The Reverend Horton Heat
by Su Chon and Trixie Delight
RAD once again got to hang out with the Reverend Horton Heat.
This is one of RAD's fave bands because they like to have fun and
they aren't preaching any messages to you. You just sit back and
enjoy or get off your ass and dance the night away.
We were able to talk to Jimbo and the Reverend. And it was
quite the spiritual experience being that close to such
inspirational leaders. There was one special question asked by
a class of middle school students, which was presented
by Trixie Delight.
Some other members of our zine walk in and hand Jimbo a bottle of
KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce to go along with the vodka I brought (if
you don't know what we're talking about, go read the last Rev
article in the archives).
- How're you doing?
- Great. I haven't talked to you in awhile. Where've
- I'm still here. My one big question is "How was
your tour with Ministry?"
- Well, we ended up not doing a tour with Ministry. We
just worked with Al on the last record.
- So you didn't end up going to New Zealand with them?
- No, we're going in January to New Zealand, Australia,
and Hawaii. We never did it, and I don't think Al likes us anymore.
- You guys haven't made up yet?
- If he were to walk in here now, I would say, "How's it
going? I haven't seen you in awhile. Are you straight?"
- So tell us your new plans for your album?
- Well, we've been doing demos at Willie Nelson's studio in Boston,
and they turned out pretty good. We just got off tour with White Zombie.
- You had a good tour with them?
- Yeah, and that's kinda why our record is kinda postponed because
we decided to do that instead of going directly to the studio.
- Well that's interesting because some bands did not like White
Zombie on tour. They didn't get along with them and the tour management.
- Yeah. Well, the first part of the tour we did with them, the Melvins
were with them. The second part of the tour was with Babes in Toyland. We
got to play with them, and they were great. I don't know what the problem was.
- So what can we expect from the new album? Is it going to be
more like the first or second album or more like the third?
- We never play it safe. There's always going to be
something crazy on it. It seems like every record we
put something crazy on it. We have some of everything.
We use all our influences; there's some country, some
punk rock, rockabilly, surf, jazz, and everything. We
kind of mix it all together. It's going to be good.
- When do you expect to release it?
- I guess they're going to try and get it out in November
because after this tour we're going to get back in the
studio. It looks like sometime in November.
- How long are you planning to tour?
- This tour is going to be over in six weeks.
- Cool, we got you in the beginning of the tour.
- That's why I'm still alive. That's why I...
- ...can still walk straight?...
- ...yeah, walk straight. I still wear sunglasses everywhere I go.
I carry three pair with me just in case.
- Why do carry so many?
- I'm pretty nocturnal. Daylight and I, we don't get along too well.
- I brought you a present - a bottle of Everclear vodka. But
your tour manager said I couldn't give it to you.
- He's worried about our well-being, I think.
- What, is he thinking you're a politically-minded group?
- I don't think so. Pretty much every song we have is
about drinking and driving fast. We're not out to save
the world so I'm sure every song we have will something
about drinking, women, and fast cars.
- How long do you want this to go on?
- I don't want to end up like Pete Townsend and lose my hearing or
anything. Eventually if this rock 'n roll thing don't work out, we'll
start our own appliance store called "The Reverend Horton Heating and
Appliances." That would be good. Then when I get 60, I can play the Holiday
Inn circuit. Do a bunch of Tom Jones covers or something. I think he's
on our label.
- Yeah, he's on Interscope. We got a promo copy of his new
album, but I don't like it.
- Yeah, I think he's trying to be too modern. I think he should be
like Tony Bennett and just do the style that made him famous.
- Who do you want to produce your next album?
- Well, there's a guy named Tom Penunzio. He's one of
those big shot producers whom I've never heard of, but
he's going to do our record. And we're pretty much
going to make him do what we want. It doesn't matter
who it is. We're not going to get someone crazy like
Gibby or Al this time. Maybe someone a little more
laid back. Someone we can control.
- Do you want to know who they think the Reverend looks like?
- Really? He does look a little like Porter Wagoner.
