If you’re a regular at The Matador, you’ve probably seen Johnny Pink, Santa Fe’s only greaser, sporting tattooed arms, a leather jacket and one hell of a pompadour. Pink works the bar during its daytime coffee shop hours and often works the door at night.
Six months ago, Pink also began promoting shows at The Underground and Evangelo’s, and has brought some heavy hitters from the worlds of rockabilly and psychobilly, including the Koffin Kats, The Rocketz and Three Bad Jacks. This month, Pink brings reggae outfit Don Chani to Evangelo’s. SFR recently sat down with Pink to get the lowdown.
SFR: Why did you start promoting?
JP: I got tired of the same old local bands I’d seen 1,000 times. I got sick of driving to Albuquerque or Colorado, so I decided to just handle it myself. I knew a lot of bands from all over the country who were excited to come play in Santa Fe and never got a chance for whatever reason. Chris [Quintana] at The Underground and Nick Klonis at Evangelo’s have been totally cool and open-minded about letting me bring bands I like and think will do well.
Talk to me about psychobilly.
Psychobilly is something I always describe as Stray Cats on crank. The genre is taking classic rock and good country, and speeding it up and making it angry. There’s a definite punk rock aspect to it. I got into it because I was raised on Buddy Holly and Elvis…the ’50s style. I guess I just wanted to be my grandfather. He was that typical ’50s guy—you know, white shirt, greased hair, etc. I really looked up to him when I was a kid.
I think the first rockabilly show I went to in Santa Fe was 18 years ago, and it was also the last rockabilly show I’d seen in Santa Fe until just recently. I am trying to expand, though. I want to bring something for everyone. That’s partly why I’m putting on this Don Chani show. I’m not a fan of reggae, but it’ll be something fun for everyone to enjoy.
Have you thought of doing all-ages shows?
All-ages shows are something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The real problem is that there are only a couple all-ages venues in town, and they’re not really the right fit for what I’m doing. I’ve been toying around with the idea of getting my own warehouse space where I could host all-ages events. Think a punk rock, gearhead kind of place. In fact, if someone reading this has any leads on a good all-ages space, find me on Facebook and let me know.
What do you think of Santa Fe’s music scene overall?
The Santa Fe music scene is very repetitive. Shows tend to be the same handful of bands you saw last month playing again this month. Not that it’s a bad thing, but variety would be nice. So many bands I talk to want to play here but come across a lot of problems, whether it’s bar owners afraid to break the mold of what’s working for them or simply being blown off by promoters. But these are bands that people should want to play here because it’s something totally new and different. Half the people that come to my shows haven’t ever heard rockabilly or psychobilly, but they eat it up.
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