Since 2001, Dublin-by-way-of-San Francisco transplant Reb Kennedy has released some of the highest energy rock and roll this side of Little Richard. Under the auspices of Wild Records, he's discovered and developed new, predominantly Latino talent.
The "Wild sound," as it's known abroad, isn't rote worship of a bygone age. On the contrary, it's fresh and vital rock and roll informed in equal parts by rockabilly's golden age, Stax Records soul, '60s girl pop, Chicago blues and first wave punk rock. This unholy brew of rock's past creates an exciting sound that has hundreds of Southern California young people and eternal teenagers alike turning up at clubs, parties and swap meets.
Documentary filmmaker Elise Salomon has recently completed Los Wild Ones, which chronicles the label and debuts Friday at the Santa Monica Pier. We spoke with Kennedy, who is 52 and lives in Altadena, about the Wild sound.
In any case, several noteworthy rock n' roll figures of the '50s, '60s and '70s have their final resting places around Los Angeles. Here's where to find five of them:
The Moose Lodge lounge is rocking. On this recent Saturday night in Whittier, rockabilly culture is alive and well. You know the look: The ladies are in classic polka-dot dresses and signature Bettie Page hair, flirtatiously stirring their drinks. The guys have rolled-up pant cuffs, rolled sleeves, cigarettes and pompadours.
Everyone is dancing to the stand-up bass, drums and reverb guitar in this spacious hall. It's like a scene out of Grease, with one major difference: Nearly everyone here is Latino.
Rockabilly started with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash in Tennessee and was thought to be mainly the domain of whites. But the culture and the music have exploded in the past decade here in L.A. Why have young Latin kids embraced this music of the Eisenhower age?