Wednesday, October 12, 2016
“I’m afraid I’m on the Willie Nelson retirement program, which means I’ll never retire,” promises Jim Heath, sounding every inch a Texan.
By day, Jim Heath is a mild-mannered musical historian well-versed in the birthing days of rock and roll. But when the sun goes down, he straps on his signature Gretsch 6120, steps up to the mike and is transformed into Reverend Horton Heat, a hellfire-spewing, rock and roll dare-demon.
Jim’s tome is iconic: From recording with Lemmy Kilmister, being revered by country music legends like Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, touring with Soundgarden, ZZ Top, The Cramps, Social Distortion, White Zombie and the Sex Pistols (a young Lydon was connected to Jim’s original 1985 demo), to providing touring opps to upstarts Kyuss, Hank III, Marilyn Manson and countless others across decades on the road.
Heath and longtime confidant and slap-bass general Jimbo Wallace have polished up their 12th release, Whole New Life, which Heath calls “the most positive material I have ever written. It focuses heavily on rock and roll but there is a human interest parallel - songs about growing up poor, vices, marriage, having children and walking the rapturous streets of America.”
Call it a new twist on an old sound, Whole New Life was recorded between Fun Guy Studios and Modern Electric in the band’s hometown of Dallas. The eleven track rumination features new sticksman Arjuna ‘RJ’ Contreras. The Texas based jazz pupil came to the bands attention from a friend’s reference in the summer of 2017, and brought a whole new backbeat to the legendary rockabilly administration. After clicking with Contreras, Heath hired a new pianist in 2018, Matt Jordan, to flesh out the sound with the pomp and power of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. “I love playing with these guys, it truly is a whole new band, so the title fits perfectly.”
Recording the album, Heath recalled that “Back in the 1950’s, reverb chambers were really hip and I always loved their warmth. I’m all about Sam Phillips and the things he did with tape machines and tape echo. I love that kind of production value, even if it is older than me! It really sent me to this whole other head space where I worked with a lot of vintage gear on this album - some of which I built myself for a truly unique sound - ribbon, old tube microphones, pre-amps and stuff. Additionally, a year before I started piecing this together I worked especially hard on my singing voice. Whole New Life brought out something in me where I am screaming more and making more throaty sounds. It's got some Louisiana feel to it, a bit of gruff and some Roy Orbison style in it. We tested out new tracks on our most recent tour and they are working better with the audience than any new songs we premiered since the early days of the band.”
“This tour started around 1986,” Heath chuckles dryly. Reverend Horton Heat still performs nearly 200 shows annually, including their trademark Horton’s Hayride Festival in Southern California, which has expanded to an end-of-the-year jamboree under the name Horton’s Holiday Hayride. The band has also wowed sold-out crowds with their multi-city residencies across America, including performances at Coachella, Reading, Austin City Limits, Riot Fest and countless other festivals. The Texas troubadours also took a unique approach to the term ‘Special Guests’ on recent tours. Recalling the time the band opened for Jerry Lee Lewis, Heath had a vision, “The idea of playing in Jerry’s backing band would have been pretty neat. So every once in a while we’ll have a load of fun putting that aspect in our live set. In the middle of our set, we’ll have a special guest come on stage for a mini-set where Reverend Horton Heat is the backing band. The first time we did it was with Lemmy Kilmister. We stopped our set midway, the road crew dragged a Marshall amp on stage, wiped the Rickenbacker clean and out came Lem. He was adamant on playing deep cuts, but I fought tooth and nail with him to do ‘Ace Of Spades.’ I told him, ‘Lemmy, we must do this song, we have to give the people want they want.’ He took a drag of his smoke, looked me square in the eye, and said ‘Never give them what they want, give them what they need!’”
With over one million albums sold and nearly 35 years in the game, Heath and company have been delivering blood-pressure inducing scriptures to millions of fans worldwide. Call it rock and roll, psychobilly or what have you, Reverend Horton Heat is often considered an early architect of the latter genre (at least on this side of the Atlantic) and occupies a peculiar place in American musical terrain.
the Buttertones put out Gravedigging, but on
their newest Midnight In A Moonless Dream, they're digging
deeper and discovering something dark. If Gravedigging felt
like an oversaturated spaghetti-western desertscape, Midnight is
much more biting-music made for the swampland that spit out Australia's mad
Scientists, or for the Mickey Spillane night city where the Cramps met all
those garbagemen and werewolves. Or maybe the Buttertones are heading
for an even more primal place: "Show more teeth / Bite your way in," sings
guitarist Richard Araiza. "You're back in the jungle again!"
