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Izzy and the Castatrophics Perform at Boone Saloon on July 7; Modern Roots-Rock with Frenzy and Flair

Izzy and the Castatrophics

June 13, 2012. Izzy and the Castatrophics will perform at the Boone Saloon on July 7. Frontman Izzy Zaidman is the guitarist for the legendary Wayne Hancock. Doors open at 10:00 p.m. and the cover charge is $7. 


Previous High Country Press article about the band which recently changed its name to the Castatrophics… 

The Brooklyn-based band describes their sound as a unique brand of avant-garde rockabilly and cited Chuck Berry as their greatest influence. With a horn accompaniment consisting of a trombone and saxophone, their sound invariably gravitates to swing, but their music spans genres. One song off their debut album, Elegant M.F., sounds like surf rock meets Elvis.

All the members have played in previous bands of varying styles. Zaidman played in a speed metal and bluegrass band and also was lead guitarist in honky-tonk legend Wayne Hancock’s band until he got in an altercation with another member of Hancock’s band. He got kicked out of the band, moved to Brooklyn and formed his own music group. His ex-bandmates have played with Fela Kuti, Bad Brains and Slavic Soul Party.

Kessel has been a lead singer and bassist in punk bands and a lead guitarist for rockabilly bands and a hip hop engineer for Busta Rhymes, Keith Murray and Redman.

Wilson, the saxophone player, has been on recordings with different styles of music such as indie rock, world pop from Mali, hip hop and ska. 

Ettinghoff has played drums with swing and jazz, and Sowash has played trombone in the ska and reggae scene. Sowash has sat in with bands such as the Slackers, Westbound Train and Footrights.


Past Publicity of Izzy and crew…

“If Izzy and the Catastrophics had been the band on the Titanic, they’d have blown that iceberg into cubes for drinks on the ledo deck.” -Brian Baker, Citybeat Cincinnati.

Stitching together rock n’ roll, swing, surf, honky-tonk, and bebop, Izzy and the Catastrophics are reworking the template for modern roots-rocking music. Often compared to rockabilly greats of the past, Izzy and his boys are carrying the tradition into the 21st century with considerable flair and more than a little bit of frenzy.

Firmly grounded in traditional American roots music, and with the chops to nail it and the grit to deliver it, Izzy and his boys are a five-headed, occasionally profane encyclopedia of all that is great and original in American roots musics. Bound to professional principles, yet prone to avant-garde interludes and playfully vulgar stage banter, the band is rapidly building a fan-base/subculture from disparate corners on both sides of the Atlantic. Izzy’s shows are as likely to be filled with excitable counter-culture kids as with sentimental old drunks. If there is a common thread connecting everyone who cares for live music, Izzy and the Catastrophics have a little piece of it.

In classic road-dog fashion, the band has had many lineup changes over the years. The one constant, of course, has always been Izzy Zaidman, veteran guitarist of honky tonk hero Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s band. Fronting the group with all-American swagger and a stage veteran’s charisma, Izzy’s masterful guitar playing is equaled by his witty songwriting and sharp stage banter. Izzy’s current players are: Chapman Sowash, trombone; Chad Brown, drums; Evan Levine, bass; and Ted Hefko, saxophone. Sowash is a veteran of such the ska acts The Toasters and Green Room Rockers, and has guested and toured with several other acs.

The band has toured constantly since 2008, playing over 250 shows per year in America and Europe. They have shared the stage with everyone from Snoop Dogg and Reverend Horton Heat to the unmentionable punk bands of Anaheim. Their last album, Lucky Dragon Swing Buffet, Dinner Price,was largely recorded during a month long stint in New Orleans, with guest appearances by some of the hottest young players on the emergent trad jazz scene. During the filming of their debut music video for “Mambo on Your Grave,” the group rode a full-sized Mardi-Gras float illegally through the mausoleum-laden cemeteries of New Orleans.

With a full summer domestic tour schedule, and having recently returned from a high-profile European tour , Izzy and the boys are set to release their next album, the seven song EP Lucky Dragon Swing Buffet: Lunch Price. The new CD features a mix of Izzy originals and covers, including their take on the classic “Sheik of Araby” and John Coltrane’s signature “Ornithology.” Like we said, they’re not your typical rootsrockabilly act!

Come all ye faithful to your nearest watering hole and see the boys live!

“No matter what group of able players is backing him, Izzy Zaidman — known just as Izzy on swingin’ circuits — is a one-man powerhouse of retro guitar fun. As the longtime axman for Wayne “The Train” Hancock, he perfected a rollicking style of guitar-picking that sounded like it was swiped straight from the Sun Records vaults. As a frontman in his own right, though, Izzy’s amassed a cult following of fans across the country thanks to his distinctive live shows. As a bandleader, he’s part foul-mouthed lounge lizard, part Andy Kaufmanesque comedian, and, most of the time, a fiery force of rock ‘n’ roll. And swing. And honky tonk. And a little classic country. And basically every other musical genre for which a pompadour and bright lipstick are perfectly appropriate.

This is straight-up fun, no chasers…Though he’s come through previously with the outfit the Kesstronics, this grouping features a fresh lineup. Most notably for subcultural types, that includes trombonist Chapman Sowash, who’s done time with favorites of the trad ska scene like the Toasters, the Slackers, Westbound Train, and the Aggrolites.”

Arielle Castillo, Broward/Palm Beach New Times