The Reverend Horton Heat
by Su Chon
The Reverend Horton Heat roared into town and played quite the
show. Psychobilly was shaking the walls, and into the bodies of
devoted fans. If the Rev comes to town, you MUST see this show.
These guys work hard for a living, and they have fun. Watch Jimbo do
a balancing act on his huge bass and Taz's powerful arms striking the
drums. The Rev always looks so cool on the stage, as cigarettes
dangle from the corner of his mouth.
Although "One Time for Me" has gotten a lot of airplay
(especially because of the masturbation/voyeur theme), the Rev will
get you off your ass and onto the dance floor. Their latest CD,
"Liquor in the Front," is great. The song lyrics range from lust,
lost love, hard drinking, fast cars, and fast women - my personal
favorite is "Liquor, Beer, and Wine." And they don't perform only
rocking songs - they have some ballads of lost love and lust. If you
know how, you can cha cha to "In Your Wildest Dreams." They
incorporate all forms of music into psychobilly. Everyone can find
something to like about the Reverend Horton Heat.
After the show, I spoke with Jimbo, the bassist, and we talked
and laughed about dating (he recently got married in Vegas) and having
friends of the opposite sex, Internet and computers. Jimbo is a laid-
back, good ol' boy and just likes to have a good time doing what he
does best - rocking with the Rev.
- You were on the first Tales from the Edge cd [a cd released
by KDGE in Dallas of local music]. How did you like doing
- Well, you know it wasn't like a project that we were doing.
We did some live stuff in the studio for them to play on the
radio, and we had no idea that they were going to put it on
a cd. That came later. So we had the piano player from
Asleep at the Wheel, was playing with us. What song was on
- I can't remember...
- I can't remember either it was so long ago. So it wasn't
really a planned thing we had to worry about, it just kinda
happened. They broadcast us live from a show, and we did some
live stuff in the studio for them and they put it on a cd.
- Where did you get the name, Reverend Horton Heat?
- Oh that came from a place called the Prophet Bar in Dallas,
so it's kind of a religious name. Jim (the Reverend) did a
solo gig, and the owner said, "You should call yourself the
Reverend...Reverend Heat" because his last name is Heath so
he dropped the H to make heat. Jim goes, "No I don't want to
do that." And the owner said, "You want a gig?" and he goes,
"Well, I need some money, yeah." So he's playing the Prophet
Bar in Dallas, and the next thing you know he sees the paper
and the guy's billing the show as "The Reverend Horton Heat."
Jim goes, "God, I can't believe you did that." The owner gave
him the gig and he needed the money so he said okay and it's
kind of stuck with him ever since.
- Could you tell us the proper proportions for mixing a Bloody
- I tell you what, bbq sauce is very thick so you have to add
a lot of vodka. I would say 9 parts of vodka, 1 part bbq
sauce. And you have to throw a rib bone in there after you
chew the meat off of it. Throw the rib bone in there and stir
it up - it makes it perfect.
- Must be really tasty...
- ...a little tabasco, if you don't add that much vodka, you can
barely choke it down. Gibby Haynes [of the Butthole Surfers]
came up with that.
- He's the one that invented it?
- Oh yeah, we ran out of tomato juice so we had bbq sauce and
so we kind of improvised.
- Well how did you like working with Gibby Haynes?
- Gibby's a wild man, I like Gibby. He's great.
- I like that album, too. That was good.
- Yeah, Gibby's cool.
- How did you like working with Al Jourgensen of Ministry?
- Ooooh, do you really want to know?
- Yeah, 'cuz that's a question that everybody keeps asking.
- Man, I tell you what, he did a good job. There were a few
songs we felt that didn't need to sound the way they did. So
we remixed a few songs, and I don't think he's very happy
because we touched his mix. We're happy with the album now,
but at the time, you know, we didn't really want to sound
industrial. And there were a few songs...he's a big country
music fan - he pretty much left us alone but there were a few
things that didn't quite, that we didn't agree on, which is
typical, I mean, it's to be expected and I think he's probably
mad at us now. But we're about to go to New Zealand and
Australia and go on tour with them so we'll either beat 'em
up or make friends, I don't know.
- How do you feel about rockabilly's rising popularity? The
Cramps were just here a month ago.
- I love the Cramps.
- I do, too. It just seems like, I don't mean to be rude, a lot
of kids, their first exposure to rockabilly is the Stray Cats
and a lot of people look down on it...
- The Stray Cats were great. They totally influenced people but
they became cartoonish after awhile. You know, it's like "I'm
sexy and 17." I don't think Brian Setzer's seventeen. And
you know it just kind of like became cartoonish. We
approached rockabilly from the punk side because of all of our
backgrounds. I'm a big Johnny Fenders fan, New York Dolls,
Ramones, like all the old school punk rock. So we don't
consciously try to be a psychobilly band, it's just our roots
finally came out, and I think it's working pretty good for us
now. I'm really glad that roots music is finally getting some
attention and anything we do to help it out, we'll be first
in line to try and make that work. It's a style of music -
rockabilly is a style of music, not a 50's retro, not 50's
music. It's a style like jazz or whatever.
- You'll have to laugh because a lot of fashion magazines are
doing a rockabilly fashion spread...
- I know, I've seen that. Where they comb somebody's hair up
real high and here's rockabilly. I don't care what your hair
looks like, if you got it in your heart. Rockabilly is the
first punk rock because it was totally unaccepted by parents,
as punk rock was. And it was way before punk rock and it was
totally outrageous and crazy, inbred, psycho music. So the
Cramps have been like pioneers in bringing a message to the
world that it is a crazy, crazy, crazy music.
- I think the Cramps are a little more off...
- Oh yeah, high heels and all. I love that.
- Well he didn't strip down to his g-string this time. He took
off his shirt for sure.
- We went on tour with them once, and somebody threw a pair of
red panties on stage. So he stripped down, put the red
panties over his face and sang a whole song, and then he ended
up putting them on. He had matching red high heel shoes so
there was no clash in fashion.
- Describe the ideal house of worship for the Reverend Horton
- Oh man, it's got to have a bar to start with. It's got to
have a bar and it's got to have dancing girls of course. We
do believe in a higher power, but I think God has a sense of
humor, I really do. He's got to, I know. I don't believe in
organized religion. I believe in yourself, I mean, you know
if you're right with yourself. And so if you got a bar and
dancing girls I think you'll be okay.
- What is the message you want preached to the whole world?
- I guess I just pretty much said it.
- What are you planning to do in the future, after the tour?
- Actually we don't have much time off, we're always touring.
If I can get the holidays off - I just got Thanksgiving off,
I just cooked my first turkey and it was great - so I'll
be home on the 23rd right before Christmas which is really a
drag because I haven't done my Christmas shopping yet. My
future is my time off, because we'll always be touring. I
haven't had a day job in seven years. I've been in the
Reverend Horton Heat for seven years, it's hard to believe.
I feel like the Rolling Stones or something.
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