Slim Jim Phantom is at the Moonshine Club in Southsea on August 18

The Slim Jim Phantom Trio are at the Moonshine Club, Southsea on July 18

Jim is bringing his trio to the Moonshine Club in Southsea on August 18, but last time here they played nearby at the Wedgewood Rooms.

Speaking to The Guide via Zoom from his home in Los Angeles, Jim recalled: “Just across the street is an old tailor,” he talks about Bentleys, “I was just going around, checking out a few stores on the main street I went over there to check and he pulled out his album and showed me pictures of 70s teds with knee length purple coats – full blast, and he was there. ‘One of them! I’ll see if he’s still there,’ and indeed he is. ‘He was a nice guy.’

Jim rose to prominence when Stray Cats, his band with Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker, helped lead a rockabilly revival in the early ’80s. Since then, he’s worked with a veritable who’s who of musicians – from Lemmy to guitarist for David Bowie, Earl Slick, and various members of Sex Pistols and Guns n’Roses, in addition he is the drummer for the supergroup Dead Men Walking with Mike Peters of The Alarm and Captain Sensible of The Damned and a cast of rotating guests.

But for the trio, he’s with longtime foil guitarist Darrel Higham – who he also records with as Kat Men – and bassist Adam Miles.

Jim also hosts Rockabilly Rave Up on Stevie Van Zandt’s Underground Garage channel on digital radio giants SiriusXM. Later that month, his trio release an album through Stevie’s Wicked Cool label.

So why does Jim think rockabilly lives on?

‘It’s the original cool. I think you can listen to any pop music that’s happened since the early rock ‘n’ rollers here in the US – Gene VIncent, Elvis Presley of course, Eddie Cochrane, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino – all the greats. Then in England, I’m a big fan of Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Joe Browne – since this generation I think everything has been affected by it, that’s how much you let it!

“The Fabs, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, I know for a fact my rockabilly buddy is Jeff Beck – they’re completely influenced by that, it’s just a matter of how much you’re influenced by that, and what your interpretation is.

“It’s all based on a certain musical pattern, and then it’s the feel and a lifestyle choice. I know Jeff Beck, like, he rides around in a Hot Rod 32 Ford, blasts rockabilly music, then he goes playing music with people associated with Jeff Beck, but his love of rockabilly and all things rock is well known.The same can be said of all these guys.

Jim is also known for his stand-up drumming style with his kit at the front of the stage. Influenced by the original rock’n’rollers, like Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps, it quickly became his style.

And as he says, “Once you sign up, that’s what the kids want!”

But he admits: “I’ll tell you a secret – when I practice drums at home, I sit down.


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