“I once got electrocuted while doing a gig on Revolución Avenue in Tijuana,” says rockabilly guitarist Buzz Campbell of Hot Rod Lincoln. “Something to do with the power — I went to sing and shocked my mouth on my mike. I thought my lip fell off.”
Campbell and Hot Rod Lincoln released a CD in 2006 called Runaway Girl (with song titles like “Too Drunk to Drive” and “Betty Page”). Buzz has also played lead guitar for former Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker’s band. “Lee stole me from Sha Na Na [which has also included Hot Rod Lincoln bassist and guitarist Tim Butler]. I did that gig for three years. That was quite an experience. “I was a kid when I first saw the Stray Cats in 1991. I dropped out of school to play music after that show. Now I play with the bass player, Lee Rocker — who needs dreams?”
He describes his favorite guitar: “A 1958 Gretsch Country Club. I have it signed by some of my biggest influences...when I met Carl Perkins many years ago, I was seeing him perform at the House of Blues in Hollywood. Lee Rocker was producing our record at the time, 1997, and invited me to see him and his group open up for Carl. After the show I went back with my guitar and met Carl. He was very nice and signed it for me. As I was leaving, someone grabbed the neck of the guitar. I turned around to punch the guy — it was Dave Edmunds, English rocker and producer of the Stray Cats. I restrained myself after seeing who it was and let him play it. He signed it for me as well. Good thing I didn't punch him — he made some of my favorite records.”
His favorite local gig? “I opened for Brian Setzer at the Del Mar Fair on the Grandstand Stage one year. Close to 10,000 people — so they told me. Ty Cox, the drummer, and I did a quick shot of tequila just before the show, then really hit the stage hard. San Diego really supported us that night; it was really something. The band was really on that night, and the crowd was really fired up — better than sex. The tequila didn't hurt either.”
Former Hot Rod drummer Chris Giorgio, who previously played with Billy Bacon and Forbidden Pigs, later launched a solo career as Jackslacks, beginning with his 2002 rockabilly album Rock & Roll Dinosaur, produced by Lee Rocker and featuring Bacon. Giorgio still embraced his Forbidden roots on the 2013 Jackslacks EP Farm Jazz, released on the indie label Shield of Love and including the track “Don’t Mind Me.”
“That song was actually co-written with my ex-Pig mate Billy Bacon, who unfortunately suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and is unable to gig much anymore,” says Giorgio. “It was cool to work with him again after so many years.”
A full Hot Rod Lincoln reunion performance took place at the 2018 Adams Avenue Street Fair, headlined by reggae/tropical pop singer Hollie Cook.