You know another person he looks like - have you ever
seen Pet Sematary? That guy with a big chunk out of
his head that's walking around? He gets stopped in
restaurants sometimes and people say, "I loved you in
Pet Sematary." He usually says thank you and signs
- You know if you pouf your hair a little more, you could be
mistaken for Elvis.
- Michael Landon, maybe...not Elvis.
- I have some behavior disorder students, and they wanted
to ask you a question.
- We get along great with behavior disordered people....
- What song do you think your album centers around?
- Which album? The last one? Which songs are one there?
I don't even listen to my own album.
- Hey thanks. They voted me the most likely to throw a
barbecue in the band.
- Most likely to throw a barbecue.
- I've got a nice barbecue pit at home, and I like to get
out there and cook.
- What bands are coming out of Dallas right now?
- We've got quite a few of them right now. One of them
is on tour with us now - Hagfish. They're really good.
Yeah, Dallas is starting to turn out to be a good
place for music. I always thought there were good
bands there with the Toadies, Tripping Daisy, Hagfish,
and there's a new band out now called UFOFU.
- What does that stand for?
- UFO Fuck You. Can you print that?
- Yeah. We don't like to be censored.
....That's cool. Is KDGE helping to promote all you guys?
- The radio's been playing the local bands a lot lately,
and I think that's helped, but mainly it's a lot of
hard work by the bands. I don't give much credit to
radio stations. They'll play it if they get input from
the record company that makes them think they should
play you. But the college stations are great. The
Ramones never got played and they have had a hell of a
- Did you hear that they're thinking about quitting?
- Yeah, well if everyone goes out and buys the new
Ramones record then they'll keep playing. If they
don't, then they'll hang it up. So everyone go out and
buy the new Ramones record.
- What group would you like to tour with next?
- I don't know. I just want to get the new record out.
- What CDs have you been listening to lately?
- Well, you have to get to my CD collection on the bus.
Yeah, my special prayer booth on the bus. I carry a
little bit of everything. I've been listening to
Tennessee Ernie Ford lately, the new Supersuckers,
Southern Culture on the Skids. They're
really good. They have a new record out. Every song
is about fried chicken, and it's great. They wear
overalls, sometimes they wear fast-food chicken
uniforms on stage. They center around fried chicken.
- What's your favorite song on the album?
- I like "I Can't Surf." It's a lot of fun to play.
"Baddest of the Bad."
And now for the interview with the Reverend.
- A lot of our readers think you look like Porter Wagoner.
- I love Porter. I love him. When I was a kid, I used to
watch his show. That was when Dolly Parton was on, and they
were promoting Breeze detergent. They'd give away free
towels with every box of detergent. "Hold up that towel with
those big roses on it, Dolly.", and she had these really
big tits. I always thought that he was such a country
bumpkin and that he didn't know what he was doing, but after
I got to know the real story about Porter Wagoner, he's
pretty twisted I think. I think he knew exactly what he was
doing. But she was a great singer.
- Well, I don't know the story behind Porter Wagoner.
- He's got some great recitations that are really ugly little
portraits of hillbilly life about killing your wife and her
lover and dragging their bones up into the woods and burying
them. Then he's got "Daddy in the Wine" as one of his songs,
"The Carroll County Accident" was a song that describes a car
wreck, and it's all kind of scary stuff. His earlier stuff,
you know. Porter Wagoner, just one of the few that I love.
- Who else do you like? Is there somebody you admire
- Well, Jerry Lee Lewis is kind of my anti-hero guy. I really
like Jerry Lee Lewis' music a lot. I don't know how anybody
could be like him. But he's got a lot of great stories about
him. I like to talk and collect stories about Jerry Lee.
He's pretty crazy.
- You keep writing songs about drinking, fast women, and fast
cars, but each song is so different. Some bands, they sound
alike every single time. How do you keep coming up with
ideas, twists on the same kind of story?
