If you can’t decide between country and gothic, gothabilly is the answer. It’s quite similar to psychobilly, in fact the first use of the word was by The Cramps in the late 70s. They used it to describe the blend of rockabilly, punk and gothic in their music and clothing style. Since then, gothabilly has come to describe a genre in the gothic subculture. The current gothabilly subculture include both fashion and music implications. Think about mixing Elvis Presley, The Cramps and a horror b-movie: the result will be a kitsch, retro and vivid goth with many features in common with deathrock. Satin, lace and velvet blend with cowboy hats, boots and western shirts. It’s an overall retro and slightly kitsch style, but it’s lots of fun and it has a dark twist to it that we love. Tongue-in-cheek and dark humour are vital in this subculture. Some of the most famous gothabilly bands are The Brimstones, Graveyard Farmers, Jake the Evil Redneck, Mr. Underhill, Cult of the Psychic Fetus, Vampire Beach Babes, The Horrorpops, The Phantom Cowboys, Zombie Ghost Train, Ghoultown, Dead Sea Surfers, The Coffinshakers, Pink Hearse, and the Surf Sluts.
Musically, gothabilly combines Goth rock (think about Bauhaus) with rockabilly (country and blues) and it often has the psychobilly’s upright bass. Many gothabilly bands use horror themes, paranormal, vampires. Unlike psychobilly and deathrock, gothabilly lyrics also include romance and a generally more melancholic atmospheres.
Gothabilly FashionFashion, like music, is a blend of rockabilly and gothic. Dark motifs mix with country style staples, resulting in a style that doesn’t take itself seriously. Despite their penchant for dark and gothic, gothabillies love to have fun and to dress accordingly. Some common motifs are cherries, dices, playing cards, 50s flames, leopard prints, polka dots, sugar skulls, zombies, swallows, pinups. The clothing style is actually similar to psychobilly, but it’s “softer” and “less punk.” Gothabillies look like living-dead dolls, they love the zombie visual aesthetic and retro clothes so they often wear pinup clothes with a dark twist. Glenda Peep Toe Platform Shoes – Blood Roses Bandana – Monsters Full Swing Pinup Dress Pencil skirts, peep toe pumps, victory rolls and quiffs mixed with skulls, zombie pinup tattoos and Morticia Addams fashion sense. Creeper shoes, boots, cowboy hats and anything Fields of the Nephilim members would wear: that’s the gothabilly guy. Gothabilly fashion incorporates more colour than most goth styles because it is largely inspired by the 50s. Leopard prints, 50s red or bright pink women look like a dark Bettie Page, and men look like “Elvis Presley meets Dave Vanian.”
Tattoos are obviously very common among gothabilly guys and girls, why wouldn’t they be? Old school is the preferred style, and the subjects are pinups, zombie pinups, flaming skulls, zombie cupcakes and so on. Are you still confused? We think that the video we included below sums up everything we mentioned about gothabilly. It’s a video by The Graveyard Farmers and it features no less than our beloved burlesque and retro style icon, Dita Von Teese. Make sure you watch it!
Do you like the gothabilly style? Do you love gothabilly music? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo credits: Pinterest.com