By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
There have always been misconceptions surrounding Reverend Horton Heat. For starters, there's no preacher frontman—it's just a name. Then there's the whole genre classification issue; despite the popularity of the band's awesomely unhinged '90s cut "Psychobilly Freakout," the trio doesn't really fit under the banner or feel a musical kinship with psychobilly's European-influenced acts.
"I know it's a cliché," bandleader Jim Heath explains by phone from a tour stop in Omaha."We're a rock 'n' roll band that has a '50s rockabilly influence. But come to our show, and you'll think we're a punk rock band."
Well, a punk rock band that plays traditional country—sort of. The trio's freshly minted album, Laughin' & Cryin' with Reverend Horton Heat, infuses the band's speedy, vintage Sun Records sound with a healthy dose of vintage honky-tonk that often employs 4/4 time. They aren't tears-in-your-beer numbers, though; Heath cleverly finds the humor in even the saddest, most pathetic scenarios and souls.
And, onstage, Heath's a certified wild man, singing about drinking and drugging. But back in his suburban Dallas home, Heath dutifully plays Mr. Mom.
"I'll have plans to work on a hot rod or motorcycle, but it's, 'No, sorry, have to take a little girl to a birthday party,'" Heath says with a laugh. "I do a lot of stuff that's not very manly. Like listen to the musical Annie and sing the song 'Tomorrow.'"
Fellow Dallas-based punk rockers The Von Ehrics open.