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Reverend Horton Heat

The Reverend Horton Heat is perhaps the most popular psychobilly artist of all time, his recognition only rivaled by the esteem generated by the genre's founders, the Cramps. The Reverend (as both the three-man band and its guitar-playing frontman were known) built a strong cult following during the '90s through constant touring, manic showmanship, and a twisted sense of humor. The latter was nothing new in the world of psychobilly, of course, and Heat's music certainly kept the trashy aesthetic of his spiritual forebears. The Reverend's true innovation was updating the psychobilly sound for the alternative rock era. In his hands, it was something more than retro-obsessed kitsch -- it had roaring distorted guitars, it rocked as hard as any punk band, and it didn't look exclusively to pop culture of the past for its style or subject matter. Most of the Reverend's lyrics were gonzo celebrations of sex, drugs, booze, and cars, and true to his name, his concerts often featured mock sermons in the style of a rural revivalist preacher. The band's initial recordings were released by that bastion of indie credibility, Sub Pop, at the height of the grunge craze; after a spell on the major label Interscope, the Reverend Horton Heat returned to the independent world, still a highly profitable draw on the concert circuit.

Reverend Horton Heat -- the man, not the band -- was born James C. Heath in Corpus Christi, Texas. Growing up, he played in local rock cover bands around the area but was more influenced by Sun Records' rockabilly, electric Chicago blues, and country mavericks like Junior Brown, Willie Nelson, and Merle Travis. According to legend, he spent several years in a juvenile correction facility, and at 17 was supporting himself as a street musician and pool shark (according to the Reverend, however, the story was fabricated by Sub Pop to add color to his greaser image). Heath eventually moved to Dallas, where he found work at a club in Deep Ellum. There, he gave his first performance in 1985 as Reverend Horton Heat, christened as such by the club's owner. Heat played the city's blues-club circuit for a while, performing mostly for polite crowds and swing dancing enthusiasts. Craving the excitement of a rock & roll show, and seeking a more financially rewarding avenue to help with his child support payments, Heat revamped his sound and moved into rock and punk venues. In 1989, he added bassist Jimbo Wallace to his band, and drummer Patrick "Taz" Bentley soon completed the lineup.

Reverend Horton Heat were a big hit around the area, and soon began touring extensively all around the country. They ultimately landed a deal with the prominent Seattle-based indie label Sub Pop, and in 1991 issued their debut album, Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, which featured fan favorites like "Eat Steak," "Marijuana," "Bad Reputation," and "Love Whip." The band kept building its audience through steady touring, and received considerable media attention for 1993's sophomore effort The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat. Produced by the Butthole Surfers' Gibby Haynes, it spawned a minor MTV hit in "Wiggle Stick," and also included Heat staples "400 Bucks" and "Bales of Cocaine."

Having amassed a significant underground following, Horton Heat signed a major-label deal with Interscope in 1994, and debuted that year with a joint release between Interscope and Sub Pop, Liquor in the Front (subtitled "Poker in the Rear" for anyone who missed the first double-entendre). This time around, Heat had an even more unlikely producer in Ministry's Al Jourgensen; he also had major-label bucks, which contributed to a ratcheting up of the hell-raising lifestyle he often sang about, and eventually the temporary worsening of a drinking problem. In the meantime, drummer Bentley left the band later in 1994 to join Tenderloin; he was replaced by Scott "Chernobyl" Churilla.

Horton Heat returned in 1996 with It's Martini Time, which featured several nods to the swing and lounge revival scenes emerging around that time; as a result, the title track became a minor hit, and the album became their first to chart in the Top 200. That year, Heat made his small-screen acting debut thanks to his on-stage preacher schtick, which earned him a guest spot on the acclaimed drama Homicide: Life on the Street. The following year, he appeared on The Drew Carey Show. The band's final major-label album, Space Heater, arrived in 1998; after its release, the gigantic label mergers of that year resulted in the band being dropped from Interscope. In the wake of their exit, Sub Pop released a 24-song best-of compilation, Holy Roller, in 1999, covering their entire output up to that point.

