Grey DeLisle and guitarist Eddie Clendening team up in the brand new project, The Roughhousers. Their new single, ‘Princess Mike’ is filled with 60s charm, and the video has the style to match.
It’s children’s music, but not as we know it. ‘Princess Mike’ could easily have been sung by Roy Orbison, The Shangri-Las, or even the B52s, and unlike some bands that are aimed at adults but appeal to kids, The Roughhousers are the other way around, and call themselves a “kid band for adults”. With a rockabilly-infused country-pop sound, with lashings of very cheeky and somewhat irreverent humour, ‘Princess Mike’ is the sort of song to appeal to everyone at any party; the sweet singing will get the kids where they’re at, while the older generations will latch onto the deeper significance of the lyrics.
While ‘Princess Mike’ is the debut single and video for The Roughhousers, both Grey DeLisle and Eddie Clendening are veterans in the business. Grey needs no introduction to regular readers, but Eddie is a new one for us. He starred as Elvis Presley in the Broadway musical, ‘The Million Dollar Quartet’, and has collaborated with many of the OG of rock and roll, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Dale Hawkins, James Burton, among others. Helping the duo generate the dreamy, effortless alt-country sound (with a side-helping of early rock), are members of The Old 97’s, the Ecco-Fonics, X and The Knitters, and Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Boys – the sound is just perfect.
‘Princess Mike’ tells the tale of a grownup who has gone beyond traditional gender limitations, and who spreads glitter and good cheer wherever he goes. In the video DeLisle and Clendening bring joy in a 1950s style house, while a strategically placed giant teddy bear reinforces the element of fun. There is of course a serious message, that is one about radical acceptance, self-expression, and the transcendent power of kindness and care. And aren’t all these things we should all learn about – not just kids, but every grown up too.