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History & Bio

Grab a beer or a cocktail and sit down for this one 'cause it's got some length.


        Hayride to Hell was started as an earlier incarnation in 1994.  Fellow United Rocker brothers John Long and Craig Hart wanted to put together a band to play the European style of Psychobilly, which was pretty much unheard of in the U.S at the time with exception to a few bands.  John had played three chords since he was in grade school and Craig had been a bass tech for an upright bass player so over many beers and Jack and Cokes, they got to work learning and writing.  Mutual friend Josh Perkins, a third generation guitar luthier and virtuoso helped John and Craig hone things and even played a couple of the earliest gigs.  Another friend Paul Perez sat in on drums and songs could now be played.  John’s roommate JJ Nichols (brother of Eddie Nichols of Royal Crown Revue), took on the vocals.  Wrecking Ball was the name that was settled on and several gigs were performed throughout 1994 including The Monsters of Pomp festival.  After discovering that another band in Chicago was using the same band name and had released an album, the boys decided to take the band apart or do something completely different…


          After not doing anything musically for a while, John and Craig began formulating another band in 1995.  They wanted to play a harder and faster version of Psychobilly with a lineup similar to early Neo-Rockabilly bands.  The band would be a trio with John on guitar and Craig on the upright bass.  They both would share the lead vocals but a great drummer was needed to not fill the drum throne, but to pound while standing up.  In walked longtime friend, ex Kingpin Joey Myers who had just returned from a two-year world tour with Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs.  With more songs written in the newer Hayride to Hell sound, the trio began gigging.  After a set at the Greaseball, another friend told John that the band could sound even more powerful with a second guitar.  This friend, Mark “Bill” Canepa had played years ago in cover bands and had switched his love of hair farmer butt rock bands to Psychobilly and Rockabilly.  After sitting in at a rehearsal and drinking more than his fair share, it was decided that Bill was in. The heavier sound required Joey to lose the trap kit and sit his ass down and pound even harder.  Craig also took over the bulk of the vocals.

  Hayride to Hell played many gigs and festivals into the new millennium with high points being The Mile High Mayhem festival in Denver, the 1st NY Big Rumble festival and an invite to play the 11th (and last) Big Rumble festival in Great Yarmouth, England.  Along the way, the band released their first self-titled album on U.K. label Nervous Records late in 1997.

        The new Millennium brought some changes.  Bill moved to Texas for greener pastures but the band still got together for festivals and a gig here and there.  The nutters had lived in neighboring counties before, but now a member was states away making it harder to get together.  Craig also decided later to move to the mountains for higher ground.  This appeared to be the end of Hayride to Hell…

        But, John and Joey weren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.  Early in 2002, they discussed ways to continue.  First it was always a consensus that if Bill couldn’t play in Hayride to Hell, then Hayride to Hell wouldn't replace him.  Also, since John had shared the vocals in the past and Craig couldn’t be with the band, John would take over all of the vocals.  All that was needed was a bass player that could at least try to fill the shoes of Craig.  Rob Mellberg formerly of The Kingpins and Chicken Coupe deVille is an incredible upright bass player and is amazing to watch.  Besides, he was the guy that Craig was a bass tech for years back.

        After lots of sweat, blood, beers and whiskey, John, Rob and Joey perfected the newer Hayride to Hell sound to be extremely powerful, even as a trio.  The boys played their re-debut gig at The LA Wreckers Ball..  Some more festivals along the way included the American Nightmare as well as the LA Wreckers Ball II.  In 2005, Hayride to Hell's second album  “…and back” was released on the Psychobilly* US label and the band was once again the road.

        With Rob no longer on bass, John and Joey drafted longtime friend Mal Wrekker for the slap bass.   Mal has played with Wreckdefy and the Slanderin' as well as filled in with the Meteors on a tour and fit right in.   It didn't take long for Mal to decide to move up to Nor Cal.  Hayride to Hell has always been a band of brothers.

        Towards the end of the decade, Craig moved back to Santa Cruz and joined the boys on vocals again from time to time.  Craig rarely has the time these days but John, Mal and Joey carry on.

The boys also have accumulated a lot of new material they hope to begin recording again in their new studio soon. The band has truly been on a Hayride to Hell and back and is making their way around the world again.   They've been wrecking for 17 sick years and have no signs of letting up...

OK, it was 3 beers or cocktails!

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