The WyattChristmas Trio, what an unusual name for a Rockabilly Trio. A good reason to get to know this band from Köln (Germany). The current line up is Andy WyattChristmas (vocals, guitar), Chad Hawkins (upright bass) and Abodha Premier (drums, shouts). That explains the name of the band, Andy WyattChristmas gave the name for the trio and does the main songwriting. They play a mixture of different music styles like Rockabilly, Swing, Blues and Boogie. I asked the guys from Germany a few questions to get to know them:
In what year was the band founded and how did this happen?
Andy: I met Abodha Premier (drums) two years ago while searching for a band for a private event. We also had a different bass player for that gig. After playing it we simply decided to continue the Trio which was a departure for me, because it was the first time i was the singer in a band. We had several bass players before meeting Chad, who was passing through with his old Band from Texas. Now, it is my main band after all this years as a sideman in swing, blues and rock´n´roll bands…
Are these your real names, they don’t sound German at all?
Chad: Yes, it´s my real name. I am from the States (Houston, Texas). So, yeah, the name is not german at all !
Abodha: No, it´s my artist name. My first name “Abodha” is from india and it means “innocent” (ha ha). The second name “Premier” is taken from the brand of the drumset I use: It´s a premier drumkit and it is a custom made version !
Andy: Well, my name was invented years ago, when I sat outside late night drunk with a closed friend and it started to snow. And he began to sing “i am dreaming of a white christmas”, then turned to me, smiled and said: “But spelled W-Y-A-T-T, just like Wyatt Earp…”. It sounded good to me, even the day after. That´s how I got my name which I use as an artist. But sure, I am german.
What makes you different from other German Rockabilly bands?
Chad: Well, we don´t really consider ourselves Rockabilly. There are some Rockabilly influences in the music, but a lot of our influences predate the 50´s Rockabilly Sound.
Andy: You know, I would even say, that we are more focussed on the mixture of the things happening before 1956 to 1959 ! And, besides, most of our setlist is original material, which does not happen that much around our country. I watch a lot of bands playing, but most of them play the old and well known stuff. I mean, that´s fun, sure, but it´s time to get some fresh stuff for the scene, got it ?
Also, a main part in our show is plenty of improvisation ! You can always be sure to get something unexpected !
Do Abodha and Chad also write songs sometimes?|
Chad: At this point I am still the new guy, but Andy and Abodha always listen to my suggestions. We work out arrangements together as a Trio. Andy comes in with a song or an idea for a song and the three of us work on it together until we are all happy with it.
Andy: And I am pretty sure that you write songs sooner or later. It´s just a question of time. But he is right, it works pretty well the way it is. And believe me, Abodha is very talented in listening and arranging music. It´s working well !
Who is your greatest inspiration?
Andy: Well, I can tell that it is a lot of very old stuff just like the early Blues from the country and later the Chicago Blues, one could say from 1930 until 1950. And I got much inspiration for harmonies and vocal arrangements from the recordings of The Mills Brothers, which was a A-Capella Band from the 30s, big in the USA at the time. Hey, they did a amazing version of “It don´t mean a thing if you ain´t got that swing” ! I also started to dance Lindy Hop, Shag and Swing years ago and it definetely changed my way of writing songs – you keep an eye on the rhythm. Of course, I love all the original Rockabilly stuff as well, it always reminds me not to forget to give my songs that kind of fire, if you know what I am talking about…
Chad: Well, it´s hard to say who is the greatest inspiration, because for me it changes often. When I was much younger, I thought the Bad Brains were fucking brilliant. But I have always been into old Country, Blues and Rootsmusic. Much of the local music in Louisiana, Texas, where I grew up, really inspired me.
Abodha: Since playing for more than 40 years live and 20 years of studiowork I always met fantastic musicians that gave me a lot of inspiration. But lately I can say that I got most inspired by Andy and Chad !
How many CD’s have you already released and when can we expect a new one?
Abodha: I had my first studiojob in the early eighties. All over the years I recorded many CDs with rock, swing, rock´n´roll, reggae and other styles.
Andy: Well, I am playing music now for nearly 25 years and had various releases with my bands. Funny is, that we are actually working on my first release with this kind of music. My last one was a swing trio with harmonie singing and before that it was more kind of rockmusic. But hey, we got our new stuff ready soon !
Chad: Yeah, first Trio Record coming soon !
Who are your favourite artists?
Chad: Tom Waits, Bukka White, Wayne Hancock. A lot of my Favorites are really obscure Houston Bands that I like to see when I am back in the states.
Andy: Yeah, Tom Waits ! Love him ! Got a long list here: Robert Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller, Muddy Waters, The Mills Brothers, Big Joe Turner, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Ry Cooder, John Lee Hooker and many more….
Abodha: Also Tom Waits ! John Lee Hooker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fun Lovin´ Criminals and many more…
Do you only perform in Germany or elsewhere in Europe?
Andy: We play everywhere people want to see us !
Chad: So far only in Germany with the Trio, but I am sure we´ll make it to the states next year !
Is there any place you would really like to play?
Abodha: “Grosse Freiheit” in Hamburg !
Chad: A Juke Joint in Louisiana called “The Alligator Bayou Bar”. I was there often when I was growing up. All the great Blues Guys played there, Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy, the list seems endless…
Andy: Well, I like the “Gloria” in Köln but I really would love to play some of these nice and small places in the states, just as Chad mentioned before.
Do you remember an funny incident during a performance?Andy: Well, I´ll never forget the first gig I ever played. The band started, I was walking to the front of the stage and hit the strings hard. But no sound… I simply forgot to connect my guitar. I wished myself far away at that moment… But, this is how you learn it, make a mistake live and you will (usually) not do it again.
What’s your greatest wish for the future?
Andy: Hopefully we get our new CD done, we just finished eight songs, two more are still in the pipeline. But it won´t take too long to do it. So we want to play live where ever it is possible and keep this band for a long long time, because it feels fantastic to play with these guys !
Is there anything you would like to tell?
Andy: Thank you all for coming to our shows and supporting us ! We always try to give our best to you ! See you on stage…