Members: Devon "DiDi" Shilling, lead vocals; Eric Hamilton, drums; Jesse Austin, lead guitar; Paul Keaveney, guit steel; Christopher "Socko" Elliott, upright bass
Who we talked to: Austin, 24
How did you guys meet/ How long have you been performing together? We formed little over a year ago. I moved here a little over a year and a half ago from southwest Kansas. I actually needed somebody to cut my hair. I found Devon on Facebook and called her up one day. We had Sundays and Mondays off. I'm a guitar tech, and I also drive a truck. We started talking, and she said, "I just started singing for a rockabilly band and we're looking for a lead guitar player. Do you know anybody?" I was like, "You know what? That's the music I really enjoy playing. I would love to come and try out."
We just played and everyone hit it off.
How did you come up with the name? We knew from the very beginning that we were a little bit different (since we have) a female lead singer. We wanted to incorporate Devon's nickname, which is Didi, which, by the way, stands for Drama Diva. We just started throwing around names. The guys in the band are the Dirty Devils.
Can you talk more about the band's rockabilly style? Rockabilly music to me ... is a mix of country and blues and rock 'n' roll. It is considered like a roots music kind of thing, but you can put any kind of twist on it that you want. You can get like a punkier sound ... or incorporate metal into it and all of a sudden it's psychobilly. You have your traditional rockabilly band, which would be sans drummer like Elvis did in the beginning.
Where do you play in the area? We've been playing a lot more this summer than last summer. We usually book gigs anywhere we can. We've been playing a lot of car shows, which are fun, but it's really fun to play clubs and bars and stuff because you get a more intimate setting that way. Old-time rock 'n' roll and classic cars have always (gone) together. We pay a lot of traditional style car shows, where it's pretty much cars (that are) pre-'65. (Rockabilly car shows) are getting popular right now.
They have pinup contests and burnout contests. You'll see guys that are living (the) style with their hair slicked back and their jeans cuffed.
(The greaser style) is starting to get really popular. Some of these new bands that are coming out have a real thick rockabilly influence. The Black Keys just came out with their new album. The first time I heard ("Lonely Boy") on the radio, I was like, "Whoa this is a rockabilly song on a pretty much top-40 rock station." That's why I think we are being as accepted as we are. People are starting to kind of dig that sound again.
What groups influence you? Devon's main influence is Wanda Jackson. As far as the guys go, we listen to all different kinds of music. Some of our heavier influences would be The Reverend Horton Heat, Stray Cats ... and The Brian Setzer Orchestra. We like a little bit heavier stuff as well like Koffin Kats. We still listen to the very traditional old recordings, too, like Elvis and Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent.
Do you play covers, originals or both? Right now, it's kind of a mix. When we cover something, the words are the same, but we completely rearrange it. Sometimes, we'll mix songs together or go in and out of one. One in particular that's been really popular, is we take "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, go into "Mystery Train," which was first recorded by Elvis and back into "Folsom Prison." We know the music side well enough that we can do that. We have a demo at the moment. We're planning ... in July sometime to go back into a professional studio.
Do you dress in the vintage style for shows? It depends on the gig. If it's going to be really hot outside ... I'll wear a T-shirt and shorts. Most of the time, we do show up and we do look like we are a group. We definitely all look retro.
We've all got good hair because of Devon.
Get an old school look
Devon "DiDi" Shilling isn't just the front woman for a rockabilly band. She and her husband, John, of Mount Wolf, opened a barbershop and salon last fall.
DiDi & Smiling John's offers vintage hairstyles, including finger waves, pin curls, pompadours and whiskey company cuts. John offers straight-razor shaves with a hot towel and lather. Guests can sip complementary wine and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and National Bohemian.
The shop is at 330 S. George St., York. For details, call 717-858-7428 or visit www.didiandsmilingjohns.com.
If you go
DiDi & Smiling John's is partnering with the Vintage Bike Night York group to raise money to help victims of
The 21-and-older event is
4 to 8 p.m. June 16 at The Depot, 360 W. Cottage Place, York.
The event includes, barbecue, beverages and a raffle. Pinstripe artist Matt Grosso will pinstripe purses, bikes, cars and other items. Members of the local group Tattooed Rosies will be there and DiDi Deluxe and The Dirty Devils will perform.
Proceeds go to ACCESS-York and the YWCA's Victim Assistance Center.