THE PHANTOM Playboys are a rockabilly band from Wilmington, N.C. They’ve got all the standard trappings—standup bass, rockin’ reverby guitar, a guy poundin’ the skins and a heavily-tattooed lead singer with a ducktail and badass sideburns (he’s known only as The Phantom, but in case you wondered, his real name is Eric Lawson). The primal ‘50s sound is wrapped up tight with a honking saxophone. This band plays it loud, and plays it fun.
Ah, but to poorly paraphrase the Man Behind the Curtain, there’s one thing they’ve got that other surf-doggy rockabilly bands don’t: A female trombone player.
Having Maiike Brender à Brandis in the group is no mere gimmick—her ‘bone gives frisky bottom to the Playboys’ boisterous strut. And she’s also a hell of a vocalist, taking a tune or two from Mr. P every chance she gets.
“Lots of modern rockabilly bands forego the use of horns despite the style’s history with a horn section,” Brandis told an interviewer recently. “But other bands embrace the history. Eric plays alto sax on choice songs but I carry horn lines through every song. We have been described as a rockabilly band with notable punk, surf, ska, blues and jazz undertones, but we jokingly refer to the band as ‘Maaikebilly.’”