They'd started in 2011 as
a trio of music-school misfits. Araiza, bassist Sean Redman and
drummer/multi-instrumentalist Modesto 'Cobi' Cobiån all wanted to pursue
something more than boring industry adequacy, and soon locked together their
current five-piece line-up with sax player London Guzman and guitarist Dakota
Boettcher. With Gravedigging, they leapt from backyard parties to
back-to-back tours, including their first trip to Europe, and scored a
Coachella slot for 2018. It was a year that made them sharper, stronger, even
more sophisticated. And when they were ready to record, they were ready to do
made in two flash sessions at Long Beach's Jazzcats studio with Gravedigging producer
Jonny Bell, whose genre-smashing record collection and appetite for
experimentation made for a perfect match. (He's really a guru, they say.) What
was supposed to be a six song EP during the summer of 2017 bloomed into a
full-length by the end of that December. Midnight was like a
trust fall, the band says-leap of faith after leap of faith, cut to tape as it
happened by a tight and tour-tested band. On this album, they'd decided,
everything would be new-not just new sounds, like their first-ever string
section, but new ways of working together and writing together. They
worked on trust and instinct, by feeling instead of thinking. If it worked,
they'd keep it, and if it didn't, they'd burn it and move on. Gravedigging played
like the soundtrack to a good heist movie, but Midnight was
like the true story itself-a perfect and intricate crime, executed by a crew of
professionals under cover of night.
On the vicious "Winks and
Smiles," the spirit of sax and violence that powered cult-classic L.A. punkers
the Deadbeats suddenly comes to life; on the starked-out "You and Your Knife"
and fog-and-smoke follow-up "Brickhead," you'll hear the cryptic echoes of
Suicide or Bauhaus. It's music made for dancers but also for doomed
romancers, and you'll hear it best on the pocket symphony "Eros," which closes
the album with Lynch-ian vision and power-here Araiza sings with almost
startling passion, and if you don't linger on the idea of graveyard angels in
perpetual embrace, it's a love song for the ages. This is the strong stuff, the
kind that comes in an unmarked bottle and burns when it hits.
"It's the darkness that
brings us together," laughs Guzman-in person, this is a band who prefer comedy
to tragedy, even if they do claim to spend hours listening to Smiths records
all day. But there's still a tension and even a sinister new
dimension on Midnight that the Buttertones never
quite had before. Like lead single "C4," which ignites like something from a
New York no-wave song, with slashing sax and ferocious drums and a piano riff
falling of a cliff before Araiza fights through the noise and gunsmoke, and
what's the very first word on the whole album? "Bang!" he shouts-and that says
Seattle's Dusty 45s have a reputation for firing up the crowd. They
deliver their rockin', high-energy music at just the right throttle to
keep fans on their feet, begging for more. Over the years, the group has
devoured styles ranging from twang country, jump blues, surf, and pure
rock & roll, mixed-in elements from influences such as Dixieland and
Jazz, and now serve-it-up as a sizzling sound all their own. With two
wailing electric guitars, a slappin' upright bass and some guaranteed
knock-down drumming, they take it to 11 with a blazing trumpet.
Singer/songwriter and front man Billy Joe Huels
leads the band with an engaging, charismatic stage presence, a rippin'
guitar, and a trumpet which serves as an extension of himself. By the
end of the show, the trumpet ends up on fire, literally. His original
songs are delivered with panache by Seattle's finest roots-rock wrecking
crew: Jerry Battista on lead guitar, Kelly Van Camp on drums, and Jeff Gray on upright bass. The quartet was tapped to back 'The Queen of Rockabilly" and recent Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Wanda Jackson, in support of her blazing, Jack White-produced record. This past summer they toured throughout the West with Ms. Jackson, opening for Grammy winning artist Adele.
The Dusty 45s have been thrilling crowds for over a decade. The
readers of the Seattle Weekly voted them "Best of Seattle" 3 years in a
row. In 2007 Huels enchanted the theater crowd, starring as Buddy Holly
in Seattle's 5th Avenue Theater's production of "The Buddy Holly Story."
With a deep discography, thousands of miles on the tour van odometer,
and a committed fan base in the western US and Europe, the Dusty 45s
are a professional, talented band with a creative fire that burns
Billy Joe Huels - Trumpet/guitar/lead vocals
Jerry Battista - Lead guitar/vocals
Kelly Van Camp - Drums, harmonica, vocals
Jeff Gray - Upright Bass, vocals
Saturday, 26 September 2020
Sunday, 27 September 2020
Sunday, 04 October 2020
Tuesday, 06 October 2020
Friday, 09 October 2020
Sunday, 11 October 2020
Sunday, 25 October 2020
Saturday, 31 October 2020
Tuesday, 03 November 2020
Sunday, 08 November 2020
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