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zachoff's band bio of the day - Reverend Horton Heat


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The Reverend Horton Heat is perhaps 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 were known) built a strong cult following during the '90s through constant touring, manic showmanship, and a twisted sense of humor. The latter was nothing new in the world of psychobilly, and Heat's music certainly kept the trashy aesthetic of his spiritual forebears. The Reverend's true innovation was updating the psychobilly sound for the alternative rock era. In his hands, it was something more than retro-obsessed kitsch -- it had roaring distorted guitars, it rocked as hard as any punk band, and it didn't look exclusively to pop culture of the past for its style or subject matter. Most of the Reverend's lyrics were gonzo celebrations of sex, drugs, booze, and cars, and true to his name, his concerts often featured mock sermons in the style of a rural revivalist preacher. His initial recordings were released by that bastion of indie credibility, Sub Pop, at the height of the grunge craze; after a spell on major label Interscope, he returned to the independents, still a highly profitable draw on the concert circuit.

 

Reverend Horton Heat -- the man, not the band -- 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, christened as such by the owner, in 1985. Heat played the city's blues-club circuit for a while, performing mostly for polite crowds and swing-dancing enthusiasts. Craving the excitement of a rock & roll show, and seeking a more financially rewarding avenue to help with his child support payments, Heat revamped his sound and moved into rock and punk venues. In 1989, he added bassist Jimbo Wallace to his band, and drummer Patrick "Taz" Bentley soon completed the lineup.

 

Reverend Horton Heat were a big hit around the area, and soon began touring extensively all around the country. They soon landed a deal with the prominent Seattle-based indie label Sub Pop, and in 1991 issued their debut album, Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, which featured fan favorites like "Eat Steak," "Marijuana," "Bad Reputation," and "Love Whip." The band kept building its audience through steady touring, and got considerable media attention for its 1993 sophomore effort, The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat. Produced by the Butthole Surfers' Gibby Haynes, it spawned a minor MTV hit in "Wiggle Stick," and also included Heat staples "400 Bucks" and "Bales of Cocaine."

 

Having amassed a significant underground following, Horton Heat signed a major-label deal with Interscope in 1994, and debuted that year with a joint release between Interscope and Sub Pop, Liquor in the Front (subtitled "Poker in the Rear" for anyone who missed the first double-entendre). This time around, Heat had an even unlikelier producer in Ministry's Al Jourgensen; he also had major-label bucks, which contributed to a ratcheting up of the hell-raising lifestyle he often sang about, and eventually the temporary worsening of a drinking problem. In the meantime, drummer Bentley left the band later in 1994 to join Tenderloin; he was replaced by Scott "Chernobyl" Churilla.

 

Horton Heat returned in 1996 with It's Martini Time, which featured several nods to the swing and lounge revival scenes emerging around that time; as a result, the title track became a minor hit, and the album became their first to chart in the Top 200. That year, Heat made his small-screen acting debut thanks to his on-stage preacher shtick, which earned him a guest spot on the acclaimed drama Homicide: Life on the Street. The following year, he appeared on The Drew Carey Show. 1998 brought the band's final major-label album, Space Heater; after its release, the gigantic label mergers of that year resulted in their being dropped from Interscope. In the wake of their exit, Sub Pop released a 24-song best-of, Holy Roller, in 1999, covering their entire output up to that point.

 

Undaunted, they continued to tour, and in 2000 recorded the more straightforward rockabilly album Spend a Night in the Box for Time Bomb, this time with a different Butthole Surfer, Paul Leary, producing. The Reverend next surfaced on Artemis Records with 2002's Lucky 7, his hardest-edged album in quite some time. Its single, "Like a Rocket," was selected as the theme song for that year's Daytona 500 race. Buoyed by the publicity, Heat signed a new deal with Yep Roc in 2003. His first album for the label, Revival, appeared the following year, as did a live DVD.~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

 

Written by Steve Huey

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Originally posted by miles to go

The good Reverand has been a staple of the Dallas scene for as long as I've been aware that we had a scene. (That part's still up for debate.) If you get a chance to catch them live, they are definitely worth seeing.
:cool:

 

+1, and they are cool when you are bluffing for a new girl

 

 

I used to rehearse at this place in dallas. I had heard that the Rev practiced there. So I told my then girlfriend, now wife, that I knew them. Sure, I had gone to many shows and seen them around and could atleast share a "what's up, man" with any of them, but by name? {censored} no.

 

So after this gratuitous lie to impress the bigger Rev fan of us two (whe was very much a fan before we met), I was at the rehearsal when I shot the moon and yelled "hey Jimbo, what's up brother!" hoping I didnt fall flat on my face. the response took an hour. or atleast 1.2 seconds, but he played ball! he was like "whats up man, I'm sorry, I know you but cant remember your name"

 

I think "i'm in"

 

I introduce Pam, and ask him about his rack of Mesa m2000's and coluseum 300's i've seen them live with. So he invites us down to the room to check the gear out. He hands me his URB, and I start making an (even bigger) ass of myself, when Scotty showed up and starts jamming. before I know it, Jim is plugged in and I'M {censored}ING JAMMING WITH THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT!!!! Pam's gushy, I'm melted cheddar, and we head out so they can rehearse. Over the next few months, I dunked shots with them and got first-name friendly...and then my daughter came along and pulled me right out of the scene. I am not sure if they'd remember me, but I at least have this story to share.

 

So i asked Pam a few years later about that day, she replied "I could tell by the sweat pooling that you were bluffing. Honey, it was a good thing Jimbo cought on as quickly as he did or it could have been embarrassing"

 

good times.

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Originally posted by 78pbass

So i asked Pam a few years later about that day, she replied "I could tell by the sweat pooling that you were bluffing. Honey, it was a good thing Jimbo cought on as quickly as he did or it could have been embarrassing"

if that doesn't spell KEEPER, i don't know what does! :D

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I am a massive Living End fan and recently been digging more and more Setzer and Rev. Got the Rev. DVD about a month ago and despite a complete absence of bass notes (There actually is no bass in the mix, just the click from the fingerboard p-up!) It's one of the best concert DVDs I own.

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