Who is the bloke to which these expressions apply: “short stick of dynamite”, “The Real Deal”, “The best voice in the rockabilly genre”? Who’s got a voice “as smooth as Big Sandy, but more frantic on the level of Gene Vincent”. And who, when Charlie Feathers’ daughter Wanda was talking about him, did she exclaim “Wow, I am speechless! It is awesome!” And, who can be that bloke that said in an interview “What you hear is what we put into it. I want people to hear the fibers in the wood of the guitars and bass. And I want them to feel every word I sing. That’s my main goal, is to never sell out to the computer and digital age of manufactured music”? Who is the artist that can at the same time sing and play upright bass, guitar, saxophone, piano, and drums in numerous country and rockabilly groups since the age of 11? Who has accompanied such artists as Big Sandy, Deke Dickerson, The Paladins, Carl Sonny Leyland, James Hunter, Omar & The Stringpoppers, and Rockin’ Ryan & The Real Goners? Who takes part in various groups like “Jaxxon 4” or “Hexxers” while assuming his own solo career? Who is that “country boy” that, in addition to the music, likes to fish and climb trees? Who the hell is that humble cool cat who said “I hate people with big egos. I mean if you’re Jerry Lee Lewis and you can back it up, fine. But if you’re some mildly talented nobody, and you have an arrogant personality, ooh boy, don’t get me started!” No, we are not talking about Steve Austin, the «six million dollar man», but a plain and simple guy of West Virginia whose name evokes a character of «Fight Comics». This Rip Carson (finally you got is name!) is a charismatic character whose uncle also played in a rockabilly band called “Bill Sykes and the Rhythmeers”. The title of his new album “My Simple Life” is a pure lie : The Life of that guy is not that simple! But let Rip talk about himself, his friends and his just starting career

by Dave "Long Tall" Phisel and Fred "Virgil" Turgis

So, how long have you been doing music ?
Since 1991. So.. 14 years now. My first band was a 60’s garage style band called “The Washouts”. After that, I started doing rockabilly in 1996

.How did you get started ?
The first band I just fell into. These girlsin my school had a 60’s band and neededa singer. So i tried out, and got the job. When i decided to do rockabilly, I put an ad in the local paper to find musiscians.And from then on it was easy to meet people.

Did you grow up in a musical family ?
Yes, my uncle was Bill Matthews. He had a group from the 40’s through the 60’scalled Bill Matthews & the Rhythmeers. They played country and rockabilly. Henever had a hit, but he did have a stringof rockabilly 45’s that came out on DotRecords in the mid 50’s. But I reckon it’s hard to make a living playing music in rural West Virginia.... which is why I movedout here!

Do you remember the first record you bought and/or the one that made you think “ Woahhh, that’s what I want to do !
Probably the early Buddy Holly stuff done at Bradley’s. I got a cassette tape for christmas one year that had all the stuff like “Midnight Shift”, “Don’t Come Back Knockin’” etc. And that stuff just floored me. It was so agressive and soulful, and I would get halfway through a song before I even noticed there weren’t any drums on it

Do you remember the first show you played
Sure do ! I was so nervous, I overcompensated by getting real crazy on stage. I was so winded after the show, I passed out!

What is the most memorable gigs you played and/or went to ?
That’s a tough one. I’ve played and have been to so many great and memorable gigs. But I would probably have to say that seeing Jerry Lee Lewis on a good night, was onof the highlights of my life. When he’s good.... he’s GOOD

What are your influences as a singer and a songwriter ?
My biggest influences are Charlie Feathers, Johnny Horton, and Sam Cooke.Strange combination, I know. But they were all great singers and songwritersin their own way.

What about your band, where do they come from, were they in other bands before ?
My live band these days is made up of some really great players from around the world... who all ended up in southern California for some odd reason, as did I.Paul Diffin from England plays bass,you may know him from The Blue Cats, Sugar Ray Ford & the Hot Shots, andThe Big 6. Joel Morin is on lead guitar.In recent years he has played with numerous rock’nroll acts here in California.And on drums is Michael Faughnan. He’s new to this city as well, and we’re gladto have him. He was one of the toprockabilly drummers in Boston for the past 10 years.How did you met Paul Diffin and how is it to work with himI met Paul here in San Diego. He was playing with a 50’s «top 40» cover band just to pay his bills..... rent here is EXPENSIVE

