General information

Gothabilly (sometimes hellbilly), is one of several music and cultural subgenres of rockabilly. The name is a portmanteau word that combines gothic and rockabilly. The earliest known use of the word gothabilly was by The Cramps in the late 1970s, to describe their blend of somber, rockabilly-influenced punk rock. Since then the term has come to describe a fashion and music trend that bridges both the gothic and rockabilly subcultures.


In the late 1970s, The Cramps helped to create a proto-gothabilly subgenre. However, the term gothabilly was not popularized until the release of a series of international gothabilly compilation albums released by Skully Records in the mid-1990s.

Although the term is attributed to The Cramps, their musical style is closer in formula to the surf rock sound of the early 1960s combined with the traditional "12-bar blues" format than to 1950s rockabilly rhythms and vocal styles. Occasionally, they have been associated with gothic rock primarily because of their use of fetish clothing and outlandish makeup, including heavy, dark eyeliner on both male and female members of the band, which is also popular in the gothic subculture. The Cramps are considered to be equally influential to the psychobilly genre.

Gothabilly is particularly active in the western portion of the United States, with many of today's bands originating in California.

Musical style

Gothabilly is a musical subgenre that developed from mixing the gothic subculture with rockabilly music. Gothabilly retains the country music and blues influences of rockabilly but adds aspects of punk rock and gothic rock to create a distinct combination of styles. The gothabilly sound was defined in the mid-1980s embodied by a slower tempo and melancholy ambience with romantic, literary, occult and religious themes. More recent adopters had brought a faster pace and horror themes often with a humorous or comic attitude with deliberately cheesy themes, such as camp 1960s monster movies and the television shows like The Addams Family and The Munsters.

Gothabilly is frequently viewed as a sub-sect of the psychobilly subgenre, as both use the upright double bass and simple rhythms of rockabilly chord progressions and incorporating punk influences. However, gothabilly differs from psychobilly in that gothabilly lacks much of psychobilly's aggression and incorporates aspects of gothic music such as jangly guitars drowned in reverb, rolling jungle drums, organs, and tends to be slower and more atmosphere-oriented. While both incorporate monsters, ghosts and other horror imagery and themes, gothabilly adds aspects of the romantic and paranormal.

If you want to hear the true gothabilly sound, look no further than the godfathers of gothabilly. 'Cult of the Psychic Fetus'. Haunting the New York City music scene in the late 90s. Performing in such clubs as CBGB's, Club Mother, Batcave just to name a few. Also headlining at the first three Dropdead Festivals as well as the first American Psychobilly Rumble. 'Cult of the Psychic Fetus' are recording and performing to this day.

(from the article Gothabilly of Wikipedia)

Selected examples

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List of gothabilly musicians

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