|The Tip Top Trio, Loved by Don King & America
Who are The Tip Top Trio? Where did they come from? Where did they go? Yes, those are the questions you want to know about an unknown band. And I am only too glad to inform you. The Tip Top Trio are Hot Wire Hot Rod, Dick Dice and Zack B. Hectic. They're all floating around the age of 30 and live to play the most fun, boppin', jungle-beatin' form of music on the planet, Rockabilly. It is The Tip Top Trio's mission to spread the Rockabilly sound among as many uninitiated as possible, thereby exponentially increasing the world's happiness. So far, so good.
Hot Wire Hot Rod discovered Rockabilly through Disney TV at age eight when the Stray Cat's "Rock This Town" was set to an animated cartoon. It was ten years later he managed to find his first rockabilly album and begin to learn how to play. It was worth the wait.
Dick Dice has been aware of Rockabilly music since his late teens but didn't learn of its greatness until he found an album by Charlie Feathers, "Live on NBC," and since then has been unable to stay away. He has spread his passion and Mr. Feathers is one of the biggest influences on the group's sound. Amusingly though, it's his twin passion for the experimental which has contributed most to the group's unique arrangements and penchant for unexpected elements.
Zack B. Hectic is the purest and most professional member of the group. He has been playing the longest, the best and, honestly, could be the whole group plus reeds, winds, and orchestra should he choose to over-dub. Truly, he knows all forms of music. It just so happens that Rockabilly is his favorite. He learned of it through an album by Ray Condo and the Ricochets, "Swing Brother, Swing." Brother, did he ever.
In the group, Hot Wire Hot Rod supplies lead guitar, Dick Dice donates rhythm and Zack B. Hectic contributes the doghouse bass. All members sing. In case you were curious.
The Tip Top Trio began with Dick Dice and Hot Wire Hot Rod. As is often the case, a phone call was responsible for it all. "Wanna come down here and play some music?" asked Dick. "Sure," replied Hot Rod who then migrated to Sacramento, California and they started up their first project, which was assisting the other on their solo albums. Mr. Dice recorded "[exuviae]" and "Spark Plugs and Light Bulbs," both rather indescribable albums of amazing sounds and ideas that refuse to fit into any genre. Mr. Hot Rod released, "Mediocriopolis," an album which flits between musical styles but still falls firmly into the camp of "Pop." All of them were released under the banner of Elephant Audio. However, at their performances, they always gravitated towards Rockabilly. Eventually logic revealed its pompadoured head and the next obvious step was taken; a Rockabilly band was formed. Being but two they called it, "Hotwire Hotrod & The Poodle-Skirt Chaser" (I'm sure you can tell which member decided to change his name later). A demo album was recorded and thanks to placement in a few choice hands, gigs were secured. But while the group was pleased to finally be traveling the road to Rockabilly, they could tell their sound was a little thin, it needed to be fuller to allow the full release of their passions. And thus came Zack B. Hectic like manna from above. He was found, like all the best things in life, though a barbershop. Or rather a hairdresser. As Dick Dice told a stylist friend of his about the band's need for some bottom, she said, "I know a guy." And what a guy! Zack B. Hectic was perfect. "You fellas are playing the kind of Rockabilly I've always wanted!" he cried. They blended instantly. With Dice rolling the rhythm and Hectic slapping the beat and Hot Rod slamming the lead everything sounded so nice it was hard to tell there were no drums. And none were needed. The group was complete.
The Tip Top Trio played around the Sacramento and the Bay Area for almost two years. During that time they managed to share the bill with acts like Arsen Roulette, The Chop Tops, The Infamous Swanks, Three Bad Jacks, Charlie Roman & The Teenage Werewolves, The Two-Timin' Three and Deke Dickerson. They also recorded and released two live albums and one concert DVD. A small following was built up and their debut self-titled studio album has sold as far away from them as Finland (quite to their surprise). At this point, The Tip Top Trio would like to give their thanks to the Internet without which the Fins would never have heard of their music & neither would you because that's also where they found your mailing address. Thank you Internet!
With the release of their debut album, The Tip Top Trio accomplished what they set out to do and have quietly retired. Zack B. Hectic moved to San Francisco and has become a college man, majoring (naturally) in music. Hot Wire Hot Rod met, and married, the love of his life and is beginning the enviable process of settling down. Dick Dice contracted a case of itchy feet and is exploring the wilds of Argentina. Undoubtedly the future holds reunions for this band as they simply enjoying playing together too much but it will not be at as concentrated a level as was before. So why are you hearing of them now? Well, frankly they love their album and want to make sure as many people as possible get to hear it. It's their crowning achievement. It's damn good Rockabilly. It's just too fun not to spread around. And they're proud of it. They want you to enjoy it. And I hope you do.
Hot Wire Hot Rod
No history of The Tip Top Trio would be complete without mention of Melissa Callaway. She is their regular guest vocalist and is featured on the album track, "Shut Your Mouth." In fact, that song is the genesis for her extensive involvement with the band. A while back, Hot Wire Hot Rod was trying his hand in the local stand-up comedy scene. Though his short career as a funnyman was without distinction, Melissa Callaway did attend one of his performances. She was impressed enough by his oddness to come up later and present him with her card saying, "You're pretty funny. Call me and I might be able to help get you some gigs." As it turned out, Hot Rod never did contact her for said gigs but he did notice her card listed "vocalist" among her talents. The Tip Top Trio needed a singer to record the female part for "Shut Your Mouth." Might she be the one? As it turned out, she was. And while warming up she asked, "You guys know, 'Walkin' After Midnight'?" After hearing that wonderful voice, the band knew she could be a valuable addition and had her perform a spot with them on nearly every one of their shows. In addition, Melissa is responsible for the vast amount of documentation of the band, being a talented photographer and cinematographer. On a personal note, she also turned out to be a perfect woman and on June 20th, 2008 Melissa Callaway and Hot Wire Hot Rod were married. The couple is eternally grateful for fate bringing them together through the auspices of the band. Work is currently underway for her first solo album.
Courtesy of Hot Wire Hot Rod, 2009
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