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Brian Setzer (born April 10, 1959) is an Americanmarker guitarist, singer and songwriter.

Biography

Career

Setzer was born in Massapequamarker, New Yorkmarker. Beginning in January 1980, he fronted the popular rockabilly band, Stray Cats. After performing from New York to Philadelphia, Setzer, Lee Rocker (born Leon Drucker) and Slim Jim Phantom (born James McDonnell) decided in June 1980 to go to Londonmarker where they believed people would better appreciate their sound and style. To make the money for the plane, Brian, Lee and Slim Jim went to the Sam Ash Music on 48th Street to sell their instruments and gear to the store and rather than negotiating, sold all of it for just enough for three plane tickets. Upon arrival, they decided to call themselves "Stray Cats", a name suggested by Rocker. The Stray Cats drew the attention of producer Dave Edmunds and released a series of successful singles in the UK.

The Stray Cats caught America's attention with the 1982 album Built for Speed, which included the two Top Ten hits, "Rock This Town" (#9) and "Stray Cat Strut" (#3), as well as with the follow-up 1983 album Rant 'N Rave with the Stray Cats, which included the two successful singles "(She's) Sexy + 17" (#5), and "I Won't Stand In Your Way" (#35).

The Stray Cats broke up in 1984, but would reunite briefly to record albums and mount tours several times through the early 1990s.

In 1986, Setzer released his first solo album, The Knife Feels Like Justice, which marked a move away from rockabilly and towards a more mainstream rock sound. The album found minor success, peaking at number 45 on the US album charts. Also in the mid-80s, Setzer was the lead guitarist for the touring version of Robert Plant's ensemble band, The Honeydrippers. In 1987, Setzer played the part of Eddie Cochran in the biographical film on the life of Ritchie Valens, La Bamba.

Setzer led a comeback for swing and jump blues music in the mid-1990s when he formed The Brian Setzer Orchestra, an ambitious 17-piece ensemble project, which released four studio albums, a Christmas disc and several live releases between 1994 and 2002. The group's biggest success (and Setzer's outside the Stray Cats) came in 1998 with the release of The Dirty Boogie which cracked the top ten on the US album charts and featured a hit single, a cover of Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive an' Wail".



Setzer continued to release solo-billed albums sporadically, including a solo live disc Rockin' By Myself in 1998 and Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy in 2003. In 2001 he released an album titled Ignition with his new trio billed as the '68 Comeback Special. A tribute album titled Rockabilly Riot Vol. 1: A Tribute To Sun Records was released on July 26, 2005, in the United Statesmarker. His latest Record, 13, was released in October 2006.

On September 25, 2007, the Brian Setzer Orchestra released Wolfgang's Big Night Out which features Setzer's take on classical pieces, such as Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, Flight of the Bumblebee, and Für Elise. "Wolfgang" earned Setzer his 8th Grammy nomination, this time for Best Classical Crossover album of the year.

Setzer spoofed himself in a 2002 episode of popular animated series The Simpsons. He voiced himself as a "tutor" at a fictional Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp attended by Homer Simpson, and delivered the amusing line (after his animated version participated in chasing Homer in a motorized devil's head): "I hope you won't judge the entire Brian Setzer orchestra based on my actions."

On October 13, 2009, the Brian Setzer Orchestra will release a new album entitled "Songs From Lonely Avenue." For the first time in Setzer's career, he is the sole writer on every song. Frank Comstock, the 87-year-old big band arranger whom Setzer collaborated with on "Wolfgang's Big Night Out," orchestrated most of the horn parts for the new album.

Honors

Setzer was awarded the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 Gibson Awards. As of 1999, the previous recipients of this award were B. B. King, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and John Fogerty.

Since 2000, Setzer has earned 3 Grammy Awards: Best Pop Performance Duo/Group for "Jump Jive An' Wail", and two Best Pop Instrumental Performance awards for "Sleepwalk" and "Caravan". In December 2006 he received his 7th Grammy nomination for his version of "My Favorite Things," again in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category.

Personal life

Setzer recently moved from Southern California to Minneapolismarker, Minnesotamarker, with his wife Julie (née Reiten, former singer with the Dustbunnies), whom he originally met when she auditioned (and was hired) as a back-up singer for the Brian Setzer Orchestra in 2000. They were married in Palm Springsmarker, Californiamarker in the summer of 2005. Setzer was previously married twice: to Christine Schmidt, from 1994-2002, with whom he has two daughters, and DeAnna Morgan from 1984-1992 with whom he has a son, Cody.

Discography

Bloodless Pharaohs



Stray Cats



The Brian Setzer Orchestra



Solo Material



'68 Comeback Special



Filmography



Live DVDs



Other works and appearances

  • Composed and performed the theme song for the Disney cartoon show House Of Mouse.
  • Appeared in a Bud Light commercial where his rehearsal session was interrupted by an elderly woman (recording pioneer Cordell Jackson) who could play rock-and-roll guitar.
  • Setzer also performed on Tomoyasu Hotei's album Soul Sessions, on the tracks Back Streets of Tokyo and Take a Chance on Love.


Musical equipment

Brian Setzer has a very large guitar collection spanning many decades and brands. Setzer favours vintage equipment and semihollow body guitars and is currently endorsed by Gretsch.

Vintage guitars:



Signature guitars:

  • Gretsch Model 6120 Setzer Signature Prototype
  • Gretsch Model 6120 Setzer Hot Rod Custom Purple
  • Gretsch Model 6120 Setzer Hot Rod Custom "Pinstripe"
  • Gretsch Model 6120 Setzer Hot Rod Custom "Spotty"
  • Gretsch Model 6120 Setzer Hot Rod Custom "Sparkle Red"
  • Gretsch Model 6120 Setzer Hot Rod Custom "Sparkle Blue"
  • Gretsch Model 6120 SSLVO Brian Setzer Signature
  • Gretsch Model 6120 SSL Brian Setzer Signature
  • Gretsch Model 6120 SSU Brian Setzer Signature
  • Gretsch Model 6120 SSUGR Brian Setzer Signature
  • Gretsch Model 6136SLBP Brian Setzer Black Phoenix


Other guitars:



Effects:



Amplifiers:



External links



References


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