Tupelo Chain Sex

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Tupelo Chain Sex
Spot the Difference (1984 LP)
Background information
Genres Punk, Jazz, Rockabilly, Psychedelic, Psychobilly
Years active 1982–1989
Labels Cargo, Selma
Past members Tupelo Joe (Joey Altruda) -- Bass Guitar (1981 - 1983); Guitar (1984 - 1989), Limey Dave (Dave Dahlson) -- Vocals; Don "Sugarcane" Harris -- Violin; Duff Marlowe -- Saxophone (1981 - 1983); Stumuk (Bill Nugent) -- Saxophone (1984 - 1989); J.J. Poskin (aka JJ Holiday) -- Guitar (1981 - 1983); Kevin Eleven (Kevin McCormick) -- Bass Guitar (1984-1987); Jason Keene -- Bass Guitar (1988 - 1989); Willie "Dred" McNeill -- Drums, Percussion (1981 - 1987); Paul Lines -- Drums (1987-1989); Lame Flames -- Backup Vocals (1984)
Concert flyer circa 1984

Tupelo Chain Sex was a 1980s era punk/jazz/rockabilly musical group founded by Dave Dahlson aka "Limey Dave", J.J. Poskin (aka JJ Holiday), Sim Cass, and Joey Altruda who also founded the group Jump With Joey. In the early 1980s, the group was a headline performer at Club Lingerie in Los Angeles, and also performed at the Sunday Club at Cathay de Grande (restaurant), The Music Machine, Al's Bar, The Anti-Club, and the O.N. Klub, among others, and toured extensively[1] with groups like The Circle Jerks.[2]


One of the Los Angeles based group's most notable members was electric violinist Don "Sugarcane" Harris, who previously played with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.

In 1982, Willy "Wooly" McNeil joined what was then called "a raucous psychobilly outfit."[3] Lead singer "Limey" Dave (Dave Dahlson), the front man for the group, sported a blue Mohawk, tattoos of Roman soldiers, women's sunglasses, jeans with the ass cheeks cut out, and was purportedly a narcoleptic.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Graphic artist Art Chantry called Tupelo Chain Sex one of the "... best fucking bands I've seen in my life" and compared them to contemporary groups such as Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, Butthole Surfers and the Cramps among others.[5]

Critics have had difficulty classifying the music of Tupelo Chain Sex as exemplified by The Miami News noting that "Their music has been called jazz, bop, be-bop, R&B, swing, reggae, country, rock, blues, punk, funk, Latin, mambo, thrash, calypso, salsa, soul, shuffle, skiffle, ska, skank, surf, boogie, jive, dub ... and psycho-billy."[6]

When the group first entered the Los Angeles music scene, the Los Angeles Times called the group "bizarre" and went on to describe them as "an avant-garde rockabilly combo featuring washboard, harmonica and a singer named Limey Dave who sports a Mohawk, shouts dislocated epics like Elvis Presley Meets E.T., and alters his vocals through an echo device.".[7] In a subsequent review of a live performance, The Times declared that one of the group's major musical influences appeared to be derived from dada.[8]

The Washington Post called their music a "startling musical synthesis ... delivered with the visceral force of a punk group, as well as with the tricky tempos and superb solos of a jazz combo."[9]

SPIN Magazine described the group's approach to music as a relationship between "Charlie Parker and, say, The Dead Kennedys." Describing the album Spot the Difference, the reviewer went on to state that the album was "the most eclectic album I've heard all year."[2]


  • What Is It (Selma, 1982, LP)
  • Ja-Jazz (Selma, 1983, LP)
  • Spot the Difference (Selma, 1984, LP)
  • Dr. Nightcall b/w Two Cadillacs Crash! (Selma, 1984, 7" ps)
  • Record Breaker (DeLuxe, 1985, bootleg 10" on coloured vinyl)
  • 4! (Cargo, 1989, LP & CD)


  1. ^ Mullen, Brendan (2006). Whores: An Oral Biography of Perry Farrell and Jane's Addiction. Da Capo Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-306-81478-5. 
  2. ^ a b Farren, Mick (July 1985). "Tupelo Chain Sex: Spot the Difference". SPIN. New York, NY: 33. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  3. ^ Grigg, Jane (Winter 1992). "Generations United". Straight No Chaser Magazine: The Magazine of World Jazz Jive. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Snowden, Don; Leonard, Gary (1997). Make the music go bang!: the early L.A. punk scene. p. 137. ISBN 0-312-16912-4. 
  5. ^ Prato, Greg (2009). Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music. ECW Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-55022-877-9. 
  6. ^ Baker, Greg (June 28, 1986). "It's the Tupelo Chain Sex Massacre". The Miami News. pp. 11A. 
  7. ^ Lee, Craig (February 16, 1983). "When Psychobilly Meets Drum Corps". Los Angeles Times. pp. G3. 
  8. ^ Lee, Craig (February 24, 1985). "Tupelo Chain Sex: Its heart belongs to Dada". Los Angeles Times. pp. G4. 
  9. ^ Sasfy, Joe (June 3, 1985). "Tupelo Chain Sex". Washington Post. pp. C7. 

External links[edit]