The Santa Cruz-based Chop Tops have been a fixture in the local music scene for 15-plus years, playing a unique blend of musical styles that they’ve dubbed “revved-up rockabilly.” Mashing up old-school punk, psychobilly, rock, surf and rockabilly into a rebellious and high-energy musical romp, these guys are the red-hot, real deal. As their website says: they don’t play this music to look cool, they play music that is cool.
Formed in 1995 by the drummer who calls himself Sinner—this is a first-names-only type of band—the Chop Tops tightened up their sound in 1999 when Gretsch guitarist Shelby took over six-string duties. The final piece of the roots-rockin’ trio came in 2008, when the band enlisted the help of seasoned L.A. upright bassist Brett, whose string slappin’ abilities and wild stage antics helped to catapult the Chop Tops from local up-and-comer status into a band capable of warming up crowds for some of the biggest names in rockabilly and early rock ‘n’ roll. Their high-octane approach to making music has earned these guys a multitude of die-hard fans who have witnessed the Chop Tops rocking the lights out of clubs, punk shows, honky-tonks, bars and festivals.
Riding on their sharp musicianship, super-tight group chemistry, fun and frantic stage shows and a deep repertoire of roots, rock and rockabilly classics, the Chop Tops are at the center of a punk-influenced, rockabilly-driven local music scene. And if the music isn’t enough, these guys are oozing mid-century rebel style. From black Chuck Taylors and cuffed jeans right on up to their immaculately-groomed and pomaded hair-dos, they are the embodiment of the cool ‘50s rocker. In fact, they’re even sponsored by Murray’s Pomade; an 84-year-old company whose only other musical sponsorship was the legendary Stray Cats.
The Chop Tops play the Blank Club on March 18.