Wichita Kansas Psychobilly / Garage-Rock three piece In Line Juggs, named after a V-Twin Motorcycle engine (though nowadays difficult to google without a deluge of “Hooters” style images sullying your search history), existed 10 short months through 1992-93, and in that time recorded two studio albums, one live album, and toured the western States from Kansas to California. The album, Incurable Psychobilly, a cassette only release at the time has just been reissued via Pima County. It’s a classic from the fag end of the now seemingly completely marginalized psychobilly genre that had bloomed in the mid to late 1980s like an incredible fungus from the spores of the Cramps and Panther Burns (though both Lux’n’Ívy and Tav hated the term). I was in the UK at the time of bands like Meteors and the Klub Foot scene and though I never had a quiff or a tattoo or a skull earing (oh hang on maybe I did have one of those…) I saw a lot of those bands. One regional Meteors show with their snakebite sozzled fans (The Wreckin’ Crew) was maybe the most violent gig I was ever at, beating shows by the Cockney Rejects and Angelic Upstarts by some margin… Anyway, I digress… I never saw In Line Juggs, never even heard of them until bass player Ditch sent us a promo and my long buried psychobilly sense started tingling. Incurable Psychobilly kicks off with some heavy fuzzzz setting the tone but like the best of the genre it’s much more than just recycled rock’n’roll riffs and gloomy gothic yelping drowned in echo, the album, whilst never straying too far away from the big beat, has enough hints of other styles, one track sounds like a Sandinista out-take, to send it up near the top of the psychobilly league. Now that might not be the most competitive of leagues but you play it as it lays and In Line Juggs played it, slayed it and quit while they were way ahead.
We messaged Ditch to get some background info on the band and how he came to join them.
DITCH: I was a Captain in the Air Force and stationed to Wichita Kansas and my second night I went to a bar that had an advert I’d seen in the paper – a pin up bending over a martini glass that said "Drink at Kirby's, our drinks are Comph!" So, I went there and it was a cool little bar that seemed to be decorated by the customers – two girls were hanging tinsel over someone's poetry pinned to the wall. They were customers - the poet too.
I nursed bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbons reading the local paper and nobody would talk to me until near the end of the night when everyone was drunk, these two rockabilly looking guys, Nick and Chuck, struck up a conversation. I found out they were a band looking for a bass player and asked if I liked Rockabilly because of my haircut. I told them I was bass player, liked punk more than rockabilly, and hated Elvis – Nick looked at me with this serious look he always had and said "Charlie Feathers said Elvis killed rockabilly when he added drums." I didn't have a clue if he thought this was a good thing or a bad thing... We bonded over The Cramps, Tav Falco, The Clash, and Charlie Feathers - I was in the band without playing a note - hired for my haircut... but it was the time of Grunge so I didn't look like everyone else with really long hair...
OUTSIDELEFT: The album is all originals but part of the culture of the rockabilly/psychobilly scene was bands doing covers of obscure old songs. For years the bulk of a Cramps or Panther Burns set would be covers. I’m guessing you threw in a few.
DITCH: Did we! My first show with them (their 2nd as a band) was at some Easter Fun Fare where we played on this big outside stage to not loads of people. I don't know about the rest of the world, but in Wichita Kansas - when you are booked to play, you play three 45/50 minute sets! I had to learn 45 songs in a week and a half. I wasn't very good so Nick would just tell me to do "that Sid Vicious thing" where I would slide into the note like 'A Flat to A' like I was playing God Save The Queen. Anyway - we had to fill the set out with a lot of covers. In fact, on Halloween 1992 we played Kirby's annual drunken Halloween party (three 45/50 minute sets) but we recorded it, and it sounds good. It will be released digitally on Halloween 2022 - 30 Years later. On that recording you'll hear: 'The Way I Walk' Robert Gordon, 'Panther Man' Tav Falco and his Panther Burns, 'Birthday Cake' Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Primitive' The Groupies, 'Wrecking Ball' The Knitters, 'Rockin Bones' Ronnie Dawson. There’s probably more that I didn't know were covers and thought Nick wrote them…
OUTSIDELEFT: So the band didn’t last too long. What happened?
DITCH: We did a tour – Kansas to California. I was made redundant from the Air Force (very rare!!) because the Cold War had ended and the US had to get rid of 3500 Officers... Navigators were first to go. So I decided to move to England January 93 to form Super J Lounge with my friend from Tucson. Nick and Chuck played a bit longer under a new name until Chuck moved to Austin Texas to work as a Hot Rod mechanic. Nick disappeared and we have no idea where he is. Chuck thought he became an architect... shame as he was a great frontman...
Incurable Psychobilly is available on Pima County Records right here