Rory Justice started to sing and play at a very early age, with his father and then as his own act. He was soon labeled "the Rockabilly Kid". This nickname, as true as he is, could have been a double-edge sword. Was Rory more than a kid able to rock? How would he evolve? With the recent release of "Rock & Roll Flu" on Golly Gee, one could have seen some changes. He has grown up, gained some maturity (both as a singer and a player - he plays almost all of the instruments on this one) and has started to write more and more of his own material. It's now sure, Rory is a full artist and more than just a "teenage sensation".

by Fred "Virgil" Turgis
Picture by
Liza Orozco

You just have a new album out. How do you feel about it?
I think it's a big improvement from the last ones I've done. We spent alot of time doing it... on and off for about 7 months to be exact. I think the final product turned out swell.

Tell us about the recording sessions, please. I’ve seen that you’ve played every instruments but the drums!
The sessions were alot of fun, it was only about twenty minutes to get there, so we were there almost every weekend. Well, I first went in with the whole band (Rockin' Ryan, Bobby Mumbles & Arsen Roulette) and recorded it live, but I wasen't satisfied with it. There were to many slight mistakes like my last album. So I talked it over with my friend/producer, Dan Edwards and he said he'd take time with me and get it done the way it should be. Since I know how to play alot of instruments, we decided that I'd do most of it myself. It was just easier too, because Arsen lived 4 hours away and Ryan lived about 2 and with their work scheduale it was just a pain to set-up times.

Your previous album was mainly made of covers.How about this one? Do you write more?
Yes, the last one was sort of a tribute to some of my favorite artists. Everyone told me that I should write more and drop the common covers. So I sat down one night and wrote about things that were on my mind. I have to say that some of the songs on their aren't exactly masterpieces, but I like 'em. I've been writing more often lately, I've got enough for another album.

How would you say you evolved between this two albums? And more generally in your career?
I'm now more focused on making music. Whether than, breaking guitars and rolling around on the floor. I've noticed nobody really likes it when I do that. I'll leave to the cats that do it best.

You started playing music at 8. I believe your Dad, Crash, has a lot a lot to do with your love of rockabilly as he's a singer himself. Could you tell us more about him and your relation?
My dad helped me get into the music and like it. I remember listening to wild man Mel Robbins scream, save it baby save it, over the stereo when I was a kid, it scared the hell out of me. I knew I wanted to be like my dad and do music like that when I got older. He took me to shows when I was growing up like: Sun Demons, Robert Gordon and The Blue Caps I remember best and I really dug their style alot.

By the age of 11, you were playing guitar for Crash. So you were a musician before a singer. When did you think you wanted to sing?
I first started singing one night at a local club called the Doll Hut. My friend Jerome let me sit in for almost the whole set, I thought it was fun singing with him. So, for the next couple years he played guitar for me and I did the singing. Even though I wasen't and still ain't the best singer around, I enjoy doing it.

What were your influences and what are they today?
When I was kid my major 50s influences were, Gene Summers, Glen Glenn, Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Warren Smith and Jerry Lee. Like anyone, I really got into them. Lately my favorites have been, Eddie Cash, Roy Head, James Brown, Jimmie Bowen & Don Deal.

What rockabilly album or artist had the biggest impact on the young Rory Justice?
Definetly without a doubt Gene Summers. He has a different style than anyone else and a great voice. I always do at least one of his songs in my set. I know all of 'em.

We can’t say that rockabilly is a big fashion thing. How was it in school being a “rockabilly kid”? Did you manage to convert some of your mates?
Sure, my school friends always ended up with slick hair and cuffed blue jeans. Well I'm done with school now, but everyone was cool about it. I never told anyone about my music, but they always seemed to find out. I never liked that kind of attention.

Playing with your father, recording albums, doing gigs. At a very early age you were in an adult world.Do you think this music led you to be with older people than guys from your age? Did you grow faster because of that?
Yes I did. All of my best friends are adults and I've seen and done alot of things youngsters don't get to do 'till they're older.

You’re known under the nickname “the rockabilly kid”. How do you think you’ll grow with that?
I've happily grown out of that nickname. I'll leave it for the next generation.

You play “wild” but authentic rockabilly. What do you think about the “related” scenes? I think especially about the psychobilly one that, it seems, is getting bigger and bigger in the US .
I have no problem with the pyschobilly scene. I personally can't stand the music it sounds like speed metal to me, but that's just my opinion. I have no problem playing at a Pyschobilly show because it seems those kids like me better than the Rockabilly scene.

You’ve played with or under the look of legends like Billy Lee Riley, Glen Glenn, Johnny Powers etc.How did you feel about that? Wasn’t that impressive?
Of Course it was, I grew up listning to these guys. They're all real great people. I still can't believe I play in Glen Glenn's band. He's one of my heroes.

It looks like theres some kind of a “family feeling” between artist like you, Rip Carson, Rockin’ Ryan, Arsen Roulette as we can see that you play on each others records. Am I wrong?
Yes we're all good friends. Arsen's moved on to better things, but we still keep in touch. Ryan and Rip are two of my best friends. We're always helpin' each other out. I've known them since the start.

You have a new band. Could you introduce us to the new guys? What do they bring to your sound?
Sure, Im using my pal Ricky McCann again on the drums, only this time he's here to stay. He's possibly the wildest drummer I've ever heard. On the bass is Jamie Lee Bradley. He's a great guy and a talented bass player. He brings alot to the band. He also writes some pretty mean ass songs!

What are your plans and goals for the future?
Well I plan to put out another album and start a northern soul band one of these days. Thanx for the interview.... cheers