About your albums,how many are they?
There’s 4 in total. The first one was self-released and called “laundromat boogie”.I was only 16 when we cut that oneWere they all done live in studio?For the most part, yes. I prefer it to be done that way because more feeling can be put into things when everyone is in the same room at the same time. Overdubbing can be necessary at times, but I avoid itat all costs!Tell us more about “The Singles collection”...This was my first “solo” album. I did this one differently than all the others. With my previous albums I had a set band (the Twilight Trio). And I decided to move on and try something new. So we did the “singles collection” ablum real 50’s style. With studio musiscians and all 50’s equpiment. If you think about it, all the great rockabillyrecords in the 50’s were done with studio musiscians and with top notch equipment and record producers. Namely... musicians like Grady Martin, Bob Moore, and Bud Harmon. So we really tried to recreate that feeling on this last album. The musiscians are really top notch at what they do.And this was also my frist time working with record producer and guitarist Mark Neill. You may know his name... he produced Big Sandy’s “On The Go”, and many other great records. So i think this new formula really works, and it’s completely different than anything anyone else is doing at the moment. So i’m going to stick with this format for my next record as well, people seem to really like it! And if it aint broke... don’t fix it!

You did sessions too (Deke Dickerson, Josie Kreuzer, James Hunter, etc.) How did you manage that job with your own career and the fact that you’re a multi-instrumentist playin’ guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, drums (and maybe more!!).
I’ve been close friends with a fantastic record producer named Mark Neill for about 5 years now. And he often needs studio musicians for his recording gigs. I’m the usually the first guy he calls if he needs upright bass or guitar on a record. it’s alot of fun, I’ve gotten to play with some real greats in there. And nothing will sharpen your playing like performing in a studio setting where every note is under the microscope.This job doesn’t interfere with my night work as a singer, because all the studio gigs are over by 8pm. Can’t complain!

You have this side-project called “The Jaxon 4”, the band with Big Sandy and Paul Diffin…
The Jaxon 4 is essentially my backing band, minus the guitar player. So it’s Paul Diffin on bass, Michael Faughnan on drums, Big Sandy on vocals and acoustic, and myself on lead guitar. Basically.... I’ve known Sandy for years, and about a year ago he came to one of my shows and was very impressed with the rhythm section. And he has liked my guitar playing for a while (I play lead guitar for various other acts from time to time) So he contacted me about putting together a side project with him, and the Jaxon 4 was born. it’s nice to hear Big Sandy doing hardcore rockabilly again.... not that the Fly-rite boys are any less than brilliant

The Hexxers, your 60’s garage rock and punk band you made with Rockin’ Ryan Sagat. It’s a different style; still rock’n’ roll but far from your rockabilly and country trademark style. Is it the same audience? Was it applaused the same way?
Suprisingly enough, the rockabilly scene has really taken to it. And it’s nice to know that we can play for a rockabilly crowd and a 60’s garage crowd, and they’ll both enjoy it.

What are your future plans
To keep touring, and making records i’m proud of. I have the new album coming out in a few months, and several US and European tours this year.

What do you think about the new US rockabilly scene?
The US rockabilly scene is different in every state and city. Where I currently live, Southern California, it’s over-saturated. There’s too many bands and not enough clubs to play at. But in other places it’s the opposite... plenty of fans and clubs, but dang near no bands! But i think overall the enthusiasm for rockabilly and rock’nRoll is much better now in the states then it was a few years back. And as far as the quality of the bands in concerened, there are alot of great acts here right now. Ya just gotta weed through all the bad ones! haha

Do you know some european bands?Yeah, i know many!
The Tin Stars from Holland back me up usually when I tour Europe. They’re great musiscians and good friends of mine as well. I also know other bands like Wildfire Willie, Ike &the Capers, Jack Baymoore, The Sure Shots, etc, etc. I think the european bands are really top notch these days. They put alot of effort into getting things right!

A last word ?
If ya want to make collard greens right.... ya gotta boil ‘em down at least 12 hours!!


  Rip Carson - My Simple Life
Golly Gee Records
This is Rip's best album to date and probably one of the best rockabilly records this genre has given us in recent years. The musicians are no strangers to rockabilly fans:veteran Paul Diffin (The Blue Cats, Sugar Ray Ford, Big Six, Marshall & The Shooting Stars) on bass and recording, Joel Morin (Dawn Shipley, Pep Torres) on guitar and Michael Faughnan (Lustre Kings) on drums. The mid tempo “The Hate Inside Of Me” starts the album and you know you’re not just listening to “another good record”.
I won’t go into a song by song review but you’ll find here great rockabilly tunes like Sinkin’ Down, That Ain’t Enough (two collaborations with Rip’s partner in crime: Ryan Sagat), Poor Me and I’m Not Free (with handclaps), a beautiful ballad that sounds like Sam Cooke meets Don Gibson (All I Ask) and two well chosen covers that suit perfectly Rip’s voice : Jackie Lee Cochran’ Miss Heartbreak and Charlie Feathers’ Stutterin’ Cindy. So, the result is quite simple: great musicians with great songwriting and great production work. Take a listen just to hear the instruments separately and you’ll see what I mean. What you have here is a piece of classic rockabilly. You couldn't say I didn’t warn you.