|The Alligators, Rockabilly from Denmark|
Picture left: The Alligators with Wanda Jackson and Stan Urban
The Alligators were founded in the later summer of 1990 in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Ole Ballund, Jens Dan And Morten Kjeldsen, all seasoned musicians with a common passion for Fifties rock 'n' roll and rockabilly. The first six months saw the band as a familiar feature in the walking street and assorted sleazy bars in the Copenhagen area. In the spring of 1991 a demo reached the main land and consequently the band signed an exclusive booking and management contract with the well established CBA agency. From that point things took off for the band and by the end of 1991 The Alligators were considered one of the hardest working rock 'n' roll bands in Denmark.
The meeting with Danish show bizz mainstay and rockabilly buff Mek Pek at a late febuary '92 gig, developed into an all night jam session and flourishing relationship. 1992 was a year of hard work, exceeding 200 shows, the recording of the debut album "Rock 'n' Roll Ball", backing gigs for The Jordanaires and a greek island tour. At the same time the music relationship with Mek Pek developed, and by late '92 the band "Mek & The Pek'a'Billies" was a reallity.
Lots of studio work occupied the band in 1993. The recording of "Mek & The Pek'a'billies", children songs for the "Aah Abe" project, several TV shows, numerous concerts and in november a trip to the USA for inspiration. In early '94 Mek & The Pek'a'Billies, on behalf of all artists involved, accepted the danish grammy award for best album in the catagory "Songs for children", the "Aah Abe" project, which to date has sold more than 400.000 copies (DK population 5.5 million).
In the summer of 1994 The Alligators were introduced to the legendary american singer Wanda Jackson. During the recording of her album "Let's Have A Party" miss Jackson expressed such enthusiasm for the band, that she demanded that, when recording and touring Scandinavia, it must be with The Alligators. This resulted in two albums and one annual tour. At the same time The Alligators met up with Danish based scottish piano player and singer Stan Urban, a meeting spawning several live performances, as well as a number of recording sessions.
The spring of 1995 meant more live work and in the summer the band went into the Country Sound Studio to start recording the album "The History Of Rock 'n' Roll", An album with guest performences by a host of rockabilly veterans including Scotty Moore, Wanda Jackson and The Jordanaires. The recording of the bands second album with Wanda Jackson, "The Queen Of Rockabilly", took off at the Pek Farm Studio, Ormslev, DK, in the early summer of '96, followed by a minor tour in Denmark.
1997 found the band on the road most of the time, including a Wanda Jackson tour of Germany and establishing it's own studio/label. By January '98 the band ended their contract with CBA agency and started pre-production work on a new album, this time concentrating on original material. During the same periode it became an increasingly common sight to see The Alligators perform as a quartet, the trio being augmentet with Scandinavias leading tenor sax player Niels Mathiasen, an old friend from the pekabilly days.
At the start of 1999, the now independent Alligators was a household name on the Scandinavian music scene and even breaking new ground by touring Greenland at the beginning of the year. The Band's first major undertaking of 1999 was to be a bit of cultural shock treatment, leaving a lasting impression on everybody. A two week tour of the West Coast of Greenland, involving transportation by large and small airplanes, helicopters and even dog sled.
Summertime is the season for bikers and hot rod enthusiasts to assemble, camp, and party and The Alligators is an obvious choice of intertainment at these affairs, ensuring a couple of busy months throughout the nation. Always a lot of fun. In October The Alligators went into the studio to have the first go at the long overdue album of original material. Several songs were recorded and the band returned to base camp for more writing, gigging, and scheming. The millenium ended with The Alligators returning to Greenland for a new years evening concert and celebration at Kangerlussuaq, the former American air base.
Courtesy of Morten Kjeldsen, 2000.
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