Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Can You take the Heat

Today in Music History:

In 1981 MTV launches in the United States at 12:01am. The first broadcasted video is "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles. Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn become MTV's first VJs.
Rev. Horton HeatSorta sounds like this might be a religious dude. Wrong. Well maybe if you can call music a religion. How does one describe the Rev's music? Hmmmm, Take two parts rockabilly, one quarter cow punk, and one quarter surf, and you've got the psychobilly formula that's earned the Reverend a dedicated flock since the days of his first album, Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em. To quote the Rev himself:

If you listen to the band's catalog, you might say there are a few recurring themes found in our songs: beer, gin and tonic, whiskey, cocaine, tequila, martinis, marijuana, cigarettes, cars, more beer, pretty women, sermons, cats and dogs, the devil, Texas, and Jimbo. Not to mention steak and dildos. All the good things in life.

The Reverend Horton Heat, aka Jim Heath, is the biggest, baddest, grittiest, greasiest, greatest rocker that ever piled his hair up and pounded the drinks down. The Reverend is one of the most popular psychobilly artist of all time, really rivaled only by genre founders the Cramps. The Reverend (as both the three-man band and its guitar-playing frontman are known) built a strong cult following during the '90s through constant touring, manic showmanship, and a twisted sense of humor.

Reverend Horton Heat was born James C. Heath in Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up, he played in rock cover bands around the area, but was more influenced by Sun rockabilly, electric Chicago blues, and country mavericks like Junior Brown, Willie Nelson, and Merle Travis. According to legend, he spent several years in a juvenile correction facility, and at 17 was supporting himself as a street musician and pool shark; according to the Reverend, the story was fabricated by Sub Pop to add color to his greaser image. Heath eventually moved to Dallas, where he found work at a club in Deep Ellum. There he gave his first performance as Reverend Horton Heat. The story behind his name goes like this. The guy who owned the club used to call him Horton and right before the first show he told Horton that his stage name should be Reverend Horton Heat because the music was like gospel.Rev thought it was silly but after the first few songs, people were saying, ‘Yeah, Reverend!’ What’s really funny is that this guy gave up the bar business, and actually became a preacher! Apparently now he shows up at the shows and tells Horton that he really should drop the whole Reverend thing.

There's no question that the Rev's music rocks hard, loud and fast. We could all stand to hear more music like that. Let's look at a lttle Heat retrospective.
Eat Steak by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Bails of Cocaine by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Liquor Beer and Wine by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Baby I'm Drunk by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Whole Lotta Baby by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It

I've listened to a lot of Rockabilly and Psychobilly and heard some great bands but I always come back to the Rev cause he knows what it's all about... fast cars, fast woman, tequila, drugs, steak, the devil, beer, Texas, and Rock and Roll!

Funny Toon