Monday, May 9, 2011

Defining Rockabilly

Back in March I posted about some DIY tutorials on Design Sponge and I got an interesting comment that made think about how to define "Rockabilly." This can be a hard thing to pinpoint because the origin of Rockabilly lies in a mixture of genres (honky tonk, jump blues, etc.) as well as the cultural influence of the late 40s through the early 60s. A lot of Rockabilly music and fashion comes directly from this first wave influence. I have done several posts on music and fashion from this time. You can also use my label 50s Rockabilly to see all of my posts on the topic in general.

There was the second wave of Rockabilly in the 80s, when the influence of punk and harder rock n' roll genres added a gritty overtone to Rockabilly. Psychobilly and similar genres came out of this revival and the music and fashion reflected this as well. I find that a lot of the Rockabillies I know or see at events wear a mixture of the two styles; perhaps a vintage 50s dress with a spiked pomp and stilettos.

For me, Rockabilly is more of an attitude. As I mentioned in my reply to the post comment above, my idea of rockabilly is finding ways to rediscover "vintage" from a certain time period and put it back into our lives. I put vintage in quotes because sometimes the thing we rediscover is not an item, but an idea or cultural element. Some people choose to mash-up more than one culture because they find that it expresses their personality best. I tend to veer towards items that might not necessarily be considered Rockabilly, but makes me feel Rock n' Roll, which is essentially what Rockabilly helped to create. One of my favorite blogs Rock n' Roll Bride pretty much sums up how I feel when she talks about what makes a wedding Rock n' Roll:
 "It’s not about being ‘cool’, being a rebel or even thinking of the most unique idea you can, it’s about planning a wedding that reflects you and your partner and declaring your love in your way...  You don’t have to be ‘out-there’ or ‘offbeat’, you just have to be you."

So on that note, I present to you the website Perpetual Kid. It is so not "Rockabilly" but has a whole lot of nifty stuff that can add up to a whole lot of attitude. My favorites are the Tiki key-caps, the Gunbrella, and the Bonehead folding comb. Thanks to the Chronically Vintage Blog for turning me on to this fun site!

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