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The Reverend Horton Heat

Wednesday, Apr 12 2000
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The Reverend Horton Heat
The Reverend Horton Heat preaches the gospel of hard drinkin', fast drivin', and the big-rockin' sound of a hollow-body geetar in maximum overdrive as the spiritual remedy to drown our nation's post-adolescent ills. And Papa Heat's homilies are imbibed via 100 percent testosterone-fueled stoopidity. Sure, the music's a hearty home-brew of punk and rockabilly, but the message hails from pure rock 'n' roll fantasy. Of course, it's celebrated with all the time-honored accouterments: liver-tweaking liters of liquor, beer, and wine; wild 'n' willing women with lipstick and short skirts; and snake-eyed dreams at the craps tables in Atlantic City or in some seamy back alley with dubious conscience-razing substances. The night before always seems a bit hazy the morning after a Reverend Horton Heat show, but to a concertgoer, that's usually not a problem; life goes on, even if the next day's a wash.

But for the artist, excessive R 'n' R can lead to a wasted career, which doesn't bode well for a fancy six-string technique. And that's the sad road the Reverend Horton Heat seemed to be headin' down on the last few albums. In a word, they were bad -- not "Baddest of the Bad" bad as he once proclaimed on the inspirational opus Liquor in the Front, but bad, as in, this guy's had it. But the word on the new Spend a Night in the Box is that it captures the power and spirit of Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, the Reverend's quintessential Sub Pop debut. To know the gospel truth, grab some pals, a 12-pack, a fifth of Jack, and earplugs, and race to the Maritime for a would-be Horton Heat healing.

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Sam Prestianni

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