Looking around The Bedlamville Triflers’ practice room, you would think you had travelled back in time a few decades. The walls of this man cave were lined with posters of liquor, pin up girls, the band’s original artwork, and rockabilly masters like Al Ferrier, Carl Perkins and The Blues Brothers. When practicing, The Triflers are surrounded, in sprit, by some of the most influential musicians of our time.
Shawn Roux (guitar), Joel Dicharry (double bass) and Greg Guffey (drums) earn honest livings by day to allow themselves time for their labor of love -- the revival of rockabilly. Any longtime Baton Rouge resident will tell you this little town used to be a hotspot for many big artists.
“Elvis played in 1955 at Baton Rouge High,” Roux said. “A large part of rockabilly started here in Louisiana.”
When the rebellious music of The King, Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran reached across the pond in the late ’50s, American rock and roll took the UK youngsters by storm. It inspired the British Invasion of the ’60s in many ways -- the sound, the look, the feel.
“Rockabilly did OK [in America], but overseas they were gods,” Roux said. “One of Gene Vincent’s trademarks was he’d wear leather pants and a leather jacket. He influenced The Beatles’ early look where they’d all wear leather.”
With the music market saturated with overnight YouTube sensations, keeping alive an American legacy that’s 60 years old is no easy undertaking. Although still popular overseas, rockabilly is followed by only a niche group of Americans at home.
“There’s a big roots scene, but it’s mainly on the coasts -- California, New York, Florida,” Guffey said. “Texas has the Continental Club, but not much in between. It’s been our mission to remind everybody that this music is big and you helped start it in Louisiana.”
The Bedlamville Triflers released their debut album, “Goin’ Out Tonight,” in February 2012. One particularly sprightly track in the midst of classic rockabilly, “El Sol Guerrero”, is a surf-style composition dedicated to an eponymous Mexican restaurant off Siegen Lane.
“We were fans of [the restaurant], so we wrote the tune one night and joked about calling it “El Sol Guerrero” and it stuck,” Roux said.
The Triflers are all about having fun and inviting the listener back to a time when music could be found in a purer form.
“You start playing a song and people are dancing,” Dicharry said. “It’s so good to see them enjoying it, because it’s more than just a head nod. Grabbing somebody and slinging them around, to me, is one of the unifying moments of music.”
The Bedlamville Triflers are playing at Mud & Water on Friday, March 8 at 9 p.m., with a special Ramones tribute segment. They will also be performing at Phil Brady’s on Friday, March 15 at 9 p.m.