- I don't know, thank you very much. We try to do different
stuff. In certain ways, we have a thing about us like bands
used to be, like "we need a slow swing," or "we have too many
slow swings, we need a fast swing," or "we need another punk
rock 2/4," "we need another punk rock 4/4" because we do all
these different things. We need a rumba, so we'll do it.
We've got a little of that going on. This record we've been
thinking that we need straight out rockabilly,
because we have some interesting stuff that's very
cool, but we need that for every record. Right now, we don't
have a country song that will work on the record very well.
And all of our records have a little formula - we have our
country songs. We don't take it too seriously. We're
serious about having fun. I like to write songs about
drinking, that's good. I know that topic really well. Write
what you know, that's what they tell ya in school.
- So you know fast cars and fast women, too?
- I've done some stupid stuff in a car, but I've never gone
really fast in a car like some of my friends have. The
fastest I've ever gone is like 120, maybe 125.
- What's your dream car?
- A '34 Ford. I've got one, I've got a body for one. But it's
going to take forever to get it together I guess. I've got a
couple of old cars. I've got a '56 Ford, red and white, two
tone and it's really cool looking and it's in good shape.
It's got a hopped up 351 Windsor engine in it. It's too fast
for its tiny suspension. It looks real cool, but it's too
much work for me to get into. I've got another car, a 1950
Ford. It's my car, it's my main deal. So what I think we're
going to do is raffle it off. We're going to have a huge
raffle, we're even going to try and get MTV involved and
raffle off this '56 Ford. I could sell it, but I'm not going
to get what I've got into the car anyway.
- What kind of contest? Are you going to ask them to try and
write Reverend lyrics?
- Oooooh, I don't know if I want to read through a bunch of
- Jimbo said you were recording at Willie Nelson's studio.
- Yeah, well we're going to end up doing most of our stuff in
Dallas. But we did some stuff down there and we got to hang
out with Willie Nelson. It was fun. He came in and I
swapped verses with him on "Hello Walls" for a compilation
album [a tribute album for Willie Nelson]. Have you heard it
- Yeah, Supersuckers did a song for it.
- He sang with them, too.
- What music do you listen to on the road?
- Well, to tell you the truth, lately on the road, I've been
listening to whatever everybody is listening to. For
instance on this tour right here, I don't have one CD with me
this whole tour. Well, 'cuz I'm trying to travel lighter
this tour, and I kind of forgot and I lost my Discman,
too. We listen to some crazy stuff. We like the '60's
lounge music by Esquivel. It's pretty good. Martin Denney,
we listen to that. But all of a sudden it'll be punk rock
time or we'll listen to the Beastie Boys or something,
whatever those guys are going to turn out. Oh, we listened
to Merle Haggard yesterday. That was real good.
- So do you like country a lot? Is that your main influence?
- I don't think that country's my main influence. But I love
it. I like American music which can be anything. I like
jazz a lot, I really like the swing, Big Band stuff. I play
Louie Jordan records and stuff, rockabilly records, too.
I've got a really cool Jerry Reed record when they first
- If you could play any place in Vegas, which casino would it be?
- Let me see, it's either Binion's or Golden Nugget. We were
there when they were having the national rodeo. Have you
ever heard of a band called The Useless Playboys?
- Yes, they played with you on the last tour. They're great.
- Yeah, you know the bass player, he wears those plaid
checkered suits, and he's got that one tooth missing in the
front and he's always smiling, walking around. Well, in
Vegas, they were having a huge cowboy convention, and a bunch
of cowboys ran up to him and said, "Hey, you're Spanky the
Clown, aren't ya?" He was going, "yeah yeah." And he told them
that he came from a long line of clowns and that my dad was a
clown. And they were like, "It's real nice to meet ya." They thought he
was a rodeo clown. So I went to Binion's and ate a steak with them.
- How do you like your new drummer?
- Scott's great.
A quick word from Scott, the newest member of the Reverend Horton Heat.
- How do you feel about being a member of the Reverend Horton Heat?
- Jesus has your liver in his hand and he wants to give it to you.
Copyright © 1995, Rational Alternative Digital