Saturday, October 22, 2005

Because I'm all about the guitar Pt. 3

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis post is dedicated to my Texas pals who visit me daily. One, because this guitarist and his band deserves the respect and two because I'm currently playing the heck out of their stuff.

Dallas, Deep Ellum, actually, is home to one of the best guitarists in music today, Jim Heath. Better known to the masses as The Reverend Horton Heat.

It's kind of silly how I've decided to pick these guys up again for the critical listen. Boston Market is using their Eat Steak song from their 1991 album Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, in a new advertisement. I couldn't get the bit they play on the commercial out of my head so I needed to burn through some albums and flush my system with them again.

The first time I ever heard The Rev was in 1994. They played the UNO Arena, opening up for Soundgarden. There was another band, who played first, called UMI (from Australia, I believe). Oh, man UMI was bad, bad, bad, and didn't fit in with the rest of show. I'll get to The Rev in a moment, but Soundgarden also put on a surprisingly poor show. They were touring on their Superunknown album. It was amazingly well-received and the arena was full of teeny boppers who only knew Soundgaren for Black Hole Sun. It wasn't the crowd they wanted. At one point, just as guitarist Kim Thayil was about to break out into the fantastic solo for the song Superunknown, someone threw their flannel shirt onstage and it landed right on his guitar. Horrible. That pretty much was the mood of their entire set.

I felt so bad for them. I wanted a high energy show. The guys in the band were not enthusiastic at all and it was bad.

However, the middle band, The Reverend, was AWESOME! I had heard rockabilly before. I was really into punk. I had never before heard Punkabilly. They shocked me. Being a metal/punk/grunge bigot (at the time), it was kind of hard to understand why they were at this show. They really didn't fit the Soundgarden sound and they were heavily country influenced -- anathema to me at the time. But, seeing them play live, you couldn't deny their musical virtuosity and verve. They were great.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't go out and pick up any of their tapes. I didn't look into them any further ... UNTIL you flash forward about 4 or 5 years. I've joined the Army, pulled a 3-year tour in Okinawa and am now stationed in Arizona. Most of the pals I make there are of the skate punk, neo-swing, punk, bowling shirt wearing, former goth crowd. Now, not fully my scene, but I can understand them. And, I get introduced to some bands that I now dig, but at the time hadn't heard. One night, watching Drew Carey, I see The Reverend Horton Heat pop up -- "Oh, man," I thought. "I know them!"

Seeing them on the show was a catalyst. The next time I was over at one friend's place, I asked him if he had any of their albums. He had both It's Martini Time and Spaceheater. I absorbed them both and bought them myself. They were the only two albums of theirs I've owned until recently, but I have so much respect for them, Jim Heath especially.

Image hosted by Just look at him here plucking away on his Gretsch. It's awesome. He is so in his element playing live on a big Jazz-style guitar.

He's fast. He's adept. He's classy. The Rev may stick to pretty "normal" rockabilly style sound and scales, but he does it with his own feel. He throws in some odd notes and phrasing that makes it his own.

If you've never heard The Reverend Horton Heat, Shame on You! They are more than worthwhile. If you ever have the chance to see them live, you should.

And thanks to Boston Market for putting them into the front of my conscious mind:

Eat steak, eat steak eat a big ol' steer
Eat steak, eat steak do we have one dear?
Eat beef, eat beef it's a mighty good food
It's a grade A meal when I'm in the mood.

Cowpokes'll come from a near and far
When you throw a few rib-eyes on the fire
Roberto Duran ate two before a fight
'Cause it gave a lot of mighty men a lot of mighty might

Eat steak, eat steak eat a big ol' steer
Eat steak, eat steak do we have one dear?
Eat beef, eat beef it's a mighty good food
It's a grade A meal when I'm in the mood.

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