The first incarnation of The Epileptic Hillbillys (spelling intentional) was created back in the 1980s by founder members Billy Oxley and Paul Oxley. The band soon emerged and make their mark with a name that more people were familiar with – The Radiacs. That band was a core part of the Sheffield scene regularly playing the North’s equivalent of The Klub Foot – The Take Two.
The scene ebbed and flowed and Billy Oxley went on to play with many bands, notably the Blue Devils, The Tritons and then his first band of the millennium, The Chills. Meanwhile, Paul Oxley was most well known for his part in The Krewmen, alongside many other projects and session work.
After Billy wound up Thee Chills, he and Paul decided to get The Epileptic Hillbillys going again, drafting in Paul’s son Steve Oxley on drums. Steve had been playing in his own band Cosmic Razor and, as he’d been bought up on a diet of psychobilly from a baby, he was the perfect addition.
In 2010 they played their first gig at The Dove and Rainbow as part of Mosh & Go’s Psychobilly Sunday supporting the Graveyard Johnnys.
They quickly became firm favourites in the UK and abroad, bringing singalong anthems to the masses. Their cheeky mix of humour-infused psychobilly, rockabilly and inbred hillbilly was a big hit.
Sadly in 2012, Billy suffered major health problems which led to a short hiatus for the band. Thankfully, Billy bounced back and the band once again started to play and record again. This time with Steve taking over the role of bass player from his dad, and Adam Steenson joining the band on drums.
(Adam had previously played with Steve and The Raise, who were incidentally on the bill of that very first Epileptic Hillbillys’ gig in 2010.)
Gigs came flooding in again and The Epileptic Hillbillys were a worthy support for some of the scene’s top bands such as The Sharks, King Kurt, Demented are Go & The Meteors. They were also as a crowd-pulling headliner in their own rights playing many festivals home and abroad – Bedlam Breakout, Inkfest, Pineda Psychobilly Meeting to name a few.
During this time Epileptic Hillbillys have put out three cd albums – Tales from The Underworld, Insanity and Take 2 – and a limited edition vinyl 10” Atomic It’s The Bomb. All recorded with Alan Wilson and released on Western Star Records. A 12” vinyl version of Tales From The Underworld was also brought out by Crazy Love Records.
In 2017, Adam decided to hang up his sticks and new boy Paul Mummery got stuck straight in. (Paul has a background in psychobilly, punk and metal having played with Sin Kings, Boston Rats, Norm & The Nightmares, and The Gonads.) Their first gig at Kingston’s Fighting Cocks in July 2017 was a sell-out and the band are currently taking bookings for 2021.
You can also find an interview with Billy Oxley HERE
* words and pics by Little Jo