Psychobilly

Subcultural Survival

Kimberly Kattari
Book Cover

PB: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1860-9
Publication: May 20

HC: $99.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1859-3
Publication: May 20

Ebook: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1861-6
Publication: May 20

258 pages
6 x 9
5 line drawings, 9 halftones

How people improve their lives by participating in a rebellious music-based subculture

Read an excerpt of the Introduction (pdf.)

Description

“I got 1-2-3-4 psychobilly DNA”Norm and the Nightmarez

Call it punk rockabilly with science-fiction horror lyrics. The outsider musical genre known as psychobilly, which began in 1980s Britain, fuses punk, heavy metal, new wave, and shock rock with carnivalesque elements. The participants in this underground scene sport coffin tattoos and 1950s fashions. Bands such as The Meteors, Nekromantix, and Demented Are Go play with a wild energy and a fast tempo. Sometimes fake blood runs down a performer’s mouth.

Psychobilly is ethnomusicologist Kimberly Kattari’s fascinating, decade-long study of this little-known anti-mainstream genre. She provides a history and introduces readers to the core aspects of the music as she interviews passionate performers and fans. Kattari seeks to understand how psychobilly so strongly affects—and reflects —its participants’ lives and identities so strongly. She observes that it provides not only a sense of belonging but a response to feelings and experiences of socio-economic marginalization and stigmatization.

Psychobilly
shows how this subculture organized around music furnishes an outlet for members to resist normative expectations and survive; they adhere to their own rules by having a good time while going through a hard time.

Reviews

Kim Kattari’s outstanding study gives psychobilly its justly deserved attention—not only as a historical genre rooted in dissatisfaction and rebellion, but as a complex, living subculture positioned deep on the musical margins. Kattari’s fieldwork brings together dozens of interviews to illuminate the scene, and then she sharpens her analytical gaze on psychobilly’s transgressive performative properties. Steeped in horror, shock, and dark, campy humor, psychobilly emerges in Kattari’s book as an immersive style that relishes the power of taboo. Psychobilly is the definitive study of this fascinating subculture.”
Theo Cateforis, Associate Professor of Music History & Cultures at Syracuse University and author of Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s

Bringing together past and present, and drawing on rich ethnographic research, Psychobilly offers wide-ranging analysis of a longstanding and often neglected subculture. From a carnival of spectacular escape to the embrace of fictional monsters, Kattari explores the everyday subversiveness of a scene often regarded as apolitical, while outlining the intimate ties and supportive identities participants share. The book goes on to tackle tensions and complexities, including the complex position of women in psychobilly and ongoing conundrums about nostalgia and change. Absorbing throughout, this is a must-read for those interested in music scenes and subcultures.
Paul Hodkinson, Reader in Sociology, University of Surrey and author of Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Subcultural Participation as a Survival Strategy
1. The Development of Psychobilly: Carrying on the Nonconformist Legacy of Rockabilly and Punk
2. Carnivalesque Events and Transgressive Performance: Celebrating a Counterhegemonic Ideology
3. The Power and Pleasure of Fantasizing about Monsters, Murderers, and Madness
4. Male Dominance and Female Empowerment: The Complexities of Gender and Sexuality
5. The Power, Joy, and Purpose of Social and Economic Capital Afterword: Gatekeeping a Subculture, or Are the Psychobilly Police Killing the Scene?

Appendix: Sample Interview Questions
Discography
Notes
References
Index

About the Author(s)

Kimberly Kattari is an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University.


Subjects