Undaunted, they continued to tour, and in 2000 recorded the more straightforward rockabilly album Spend a Night in the Box for the Time Bomb label. This time, Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary manned the production booth. The Reverend next surfaced on Artemis Records with 2002's Lucky 7, his hardest-edged album in quite some time. Its single, "Like a Rocket," was selected as the theme song for that year's Daytona 500 race. Buoyed by the publicity, Heat signed a new deal with Yep Roc in 2003. His first album for the label, Revival, appeared the following year, as did a live DVD. In 2005, he gave the world its first psychobilly holiday album, We Three Kings. Three years later, the frontman unveiled his side project Reverend Organdrum, which explored a wider range of retro sounds with Hi-Fi Stereo. Laughin' & Cryin' with Reverend Horton Heat appeared from Yep Roc in 2009, followed by 2012's 25 to Life, a live documentary/greatest-hits CD/DVD box set released to coincide with the group's 25th anniversary. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Rev

1. Victory Lap

2. Smell Of Gasoline

3. Never Gonna Stop It

4. Zombie Dumb

5. Spooky Boots

6. Schizoid

7. Scenery Going By

8. My Hat

9. Let Me Teach You How To Eat

10. Mad Mad Heart

11. Longest Gonest Man

12. Hardscrabble Woman

13. Chasing Rainbows

x

Track List: Laughin' & Cryin' With The Reverend Horton Heat

1. Drinkin' And Smokin' Cigarettes

2. Ain't No Saguaro In Texas

3. Death Metal Guys

4. River Ran Dry

5. Please Don't Take The Baby To The Liquor Store

6. Aw, The Humanity

7. Rural Point Of View

8. Oh God / Doesn't Work In Vegas

9. Space Walk

10. Beer Holder

11. Crazy Ex-Boyfriend

12. There's A Little Bit Of Everything In Texas

13. Just Let Me Hold My Paycheck

14. Oh By Jingo

x

Track List: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Reverend Horton Heat

1. Big Red Rocket of Love

2. It's Martini Time

3. Jimbo Song

4. Slow

5. Pride of San Jacinto

6. Texas Rock-A-Billy Rebel

7. Crooked Cigarette

8. Now, Right Now

9. Forbidden Jungle

10. Lie Detector

11. Baby I'm Drunk

12. Generation Why

13. Prophet Stomp

14. That's Showbiz

15. Big Sky

x

Track List: Lucky 7

1. Loco Gringos Like A Party

2. Like A Rocket

3. Reverend Horton Heat's Big Blue Car

4. Galaxy 500

5. What's Reminding Me Of You

6. Tiny Voice Of Reason

7. Duel At The Two O'clock Bell

8. Go With Your Friends

9. Ain't Gonna Happen

10. Suicide Doors

11. Remember Me

12. Show Pony

13. Sermon On The Jimbo

14. You've Got A Friend In Jimbo

x

Track List: Holy Roller

1. Big Sky

2. Baddest Of The Bad

3. Wiggle Stick

4. Big Red Rocket Of Love

5. Bales Of Cocaine

8. 400 Bucks

9. Marijuana

10. It's Martini Time

11. Baby I'm Drunk

12. Where In The Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush?

13. Bad Reputation

14. One Time For Me

15. Now, Right Now

16. Slow

17. Love Whip

18. Jimbo Song

19. Big Little Baby

20. Cowboy Love

21. In Your Wildest Dreams

22. Eat Steak

24. The Entertainer

x

Track List: Liquor In The Front

1. Big Sky

2. Baddest Of The Bad

3. One Time For Me

4. Five-O Ford

5. In Your Wildest Dreams

6. Yeah, Right

7. Cruisin' For A Bruisin'

8. I Could Get Used To It

9. Liquor, Beer & Wine

10. I Can't Surf

11. Jezebel

12. Rockin' Dog

13. The Entertainer

x

Track List: The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds Of The Reverend Horton Heat

