The Picture above is of the Hillbilly Hellcats performing onstage at the Cherry Club on AC/DC Lane, Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 13, 2017
-300+ Youtube videos
-Westword magazine Reades poll Best Rockabilly 1995-2000
-2 million Spotify streams as of 2017
-4200 TV/film and ad placements since 2011
-toured 40 states, 14 countries
In 1983 bassist/champion banjoist Lance Bakemeyer was walking on the Boulder mall when he saw a large poster advertising a performance of Chucky & the Cyclones a block off the Mall at J.J. McCabe's that very evening. He went to the show where he saw the band performing songs from bands of the 1983 Rockabilly Revival, including The Stray Cats and The Blasters, as well as Rockabilly classics of the 50s. Before long Lance had joined the band as bassist. Those were the days of 4-6 night nightclub engagements all over the state. Chucky and the Cyclones played weeks in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Telluride, Aspen, Keystone, Fort Collins, Vail, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, and Durango.
Before long the band started receiving requests to play at private parties and weddings for offers larger than a whole week's pay at nightclubs. There were at least 10 very active booking agents in Denver who kept Chuck's phone ringing off the hook. At their agents' and client's request, the band found themselves adding a great variety to their repertoire and most often playing in tuxedos for society and corporate events.The band was financially very successful, but Chuck decided to change direction.
As a lifelong full-time musician who supplemented his gigging with up to 60 weekly guitar students at Villa Music, Robb's Music, and Boulder Music, Chuck had a broad view of the music business, and decided there were new goals he wanted to accomplish- namely, writing songs, recording them, and touring the world. In 1993 Chuck and Lance went about writing songs and making a pact to play only those original songs in a band with a new name. Thus, the Hillbilly Hellcats were formed. The band started playing in Denver in 1994, then recorded it's first CD in 1996.
Chuck then set about the repeated booking of three 5,000-7,000 mile circular tours. One was to the West from Denver, the other to the Northeast, and the other to the Southeast.
Along the way the band would stop at record stores and radio stations, consigning their CDS and playing in-house cameo appearances. That touring led to publicity in entertainment newspapers from many major cities, and appearances at The Rockabilly Ball, the Denver Rock n' Rhythm billy weekender, Viva Las Vegas festival, and the Rustbelt Weekender.
In 2001 Chuck received an email from one of the first sync-licensing companies, Pump Audio, who wanted to license the Hillbilly Hellcat songs for use in TV and films. That was the start of the Hillbilly Hellcats' placements of songs in hundreds of TV shows, including Better Call Saul, VH1, MTV, Toyota commercials, cooking channels, and travel channels. Several of those TV clips are among the 18 videos posted here. Tunesat.com has detected over 4,000 plays of Hillbilly Hellcat songs on U.S. TV in just the last 5 years.
In 2005 the Hillbilly Hellcats began playing shows internationally, and have played 16 countries as of today, as well as 40 states.
To date they have received over 2 million streams of those songs on Spotify alone. Go to Spotify, search for Hillbilly Hellcats, click on "about" on their page, and you will see an up to date listing of their actual plays and followers. This follows thousands of recordings sold on iTunes and Amazon in pre-streaming days. For videos, go to Youtube and search "Hillbilly Hellcats." Over 300 videos from the U.S., Spain, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, and Australia will be found.
It has been the Hillbilly Hellcats' songwriting which has garnered them the invitations to play all over the world and got their music on many shows daily. When playing concerts the band sticks pretty much to what the audience has come for - to hear the songs on the recordings. Nonetheless, they have played many cover songs in the past, and for private parties and weddings they are happy to dig into those song selections to keep the party going.