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Photograph by Dave Deluxe

Mama Drama: The Deadutantes enter the studio in August to record their debut record.

Psycho Sexy

Don't be scared, it's just the Deadutantes

By Todd Inoue

YOU WON'T SEE the Deadutantes clicking around Santana Row with Gucci bags and Maggiano's takeout containers. Try the funny-car drag strip or diners where plates are greasy and the boys greasier. With possibly the best band name in town, San Jose's Deadutantes—Lily on guitar, Thrashley on drums, Fabi on upright bass and Traci on lead seduction—back up their ghoulish moniker with skin-crawling Americana twang that draws from the blues, punk, country, goth, torch songs and rockabilly. Live, the Deadutantes creep with catlike grace with Traci's flirty antics and Lily's Gretsch reverb—raising the pulse and the back hairs.

The Deadutantes often get lumped as a psychobilly band. Psychobilly is a deranged hybrid of punk and rockabilly that originated in west London, England. Inspired by the Cramps, the genre took off with bands like Demented Are Go, the Meteors, the Guana Batz and King Kurt. Today, the most visible arbiters of psychobilly style are Reverend Horton Heat and Tiger Army. The Deadutantes are rockabilly/psychobilly hybrids. Their sound skews to the sleazy end but with a few unlikely influences. Traci is a goth DJ, Thrashley is a metal head, Lily was inspired by the Cramps' Poison Ivy.

"Rockabilly is a whole lifestyle; all the really neat wholesome stuff is in that genre," Lily says. "Psychobilly is edgier. Instead of pompadours you have whips. I don't think the traditional rockabilly fans would like us. They'd like us wearing vintage dresses and shoes, but we make our own clothes."

It's interesting to note that some hard-core rockabilly fans might appear as conservative as red-state Republicans—favoring classic Americana sounds with clean guitar tones, yodelly vocals and crisp suits and ties for the men and '50s dresses for women. Lily is proud of the band's self-created stage looks. Some favorites include blood-spattered, low-cut wolf whistlers that reveal ample décolletage and animal-print skirts that go up to there. She recently sewed Thrashley a blue snakeskin miniskirt, tighter than a frog's asshole. "We're all creative so we make these sexy outfits," Lily says. "There's nothing out there that appeals to us. We need stage wear."

Lily concedes that their sexy image is a component of the Deadutantes' popularity. Two weeks ago, the girls played a show in Los Angeles and had guys following their every move. In Germany, during a short tour, men dominated the front of the stage forming a rockabilly peepshow audience. The band enjoys the added awareness; the members are young and single, so why not? "All girls like attention from men," she says. "It's really cool when they offer to help you carry your amps, equipment. We need men and muscles. They're big supporters."

But before one paints the Deadutantes as cock teasers, they claim their biggest fan base is young girls 16 and up. The band's MySpace account flows with adoration from female friends and followers. Credit lyrics that draw on Lily's experience as a lapsed Catholic schoolgirl—a dark side with unresolved endings. "My Darling" is about two people who want to be together but one of them is getting out of a relationship. There is a twist at the end and the lyrics profess, "She's sleeping in the shallow grave tonight."

Things are picking up. The Deadutantes have signed with Hairball8 Records and taped a video for the single "Home Wrecker." In August, they enter the studio to record their first full-length album. In January, the Deadutantes packed out the Blank Club, but they spend more time in Southern California, where the rockabilly and psychobilly scenes have anchors. Last week, the group played the famed Derby. "Nobody goes to rockabilly shows around here," Lily complains. "The rockabilly scene is just like the swing scene. It was big for a while but now it's dead." The Deadutantes hope to reanimate the ailing corpse of a scene with trashy flair.

The Deadutantes play Friday (July 8) at the Blank Club, 44 S. Almaden Ave., San Jose, with the Odd Numbers, the Drip and the Gentlemen Callers. Doors open at 9pm, and tickets are $8. (408.29BLANK or www.theblankclub.com)

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From the July 6-12, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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