n. pl. hoot·en·an·nies
1. An informal performance by folk singers, typically with participation by the audience.
2. Informal An unidentified or unidentifiable gadget. Like a thingamajig.
3. The convergence of rockabilly, psychobilly, roots rock, punk, unabashed rock ‘n’ roll, small hints of hillbilly and neo-swing, hot rods, booze, women, pin-up women and counterculture at a small ranch in Irvine.
It happened on a hot week in July of ’95. The wild “hootenanny” was officially bogarted from the grip of the backwoods, Appalachian fiddle faddlers by a gaggle of counterculture kooks from Southern California. The official party of Americana was taken to a ranch in Irvine where it was held captive by punk bands in tights, rockabilly teams armed with stand up basses, and legendary rock ‘n’ roll monarchs. Hootenanny became the property and platform for bands like The Cramps, The Reverend Horton Heat, Buck Owens (right on!), The Stray Cats, Social Distortion, Flogging Molly, Joe Strummer, and Tiger Army.
This year marks its dime and a half anniversary. Fifteen years of rockin’ and hoppin’ will be duly celebrated by a double bill featuring Chuck Berry (who you can count on to show up in a skipper hat looking for a pick-up back-up band to help him play his unrehearsed set) and Jerry Lee Lewis (a little geriatric, but nonetheless once-in-a-lifetime must sees!), a hot rod show that’ll get your motor runnin’, a pinup show that’ll also get your motor runnin’, a cavalcade of counter culture swag vendors, and an abundance of braggadocio-boosting booze. Also on the party lineup: The Old 97’s, Throw Rag, Nick 13 (Front man of tiger Army), Koffin Kats, 3 Bad Jacks, Los Fabulos, Ricky Harwick, Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon-freakin-Jennings) and many more.
The picnic party goes down at Oak Canyon Ranch this Saturday on July 3, in an event billed as the “Battle of the Champions.” Tickets are $39 - unless you want the VIP treatment, which goes for $100 (includes free drinks). Buy ‘em here.
And now for an anecdote from the Hootenanny website:
“The Cramps headlined the first year of Hootenanny in 1995. In 1998 the legendary Buck Owens played right before them. Buck wasn't playing very many live shows back then but he loved the Hootenanny crowd and was in a great mood after his set. Since the Hoot main stage is split in two -A & B, he never saw The Cramps before they went on. But while they were playing (amazing as ever) Buck was having a great time, smiling, laughing, talking to kids, signing autographs. After The Cramps set, Lux walks down the ramp to go to their dressing room. As it happens, Buck and I were chatting at bottom of the ramp. Lux, in high heels & make up, had torn off most of his skin tight-tights during the set, and shall I say was a 'bit exposed'. The 70 year-old Mr. Owens stopped mid sentence, horrified with a bright red face, signaled his band, jumped in the limo and sped off. 3 days later I received a call asking if I would mail them a check. He left without getting paid. Out of 15 years of Hootenanny, that was one of my favorite moments.”
Here’s a playlist sampling of this year’s Hootenanny bands! The unknown artist is a live link of Nick 13.
PS - It's our editor's Birthday! Salutations Kim! Check out our homemade card for her below, courtesy of Amy's doodle capabilities.