The Reverend Horton Heat
The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat (Sub Pop)
by Scott Hefflon
Baptized by the Heat! Cheesy press kit slogans spill from every “journalist’s” pen (word software program) at the opportunity to froth about the Rev. The beauty of it is, the best they/we can possibly hope for is to describe the diverse mayhem of The Reverend Horton Heat in 500 words or less. Ulp, here goes.
Start with Stray Cat rockabilly and speed it up to Anthrax speed. Mix in the Reverend’s oh-so-smooth crooning that’s Morrisonesque on the slower tracks and distorted psychobilly on others. Toss in a few extended gonzo solos, slip in a few mournful whisky-soaked semi ballads, and then refuse to take the whole thing seriously and have a food fight fight with the style, drinking beer, belching in key, dancing naked on a coffee table bellowing random witticisms.
After seven years (Biblical reference?) of playing juke joints, cultural cafes, drunken dives, as well as opening some big venues, they’ve got the cheeseball Vegas showmanship and deadpan mechanic-on-the-mic shtick patented. The appropriately name Taz is a whirlwind on the drums. With technique enviable of any thrash drummer wanna bes and lots of tornado hair, he commands attention from behind the kit. Jimbo (appropriately named as a big, bad, bar room brawling bad ass) thumps away on the stand up bass and looks much more rockin’ than the silly tattooed beanpole in the Stray Cats. The Rev. himself is just a simple pool shark juvenile delinquent country boy from Texas who plays a mean guitar and drinks too much damn coffee.
Roadhouse blues gone punk rock littered with hip and clever quips and produced by Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers. (Remember his demento ranting in “Jesus Built My Hotrod” by Ministry?) And to throw a bitch of a monkey wench in just when you haven’t gotten it all figgered out; it’s on Sub Pop. Gotten enough grunge yet? Try a bit of Turbo Greaser. It’s called The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat. Go buy it.