Pulling a hard-driving sound out of his old '67 Gibson, Sean Kennedy is a self-taught lead guitar player. He learned a few good tricks from Tommy Morrel (of Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys) and Jerry Miller (of Moby Grape) and went on to form his own band, Sean Kennedy & the King Kats. Raised in the poorer parts of Texas, Kennedy received his first guitar from his mother when he was 15; the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan, plus Texas country music shaped his future in music. The Stray Cats were another childhood love and he merged these influences together, also adding songwriting to his repertoire.
Kennedy shaped Sean Kennedy & the King Kats from musicians who experienced a vibrant chemistry when playing together. Drummer Dave Maneeley, formerly with Dick Dale, came from Los Angeles. Jim Hannibal, a super-energetic sax player, and Roddy Larsen, master of the upright bass, round out the foursome. Together they express a talented wild style, although their haircuts are short and their clothing is average guy-on-the-street. Hepcat Records released the band's first CD, Big Town, in 1998. Kennedy wrote most of the songs, but the CD also covers Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away." The band kept the tempo of the CD tight and interesting, with no long boring solos, putting ten tracks into 33 dynamic minutes. By 2000, Lloyd Tripp (bass), came from England and replaced Roddy Larsen, bringing a strong rockabilly influence with him. Wes Anthony replaced Jim Hannibal on the tenor sax and added a roots rock rhythm. This mixture of talents continues to put out backyard music, Americana style, for the working-class.