Reverend Horton Heat ready to fire up ToledoWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Praise the retro-rockabilly twang and pass out the explosive craziness: Reverend Horton Heat is coming to town.
The faithful know what to expect — a high-energy show with humorous revelations and instrumental devotions.
For those unfamiliar with the trio’s musical ministry, say these song titles: “Psychobilly Freakout,” “Marijuana,” “Big Dwarf Rodeo,” “Oh God! Doesn’t Work in Vegas,” “Party Mad,” “Death Metal Guys,” “Callin’ in Twisted,” “Nurture My Pig!”
There’s even a track that could be a public service announcement: “Please Don’t Take the Baby to the Liquor Store.”
“Jimbo [Wallace, upright bass player] wrote the lyrics on that one,” said singer-songwriter-guitarist Jim Heath, aka Reverend Horton Heat. “I think he got the idea for it when he was going to the liquor store and taking his little boy there. They have shopping carts at this liquor store by his house, so he had the kid sitting in this shopping cart like they do when you go into a grocery store, [laughs] except he’s walking around a liquor store.”
That song is from the 2009 disc, “Laughin’ & Cryin’ With the Reverend Horton Heat.” Formed in Dallas in 1985, the band’s first CD, “Smoke ’em If You Got ’em,” came out in 1990.
“When I first started out with my songs, I think I got a lot of success off my lyrics because people could understand what I was saying. You know, ‘I was working on my farm in 1982/ Pulling up some corn and a little carrot, too,’ as opposed to a lyric like a lot of bands write,” Heath said, quoting lines from “Bales of Cocaine.”
“I think people understand when they hear a song where, you know, ‘She was a tree on a mountain afar, an island alone.’ It’s like, OK, what the hell are you saying?” he said and laughed.
A fan of blues and honky tonk, Heath said it was a film that ignited his love for the 1950s.
“The movie ‘American Graffiti’ really got my interest going in the whole bit — the hot rods, the coolness of the music,” he said during a call from his Texas home.
“I was really drawn to the ’50s stuff. I love Chuck Berry, I love Jerry Lee Lewis and I love Elvis, Roy Orbison,” he said. “Then all of a sudden it was such a rockabilly thing, and then the rockabilly thing kind of started fusing with the punk rock. And I realized just how funny so much of the rock ’n’ roll and rockabilly stuff was — all these songs with titles like ‘Eager Beaver Baby’ — there was a humorous side to all the great rockabilly stuff.
“It just made me realize that it’s a lyrical style that is really cool and an unheralded way of writing lyrics to have them be … zany and kind of off the wall.”
Reverend Horton Heat — Heath, Wallace and drummer Paul Simmons — will play an all-ages show March 14 at the Omni, 2567 W. Bancroft St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 the night of the concert. Larry and His Flask and The Goddamn Gallows will open.
Playing down the street from the University of Toledo, it would be sacrilegious for the group not to play “Like a Rocket,” which was the official song of the Daytona 500 in 2002.
Heath added, “‘The Big Red Rocket of Love’ is our main closing song and has been for years, and I guess we’ll probably do it again.”