Ray Collins’ Hot Club : the hotest club in town!
Imagine a band which could play to perfection a mixture of 40 and 50' s Jump-blues, swing, jive and of rock' roll with authenticity and an overflowing energy while developing their own style and composing some solid songs. A band which could set a ballroom on fire with only the first bars of a brass section. Imagine nine guys ready to party and make you spend an unforgettable evening and which for that will give all that they have! You think that kind a band has never existed and will never exist neither in Europe, neither in States nor in any area of the world. But I can swear to you that this band really exist (cause I saw them!) and that they just released their third album "Tohuwabohu" for Crazy Love Records. This group is The "Ray Collins’ Hot Club", a german bunch of wild guys which signed their first album in 2001 -“Shaking That Boogie”- and which since became a reference.
Some bands are good in studio and disappointing on stage. Some others are just the opposite; they are great entertainers but their albums are flat and without any “fever” or “guts” whatever you call it. In this case, we are dealing with this rare species of band who are at the same time achieved showmen and which sign original albums with no fillers or tracks to be thrown away.
Mister “Ray Collins” (Andreas) talked to Long Tall some years ago about the first album of the gang and soon he will tell you more about what has happened since and their plans. Just have a read and learn more about the number one jumpin’ and jivin’ band in Europe and don’t forget to have a look at their first class website : 
Be there or be square!!

by Dave "Long Tall" Phisel

Could you tell us a little about the recording of your first album?
We did a five days recording session together. A lot of the songs of the album were exactly one day old when we recorded them. That was the funniest and best session that I ever did so far. We did a lot of very spontanic things that are now banned on our album. For example the sounds of the smooth sliding hawaiian style guitar on «Down In Hell». Fredrik Rosén, the guitarist, came up to me and said: «Hey, I think that guitar might sound great with that melody.» That was a few minutes before we recorded it. And now I would say this was exactly the only way to record that song. The last song we recorded late at night was «Burn Out Boogie». And I aint lying, that was the biggest blast I´ve ever heard: we were all drunk (in fact I was even to drunk to play any more sensefull notes. So I put my guitar away and just danced around), the sound engineer too, he came into the recording room, clapping hands and shouting with us, the band played like mad. After the final chord we didn´t have to check the tape to know it was perfect. And I still think so. It may be recorded in a studio but if you listen you´ll feel the athmosphere of a 100% live recording. To answer your question: that session was very special for us and we knew we´d have to play that live on stage.

Who are your major influences?
You cannot really tell this or that artist is our main influence. There are so many of them. Wynonie Harris, Big Jay Mc Neely or Eddy Cleanhead Vinson and many more come to my mind. It´s easier to say WHAT are our main influences. It´s the rhythm and blues music of the early fifties with a lot of swing on one hand and very solid and danceable rhythm on the other.Are you comin’ from the rockabilly scene or are some of the members from differents blues and rhythm and blues bands? Most of us are coming from the Rock´n´Roll scene listening to jive music for years (the shocking trouth is: for 20 years in some cases). But there are others. For example our trumpet player Arne Adolf von Roepenack ( Don´t get no wrong ideas out of his name! That cat is straight). He doesn´t know the difference between the Bo Diddley and Pat Boone, but he knows every litlle note Chet Baker played in his life. If you look at our sax players you can see best how different the musical backgrounds are: Saxman No. 1 used to play in an army big band, while saxman No. 2 used to play confused freejazz «concerts» with poetrists talking completly nonsense. Sounds funny but in the Hot-Club all these different styles and characters get along perfect.

Have you been touring all over Europe?
As we started the band only 1 year ago we still have got a lot countries to go where we haven´t been yet. So far we´ve only played in Germany, Netherlands and England. This year there will be quite busy with gigs in France, Scandinavia, Italy, England, Switzerland, Germany and hopefully some more countries.Have you ever been to the States? The big number of musicians in our band (up to 11) makes touring more fun because you really feel like in a club with so many different (sometimes crazy) characters,but it also makes it more comlicated and of course very expencive. So it´s not so easy to make a trip overseas. For example a promoter from Japan wanted to book us for a Gig in Tokyo. A great offer, shure! But if you think about the costs of a flight, and then think about the costs of 10 flights... Anyway we hope to go to the states soon, but are still waiting for the right moment.

Do you think it’s possible for a swing movement to grow bigger in Europe just as it was in States some years ago.
OK here´s my personal opinion: I think it will propably grow bigger. But I don´t think it will ever rise to such figures as in the US. I think the people in the States have got a completely different background. Swing music is part of their culture. Whether it was «in» or «out», it has always been there. I think in Europe it takes an extremly big «dreamer» to fall for that kind of style, because it is so far away from every days life. But anyway it´s great to see that more and more people are enjoying the music and the dancing. We will see what´s gonna come.

Tell me about your future projects.
Arne (the trumpet) also joins a very good big band. We wanna do a recording session with them in the near future.It´s a lot of work to make the arrangements for such a big band. As some of the all time greatest R&B songs like «Good Morning Judge» originally used to be hillbilly songs, I had the idea to record a big band version of another great hillbilly boogie song:»Rocking and Rolling With Grandmaw». Nobody can imagine that. But I think it could be great. We will find out.

Is your last album selling good?
On our shows we are selling more records than we expected. Both LP´s and CD´s. But I don´t really know how the album sells in the shops. Our record company knows more about that than we do.

Do you know other band like yours in Germany?
There are of course some swing playing big bands. Some of them are great some of them are terrible. But they are all doing something different from what we are doing.

What do you think of the actual rock’n’roll scene? The Rhythm Riot?
The Rock´n´Roll scene is funny. Every time it seems to be dying it comes to new live. I think it will outlive all of us. It´s great to have a local venue where you can see live shows. And you should do everything to keep it alive. But beeing «in the scene» for me is a lot about travelling. It´s always fun to go all around the world, to little dancing cellars aswell as to big fetivals, to meet all the different people with their differemt styles from extravagant and elegant to primitive and wild. Sounds stupid but in the rocking scene, Europe was united decades before the politics catched up. Touring with the band or on a private trip I am always restless and always looking for most exiting place to be. Once a year it defenetly is in Camber Sands: the Rhythm Riot! This is where it´s at. All the hipsters from all around the world gather, doing nothing but dance three days. The DJ´s and the bands play the blackest and wildest Rhythm and Blues and the swingingest Swing you can imagine. The gigantic wooden dancefloor is hopping with the rhythm. And then a few days later Camber is the one most boring placees in the world again. And you´ve got to move on and find the next «place to be». You´ve got to keep moving. And that´s what we like.