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Space is the place for Rockabilly Space Force of the future

UPDATED: Thu., July 8, 2021

Bands who create their own reality are rare and often amazing. There’s Spinal Tap, the fictitious metal band and the subject of the hilarious cult classic “This Is Spinal Tap,” which is arguably the funniest music film ever. There’s the Monkees, a light and amusing 1960s sitcom about an emerging rock band, who live in a California beach house, that still holds up.

And there is local band the Rockabilly Space Force, which has concocted an entertaining story. The members of the band live on Deimos, a Martian moon, that’s a refueling station in the world of Rockabilly Space Force.

“It’s low gravity so you can fuel a spaceship without having to actually land on a planet,” multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Garrin Hertel said while discussing the scenario he dreamed up with his bandmates. “The station has been abandoned, so we, a group of mechanics and engineers, take over the base.”

It’s a high rockabilly concept. During the 1950s, rockabilly and grease monkeys in a garage were as close as peanut butter and jelly. The future, in say the year 2090, finds the garage in space, according to Hertel and company.

“We look at space as the Wild West,” Hertel said. “There’s no regulations, lots of partying. It’s where the next gold rush is.” It’s a cool concept that Rockabilly Space Force, which also includes vocalist-bassist Olivia Brownlee, vocalist-pianist-guitarist-saxophonist Dayan Kai, drummer Andy Bennett and tenor saxophonist Robert Folie, will deliver with a podcast.

Three episodes are in the can, and the podcast will air once 16 shows are completed. The band projects that future concerts will feature animation in the background and bits of the podcasts between songs.

“But for now our shows will just have music,” Hertel said. That will suffice considering the band’s combination of inventive covers, such as their rollicking version of Pete Seeger’s “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” which also features an entertaining video, and originals, such as the catchy “A Good Horse.”

“We’re looking forward to playing those songs,” Hertel said. “Again, the shows are conventional now. Down the line, we aim to offer more, and we have to since people don’t buy music anymore. There has to be more for music fans.”

Rockabilly Space Force will not have the final frontier visuals when it performs Thursday at a block party at South Downing Court. However, the songs will scream that space is the place. The band recently recorded a bluesy version of the Police hit “Walking on the Moon.”

“Satellite Rock,” a spirited Joe Tate cover, has been updated. “The show we’re doing isn’t going to be space age, but it will be fun,” Hertel said. “It’s fun just going out and doing shows. We’re just enjoying any kind of normalcy. We’ll be doing our show here, and then we’re off to Montana. It’s exciting now that things are opening up.”

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