1. Wiggle Stick

2. 400 Bucks

3. The Devil's Chasing Me

4. Livin' On The Edge (Of Houston)

5. You Can't Get Away From Me

6. Beer: 30

7. Big Little Baby

8. Lonesome Train Whistle

9. Bales Of Cocaine

10. Loaded Gun

11. Nurture My Pig!

12. Gin And Tonic Blues

x

Track List: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

1. Bullet

2. I'm Mad

3. Bad Reputation

4. It's A Dark Day

5. Big Dwarf Rodeo

6. Psychobilly Freakout

7. Put It To Me Straight

8. Marijuana

9. Baby, You Know Who

10. Eat Steak

11. 'D' For Dangerous

12. Love Whip

x

Track List: 25 To Life: Live

1. I'm Mad

2. Big Little Baby (Live)

3. 400 Bucks

4. The Devil's Chasin' Me (Live)

5. Big Sky (Live)

6. The Baddest Of The Bad (Live)

7. It's Martini Time

8. Please Don't Take The Baby To The Liquor Store (Live)

9. Jimbo Wallace Introduction

10. Jimbo Song (Live)

11. Spend A Night In The Box (Live)

12. Callin' In Twisted

13. Indigo Friends

14. Psychobilly Freakout

15. Where In The Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush

16. Big Red Rocket Of Love

x

Track List: It's A Rave-Up! (Single)

1. It's A Rave-Up!

x

Track List: Live At The Fillmore Cd

1. I'm Mad

2. Big Little Baby

3. 400 Bucks

4. The Devil's Chasing Me

5. Big Sky

6. Baddest Of The Bad

7. It's Martini Time

8. Please Don't Take The Baby To The Liquor Store

9. Jimbo Wallace Introduction

11. Spend A Night In The Box

12. Callin' In Twisted

13. Indigo Friends

15. Where In The Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush

16. Big Red Rocket Of Love

x

Track List: Revival

1. The Happy Camper

2. Revival

3. Callin' In Twisted

4. If It Ain't Got Rhythm

5. New York City Girls

6. Indigo Friends

7. Someone In Heaven

8. Octopus Mode

9. Party Mad

10. Honky Tonk Girl

11. Lonesome Man

12. I'm Your Pet Rock

13. Rumble Strip

14. We Belong Forever

15. Goin' Back Home

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Saw them at Toads around a year ago. Jimbo made himself available to his fans, so I was able to pay him my respect, which he was happy to receive.
Report as inappropriate
N.Y.C.Girls ! "NEW" song/album, ...I've missed out on, bein inda Newmexican poverty TWILIGHT ZONE ... DA REV ROX 4EVER ! Last show, I got 2 C em w/Mr.Lemmy, & Nashville P#$$&, jan'08, @ Marquee Theatre,Temp e , A Z !! GO JIMBO GO !!!
Report as inappropriate
Man, you say one thing about not liking a band, and people jump down your throat!!

Anyway, I love the Heat. I first learned about them when they opened up for Porno for Pyros in August 94, in Miami. Seen them about 5 times since then, which is a lot for South Florida!

Reverend Horton Heat are one of those bands that get better every year, which is the way it SHOULD work! So thankful that these guys have worked so hard at music for as long as they have.
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@rockhopper_ f s : Yeah, I first saw them in 1992, too, when they opened for The Cramps in Pittsburgh, PA. Now THAT was a show to be remembered!
Report as inappropriate
Ran-Dell, if bob's a nit took a shot at your suggestion, he would poop all over himself! AND b**ch about it!
Report as inappropriate
rockhopper_f s
I attended my first Rev show in 1992, in Deep Ellum. Rev was dressed up as Elvis before the show, handing out jelly donuts. Since then, I've probably seen 'em 20+ times.

Always a good show, and the whole band still rocks the house every time!
Report as inappropriate
Sad to say, growing up in Texas, I've still never seen them live!( The Rev are such a cool, unique band. Love those guys!
I'll keep my ear to the ground & go to the next show
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Danced so hard at Norshore theater1999 Duluth,Mn we broke the table
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Eat Steak
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I used to be a stoner .......until I saw the Reverend Horton Heat.....
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Bobonnit, your gay a** comments are far more predictable than even the sunrise. You probably could go f**k yourself if you wanted.
Report as inappropriate
Honestly bobbonit you must be a troublemaker or a retard. Jim heath kills it on guitar and the bands sound is genre based. Thats what music is....repete t i v e measures with changes rests etc that make up something called a "song" rests ,half notes ,quarter notes etc. Then theres this other special thing called verses and chorus' its really cool everyones doin it , its called music
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How would a band be called the singular form of anything? Jim heath is the reverend and the drummer and bass player are not the reverend,the y are the palbearers of rythym and bass!!!!
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The Rev always bad a** never let you down, lonesstar state rules ,thaaaaaank god for texas
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worked a lill with THE REV while I was working with another big name and BIGG BASS back in the 90s'.... ALWAYS a great time. got to meet ALOT of cool peeps young and old , near and faaaar.... FUC% YOU AGAIN BOOBONNIT! YOU....DON'T . . . . K N O W . . . $ # ! T . . . F R O M ... SHINEOLA.
Report as inappropriate
bobonnit

