The Detroit trio Koffin Kats - headlining an all-ages show at the River Music Experience on May 5 - performs in the musical subgenre known as psychobilly, and the fusion of punk and rockabilly isn't particularly well-known or popular in the States.
So it's a bit strange that bassist and singer Vic Victor, in a phone interview last week, called psychobilly a "music genre for everybody." The style's biggest name is probably the Reverend Horton Heat, whose top-selling albums have managed to reach only the lower quarter of Billboard's top 200.
Yet Victor said that when the uninitiated but curious - those who don't realize that the upright bass has a place in rock music - show up to a Koffin Kats gig, they're usually converted. "Everyone's invited," he said. "That's kind of the idea with this new record. We didn't write it for the psychobilly crowd. We wrote it for anybody who likes rock and roll and driving music."
That album is Our Way & the Highway, and while Victor probably overstates its appeal as universal, there's no denying that the Kats' brand of psychobilly deserves a wider audience; the band's music is relentless but also loaded with hooks, strong melodies, and alluring harmonies on top of the aggressive rockabilly groove. If Green Day deserves some of its superstar status, then the Koffin Kats are worthy of at least a piece of that pie.