Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Biography

Former Alaskan middleweight Screamin' Jay Hawkins popped up in the late '50s as the polar opposite of such comparably family-oriented rock 'n' roll fare as Fats Domino or Chubby Checker. His bizarre showmanship and on-stage theatrics were a shot in the arm to early rock 'n' roll and a far cry from the comparatively restrained rebellion involved in doing "the Twist." His primitive version of rock consisted of spare instrumentation and manic booming vocals that spouted off about spell-casting, alligators, demons and -- of course -- constipation. His theatrics involved rising out of a casket at each performance, maintaining a friendship with a smoking human skull, and other general voodoo-isms. His campy schtick has landed him a secure place in the annals of rock while also securing a string of followers in bands like The Cramps or the Demolition Doll Rods.
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