbye" and "Remember the Nights," you swear that Sussia is Elvis. The raging psychobilly track, "Hell Bound Train," is suitably crammed with disgraced angels. This isn’t the best rockabilly record ever recorded, but it’s as close as you’re going to get these days.


Appears Thursday, Oct. 6, at Alvin’s, 5756 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-4577. With the Rat Finks.

Dustin Walsh writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].