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The Holland Sentinal

Web posted Thursday, February 24, 2000

Rockabilly group mixes fun with music

Staff writer

photo: feature

Raging Teens

If you like to dance but your dance floor moves leave something to be desired, you might just be in luck.

You could win a prize in the bad dancer contest that East Coast Rockabilly band the Raging Teens always incorporates into its gigs. The Raging Teens will appear with Holland band Voda at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 3 at The Sand Bar, 141 Butler St., Saugatuck. The Teens' self-titled CD will be available for purchase at the performance.

Kevin Patey, frontman for the New England based rockabilly quartet confides "We have this thing called the bad dancer contest. We give out free CDs to the worst dancers. We don't want people to feel intimidated: Just get out there and do your thing."

Rockabilly music is synonymous with dancing, according to Patey, who spoke with The Sentinel in a phone interview. "For anybody to stand still at a Raging Teens show, they'd have to be kind of a square," Patey said. "People are tired of staring at their shoes. They want to be entertained."

The vocalist, who also plays rhythm guitar, readily confesses to the reason he's on stage and not on the dance floor. "I can't dance: I have two left feet."

Clearly, the Raging Teens aren't dance snobs.

Patey, for example, hates it when dance elitists ruin the fun for everyone. "You know the type. Swing couples who monopolize the floor with their obnoxious expertise; down-to-the-groove freelancers who make everybody else feel like schmucks." He'd rather see people have a good time.

Although a chance to dance is one reason to hear Raging Teens perform, Patey thinks that Amy Griffin, the quartet's female lead guitarist, is a big part of the band's attraction. (Raging Teens also includes Matt Murphy on stand-up bass and Keith Schubert on drums.)

"It's rare for a band -- especially with this kind of music -- to have a girl on guitar," Patey says. "Reviewers often refer to Amy as 'our not-so-secret weapon.'"

Griffin not only plays like a fiend, she's also gorgeous, and when she's not coming up with hot guitar licks, she works as a landscaper, according to Patey. "She's a real guy girl. She likes to eat steak, drink beer and play guitar."

Anyone who doubts that Griffin likes her red meat can check out her legs. Not to ogle, but to catch a glimpse of her tattoo. "Amy has a tattoo on her calf of a steak with a knife and a fork on it," Patey confides.

People still living in the stone age might find Griffin's tattoo rebellious. But then again they might be right. Leather jackets, duck's tail haircuts, tattoos -- rockabilly music was originally a reaction to the squeaky-clean '50s. "The music was the soundtrack to the way kids felt. World War II happened and that was a terrible mess. The boys came back and wanted to build a utopia. The '50s lifestyle was a little sterile, and kids rebelled against it," Patey says. "It was the first kind of music kids could identify as their own, a way of expressing themselves in new and original ways. Rockabilly brought the first inkling of a kid in a garage banging out three chords."

The Raging Teens decision to be a rockabilly band was also a reaction to modern rock and roll. "We all got disenchanted with what we heard on FM stations. What was being offered to me was doing nothing for me," Patey said. "The best forms of music always have elements of what's gone before."

Patey thinks that the music of the Raging Teens will appeal to more than just hard-core rockabilly fans. "If you like rock and roll it's hard not to like rockabilly. It's a primitive form of rock and roll -- rock and roll in it's purest, simplest form. We're the perfect soundtrack to going out and having a good time."

For more information on The Raging Teens visit their Web site at

Copyright 2000. The Holland Sentinel.

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