Mark Burke first invaded America with his psychobilly group The Phantom Rockers back in 1993. The resulting tour with The Meteors introduced the U.S. to the UK hybrid of punk, rockabilly and heavy metal.
With several years and albums behind them, The Phantom Rockers have settled into San Antonio's small, but durable punkabilly scene and released a double-disc career retrospective, "20 Years and Still Kicking," and will debut a documentary later this year.
"It's great to be in a cult scene," said the lead singer, his British accent still rich despite years of exposure to the Texas drawl. "You might have your ups and downs, but the scene's always going to be there."
Tucked away in the band's arsenal are hellfire rock 'n' roll cuts about Hannibal Lecter, south-of-the-border debauchery, walking undead and even a cover of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)."
The Phantom Rockers are harsher than most psychobilly bands of today, but Burke said the group's array of influences is responsible for its enduring relevance.
"Psychobilly is a music of crossover. Everything is in it, and that's why I like it," he said. "Some bands might be more metal, some might have more rockabilly in it. There are no zones where you say, 'You can't put that there.' There are no limits of what you can do."
Burke said the band's new label, SOS Records " which has its roots in music subcultures like punk, psychobilly and ska " has agreed to release a new Phantom Rockers full-length album. For the new release, Burke said the group will return to the London studio where it first recorded. Although Burke retains a love for the Rockers' English roots, he's grown fond of the Lone Star music scene.
"I like it here " don't know why. I've lived in North Carolina and Los Angeles, but Texas is just geared up for rock 'n' roll," he said. "London in the Eighties, there were so many styles of music and they all had their own fashion, it was like being in a gang. In America, it seems it's just one big family." "Charles Martin