Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Pure, unadulterated psychobilly. In case you don’t know, psychobilly is a mix of rockabilly and fast paced punk rock. It is a high energy combustible combination, not for the weak or the faint-hearted. A suicide shifter refers to a motorcycle’s foot-operated clutch and hand shifter to change gears. The slang “suicide” was applied to designs where the rider removes one hand to change gears, or cannot put both feet on the ground while using a foot clutch to disengage the transmission. Certainly a good name for this band, since their music is a bit dangerous and for risk takers.
This Illinois outfit is composed of B. Rad Joseph -Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar; Fernando – Doghouse Bass; and, Michael T. – Drums. They draw on the imagery and culture of the hot rods and motorcycles of the 50s and 60s. They are also influenced and cover such artists as The Reverend Horton Heat, Eddie Cochran, Psycho Devilles, Carl Perkins, Lee Rocker, Rocky Burnette & the Enforcers, Three Bad Jacks, Hillbilly Hellcats, The Chop Tops, and The Stray Cats. In addition, The Suicide Shifters play their own original songs that fit in nicely with this genre.
These songs are fast, furious, and full of energy. This is the kind of music your want to hear with beer in hand and dancing furiously to the up tempo beat. Not to worry, if you spill some beer, it is inevitable. Something will spill for sure when The Suicide Shifters are on. But that’s ok. It’s expected. They sing about such themes as fast cars, road trips, pretty girls, and surfing. Nothing too deep, but it don’t matter. These guys are all about having a good time and this is straight up fun music. If you wanna be in a bad mood, steer clear of the Suicide Shifters.