Somewhat interesting but predictable after a couple of minutes of listening.
.. TALK ABOUT 'PREDICTABLE ' . . . . . FUC% YOU BOOBONNIT... AGAIN WITH YOUR FUC%ING BULL$#!T 'PREDICTABLE ' COMMENTS....
Report as inappropriate
Jimbo will baptize u in his above ground pool!!! And will always greet you with a Sixpack of good will and joy!!!!
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Can I get an Amen!
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williamcaubl e
sounds a little like Jim Morrison on this one but I still love it!
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Feeling pretty good in bath.. This surf rock n roll is awesome:)
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I freaking love this man...
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My dog has a big red rocket of love.
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On Sr. Nite in 1990 went 2 deep ellum everyone else saw butthole surfers I went across the Reverend! They come 2 SA twice a yr haven't missd a show. They come back AGAIN w/ @PinataProte s t ! ! Great fukkin show always! !
Report as inappropriate
best show ever - Hagfish, Supersuckers ( f#K ya!) & the Rev about 2003 in Minneapolis. . .
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David meant "JIMBO"
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JUMBO!!!!!!! F**king awesome band and nicest guys! LOVE REV......
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Seen these fellas twice such a good show. I'll be seeing them again at Hortons Hay ride!
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One of the best live acts around today!! Crazy Cool !!
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If the Rev comes to your town, go see them. Jim Heath is one of the best guitarist of all time. Jimbo on slap bass and Scott banging the skins, it don't get any better.
Report as inappropriate
its just loud, fast and fun rock'n'roll' b a b y
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hi bobonnit...s o u n d s like maybe you were expecting beethoven?
Report as inappropriate
Somewhat interesting but predictable after a couple of minutes of listening.
Report as inappropriate
chilldozer
I feel blessed to have seen the Rev more times live than any other act. To the tune of like 15+ times! And He/they never cease to be one of the best live shows Ya could ever see and one of My all time favorite acts, never a bad show!
Report as inappropriate
saw them this year at Irving Plaza, NYC......f*% ^ i n g amazing!
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No better live band! They are without a doubt have the best act in no need of pyrotechnics or background props to make them great... They just get up there and kick a**!!!
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Rock on Jimbo!!!!
Report as inappropriate
One thing in the bio for the Rev that isn't totally accurate. The Cramps never claimed to be or considered themselves to be psychobilly at any point. The Cramps more or less considered themselves rock even though most would consider them the origins of psychobilly due to their horror themes and rockabilly sound but, that title goes to The Meteors. Anyways I'm glad that the Rev has been finally come back to play shows in Seattle, the town with the record label that put him on the map!
Report as inappropriate
someone give dorian aka douche a beer and bag.
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Say yea
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Looking forward to my soul being saved NYE in Denver Co!
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WOOOOO ! Stay Greasy !
Cali -
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My new favorite
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My RHH station is called The Reverend Horton Heat. When I order my stations chronologica l l y , it appears in the right spot, but alphabetical l y , it's always at the top of the list. Nevertheless I am reluctant to call this a glitch.
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Bullet!!!!!!
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The Reverend Hoton Heat saved my soul!
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Best RHH song
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Marijuana.
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Save mah soul!
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seeing them april 13th my best freinds band Didi Deluxe and the Dirty Devilsare opening up for them! check them out on reverbnation !
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i wish i could see them here in Georgia April 2, but sadly i wont be able to. :(
i love reverend horton heat
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