The Reverend Horton Heat should, and probably is, best known for essentially creating a genre of their own by taking rockabilly sounds and layering them on top of an aggressive punk rock foundation. Some have called this "psychobilly," which is about as ridiculous (albeit hilariously so) a genre classification as there is in popular music, but whatever you want to call it, it's hard to look past this band when inspecting the best live acts of the past three decades. These guys didn't invent the rockabilly sound, but they sure as hell made it more interesting.
Since forming in 1985, The Reverend Horton Heat, fronted by the band's namesake, Jim Heath, has been one of the few bands to survive through the explosion of punk-influenced acts of the early 1990s, using its rabid cult following to keep a steady and successful presence in the touring world while the music industry has changed drastically around them. With the band coming to Bend for an excellently timed post-Christmas show at the Domino Room, I thought I'd highlight another intriguing aspect of this trio - the fact that they, far and away, have some of the most wildly humorous song titles of any band this side of Weird Al. Well, Andrew W.K. might be able to rival him with cuts like "Party 'Til You Puke," but that doesn't really count because Andrew W.K. isn't joking around when he writes shit like that.
Over the course of the band's 10 studio albums, Heath and company have used their song titles, and often times their lyrics, to lampoon country music conventions while getting a giggle from their fans. It's not like Heath is a parodist or writes dorky songs - and not all the titles are funny - he just has a knack for funny titles.
In no particular order, the following are my favorite laugh-inducing song titles from The Reverend and company:
"Please Don't Take the Baby to the Liquor Store" - Laughin' & Cryin' (2009): Not only is this title hilarious, it's also incredibly practical advice for dads who opted out of parenting class for extra barstool time and includes the line, "that's not the kind of bottle he's been crying for."
"Eat Steak" - Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em (1990): While "Psychobilly Freakout" was the most known track from this album, you have to appreciate RHH's dietary command.
"Big Red Rocket of Love" - It's Martini Time (1996): So this song is about... well, if you already got it, you get it. We'll leave it at that.
"Baby I'm Drunk" - Space Heater (1998): An ode to fessing up to a night of drinking, you have to appreciate that straightforward approach. And the excellent piano riffs in this only complement the hilarity.
"Livin' on the Edge (Of Houston)" - The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat (1993): Oh cool, a pump up song about living fast and free--- - --but wait-Houston? It's not a country track, rather it's one of the band's more punkish tunes.
"Just Let Me Hold My Paycheck" - Laughin' & Cryin' (2009): In this tune, the band goes super old school and earnestly sounds like some dusty bar band as Heath sings about women who take all your money. Oh man, ain't that the truth? Am I right, fellas?
"Sue Jack Daniels" - Spend a Night in the Box (2000): You'll hear this on the radio around these parts. Have you noticed how much these guys sing about drinkin'?
"Loco Gringos Like a Party" - Lucky 7 (2002): Um... what? Anyone speak Spanish up in this joint?
"Octopus Mode" - Revival (2004): Who knew a song about going into "octopus mode" could actually be about sex? Oh wait, I get it now. It's even funnier now.
The Reverend Horton Heat, Hillstomp
8pm Wednesday, December 29. Midtown Ballroom, 51 NW Greenwood Ave. All ages. $20/advance at bendticket.com, Ranch Records and Ticketswest.com. $25/door.