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Rockabilly Dreams

San Diego rockabilly guitarist Buzz Campbell and his band Hot Rod Lincoln released a CD last year called Runaway Girl (with songs titles like "Too Drunk to Drive" and "Betty Page"). Buzz also plays lead guitar for Lee Rocker's band. "Lee stole me from Sha Na Na. 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 [ex--Stray Cats] bass player, Lee Rocker -- who needs dreams?"

TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"I don't have problems performing -- it's where I feel most comfortable. The trickiest problem in San Diego is getting people to come out to see live music. It seems like local people don't have as much appreciation for it as they do in other parts of the country."

YOUR GUITAR?

"A 1958 Gretsch Country Club. I have it signed by some of my biggest influences: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dave Edmunds, all three Stray Cats, Waylon Jennings, Carl Perkins, B.B. King, Link Wray, and Scotty Moore -- Elvis's original guitar man. 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."

WORST GIG?

"I once got electrocuted while doing a gig on Revolución Avenue in Tijuana. Something to do with the power -- I went to sing and shocked my mouth on my mike. I thought my lip fell off."

BEST 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."

BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?

"When I was younger, I played at Johnny M's regularly before it became the Hard Rock Cafe. Brian Setzer walked in, hung out with us all night, played, sang, danced with the regulars, and got pretty drunk. My roadie drove him back to my lousy apartment, and he spent the night on the couch. I offered him the bed, but he wouldn't take it. I woke up the next day and realized Brian was there. Talked music with him for a while. He's been a good friend to this band and especially to me."

WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?

"Right now I am working on a new CD. I have been playing with Lee Rocker as well as HRL for the last two years, and we are working on his new CD. So I am listening to a lot of rough tracks -- however, I just got satellite radio and have been listening to a lot of Outlaw Country [on Sirius satellite radio], hosted by San Diego's own Mojo Nixon. It's cool to hear the Blasters, Paladins, along with classics like Carl Perkins, Johnny Burnette. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see that music getting some airplay again."

WHAT DID YOU DO PROM NIGHT?

"Nothing exciting. I was pretty shy in high school. I did go to prom a year after I graduated with my Mormon girlfriend. We got a hotel room for the night then got caught later. Her father wanted to kill me. If I remember correctly, it was worth it."

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San Diego rockabilly guitarist Buzz Campbell and his band Hot Rod Lincoln released a CD last year called Runaway Girl (with songs titles like "Too Drunk to Drive" and "Betty Page"). Buzz also plays lead guitar for Lee Rocker's band. "Lee stole me from Sha Na Na. 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 [ex--Stray Cats] bass player, Lee Rocker -- who needs dreams?"

TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"I don't have problems performing -- it's where I feel most comfortable. The trickiest problem in San Diego is getting people to come out to see live music. It seems like local people don't have as much appreciation for it as they do in other parts of the country."

YOUR GUITAR?

"A 1958 Gretsch Country Club. I have it signed by some of my biggest influences: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dave Edmunds, all three Stray Cats, Waylon Jennings, Carl Perkins, B.B. King, Link Wray, and Scotty Moore -- Elvis's original guitar man. 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."

WORST GIG?

"I once got electrocuted while doing a gig on Revolución Avenue in Tijuana. Something to do with the power -- I went to sing and shocked my mouth on my mike. I thought my lip fell off."

BEST 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."

BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?

"When I was younger, I played at Johnny M's regularly before it became the Hard Rock Cafe. Brian Setzer walked in, hung out with us all night, played, sang, danced with the regulars, and got pretty drunk. My roadie drove him back to my lousy apartment, and he spent the night on the couch. I offered him the bed, but he wouldn't take it. I woke up the next day and realized Brian was there. Talked music with him for a while. He's been a good friend to this band and especially to me."

WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?

"Right now I am working on a new CD. I have been playing with Lee Rocker as well as HRL for the last two years, and we are working on his new CD. So I am listening to a lot of rough tracks -- however, I just got satellite radio and have been listening to a lot of Outlaw Country [on Sirius satellite radio], hosted by San Diego's own Mojo Nixon. It's cool to hear the Blasters, Paladins, along with classics like Carl Perkins, Johnny Burnette. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see that music getting some airplay again."

WHAT DID YOU DO PROM NIGHT?

"Nothing exciting. I was pretty shy in high school. I did go to prom a year after I graduated with my Mormon girlfriend. We got a hotel room for the night then got caught later. Her father wanted to kill me. If I remember correctly, it was worth it."

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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