None of them were all that adept at their chosen instruments, but they did have a 1964 VW camper van, some pink paint, passports and petrol money, threw it all together and set off for a summer of sun and fun in France where they learned a few chords & wrote some songs. After a summer buskin in St Tropez , they returned back to Blighty with their suntans looking for gigs. The band was being described in some quarters as a cross between Benny Hill, The Ramones and the Cramps. Nobody in England had the slightest inclination as to who they were. But that was all to change.
After various drummers they auditioned ‘Ginger’ of The Meteors & he introduced them to the Psychobilly scene in the UK via The Klub Foot in Hammersmith, London. The Highliners then went on tour with King Kurt, both bands being on the fun side of the Psychobilly scene. Both bands with outlandish outfits and silly dancing. It wasn’t too long before The Highliners graduated from novelty warm up band to headlining act.
Singed to ABC records who released in 1988 the debut single ‘Henry The Wasp’ and it was almost a hit! BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Wright made it record of the week, a video was made to promote the single and it immediately started to get national attention on MTV. It looked as if the boys were about to become pop stars, especially when they got a regular slot playing as the house band on the TV show ‘The Comedy Wavelength’. Then… nothing. After that Rick Buckler of The Jam, produced their long awaited long playing debut.
‘Bound For Glory’ which was released on Razor Records in 1989, preceded by what should have been another hit ‘Benny Hill Boogie’ - which was lifted from the album as a taster. History seemed to repeat itself, as with ‘Henry’, ‘Benny Hill Boogie’, a catchy, infectious party record with ‘commercial success’ written all over it, was starting to get airplay but was reportedly notoriously hard to get hold of in the shops, which is not good news for chart topping sales. The Highliners were now doubly disappointed at missing out on the big-time through no fault of their own. The Klub Foot then closed down taking the heart out of the UK Psychobilly scene.
So, as the 90s dawned, the style was almost dead on its feet and The Highliners joined the casualty list when in 1991 they disbanded, disillusioned. But as a famous man once said, ‘you can’t keep a good man down’, or in this case ‘men’. In 1995, thanks largely to insistence of long time fan Russ Surfer, The Highliners reformed. Stretch and Luke were joined by new members Kenny on Sax, Russ on drums & Doyle (Klingonz) on guitar.
They were back on the road and recording. The first release of the new look band was in 1996 in the form of another collectable tape, ‘The Vatican Tapes’. Followed by an EP vinyl release in 1998 this time on NV Records titled the ‘Fetish Party’. The Highliners had one more record release in 2000, ‘Spank-o-Matic’ on Vinyl & CD.
It wasn’t a huge success even though some of the songs were classic Highliners tunes, but they were badly let down by the production staff. It wasn’t the great come back album it should have been. But by this time Russ (known as Tiger) was already singing in Death Valley Surfers & this caused him to leave The Highliners. The story of The Highliners doesn’t really have an ending, Luke, Stretch and the original drummer Tim carried on with the occasional gigs up until 2008.
Where once again, they seemed to run out of steam. Luke still being great friends with ‘Tiger” convinced him back into the fold. A new line up was formed & now are back on the Psychobilly Festival circuit & will prove once again they are BOUND FOR GLORY. Latest line up in 2009: Luke Highliner- Vocals Tiger - Drums Dave DeVille- Guitar Gasty - Double Bass Brendan Blowers_ Saxpohone Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more