Playing what has been dubbed "Hot-Rod Rockabilly," this Illinois trio takes the traditional rockabilly sound and soups it up with a high-octane edge. The Blacktops play more towards the raw rock influences of bands like The Black Crowes, throw in a little throttle, and combine the groove of Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran to create danceable music without the thinness of pure rockabilly.
"Its basically rock-n-roll, with a punk feel to it," says guitarist/vocalist Jim Rotramel. Crediting Dallas Alice's frontman Sean Hopkins with the nickname "Skinny" (its from an Eddie Cochran song), the Number 9 Blacktops take their name from an old country road outside Rotramel's hometown of West Frankfort, Illinois. "We'd drag race CR 250s until our knuckles bled," says Rotramel.
Rotramel released the freshman album "Hickory-Smoked Rockabilly" in 2003. In early 2006, the Blacktops moved from the studio to the live venues. Consisting of Taylor Sprehe on drums, and Blake Bramlett on slap bass, the Blacktops lineup is on fire. In September, 2007, the Blacktops finished up their second album, "Horsepower, Horsepower," produced by Rick Miller of the Yep Roc trashabilly band "Southern Culture on the Skids." The newest release "Daredevil Action" will be available in July of 2010, and features 11 brand new rockabilly originals!
In March of 2008, Rotramel became officially endorsed by Gretsch Guitars!
"A true honor.....I get to open up for Chuck Berry, and get endorsed by Gretsch in the same week!"
Skinny Jim & the Number 9 Blacktops are touring full throttle.