Brian Setzer

Brian Setzer

Date of Birth: 10.04.1959
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Brian Setzer
  2. Early Life and Musical Beginnings
  3. Formation of "Stray Cats"
  4. Solo Career and Formation of the Brian Setzer Orchestra
  5. Success of the Brian Setzer Orchestra
  6. Return to Rockabilly Roots

Biography of Brian Setzer

Early Life and Musical Beginnings

Brian Setzer was born on April 10, 1959, in New York. At a young age, he developed a passion for music and started playing the euphonium. However, he later transitioned to playing a tuba-like instrument. Setzer became highly skilled in this direction and continued to progress in his musical abilities.

During his teenage years, Setzer developed a strong interest in jazz and sought opportunities to perform at renowned jazz clubs such as "Village Vanguard" and "Village Gate." It was during this time that he first conceived the idea of creating a big band with a leading guitar.

Formation of "Stray Cats"

In the late 1970s, Setzer's passion for jazz waned, and he shifted his focus to rockabilly. He formed his first band, "Tom Cats," which had a short-lived existence. However, out of its remnants emerged the famous "Stray Cats," which included Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker. The band quickly gained popularity in Europe and later conquered the American market.

During the early years of "Stray Cats," Setzer also had the opportunity to participate in the new wave project "Bloodless Pharaos" alongside his brother Gary. However, by the mid-1980s, tensions arose within the band, and Setzer began to pursue session work with artists such as Robert Plant and Bob Dylan.

Solo Career and Formation of the Brian Setzer Orchestra

In 1986, Setzer released his first solo album, "This Knife Feels Like Justice." The following year, he made his only appearance in a movie, portraying Eddie Cochran in the film "La Bamba."

In 1988, Setzer released his second album, "Live Nude Guitars," featuring tracks produced by Dave Stewart from "Eurythmics." While continuing his work with "Stray Cats" for a period of time, Setzer eventually ventured into realizing his long-held dream.

One day, Setzer's neighbors organized a party with a group playing wind instruments. In a playful manner, they invited Setzer to join them with his guitar. Setzer, being an experienced rockabilly musician, rose to the occasion and performed his parts admirably. Inspired by this experience, he formed a 17-piece big band called the "Brian Setzer Orchestra."

Success of the Brian Setzer Orchestra

Initially, the "Brian Setzer Orchestra" planned to play only a few concerts. However, after their second performance, the group gained widespread acclaim. In 1994, they released their debut album, which received warm reception from both the public and critics. This was followed by a successful North American tour, including a performance at the "Montreal Jazz Festival."

For their second album, "Guitar Slinger," Setzer prepared more original material, with some tracks co-written by Joe Strummer from "The Clash." The release of "Guitar Slinger" was accompanied by a second American tour and the band's appearance at the "Playboy Jazz Festival."

The "Brian Setzer Orchestra" reached the peak of their popularity with the release of the album "The Dirty Boogie." This album offered a lively mix of swing, rockabilly, country, and blues. It received two Grammy awards and sold over two million copies.

In 2000, the "Brian Setzer Orchestra" won another Grammy for their rendition of Duke Ellington's famous composition, "Caravan."

Return to Rockabilly Roots

Despite the success of the "Brian Setzer Orchestra," Setzer decided to return to his rockabilly roots. He formed a trio and released a couple of albums, including "?68 Comeback Special" and "Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy." However, this did not signal the end of the "Brian Setzer Orchestra." Setzer redefined the group's focus and recorded Christmas songs under their name, such as "Jingle Bells."

Overall, Brian Setzer's musical journey has been marked by his versatility, from his early jazz and rockabilly influences to the creation of the renowned "Brian Setzer Orchestra."