The Korova Presents
Reverend Horton Heat
Dale Watson, Two Tons of Steel
107 E. Martin St.
San Antonio, TX, 78205
Reverend Horton Heat
Undeniably, The Reverend Horton Heat, aka Jim Heath, is the biggest, baddest, grittiest, greasiest, greatest rocker that ever piled his hair up and pounded the drinks down. Without question, for all of his outlandish antics, blistering stage performances and legendary musical prowess, the one thing The Rev always gets asked about is the story behind his unusual and rather clerical moniker. "Well, there used to be this guy who ran this place in Deep Ellum, Texas who used to call me Horton- my last name is Heath," says The Rev. "Anyway, this guy hired me and right before the show he goes, 'Your stage name should be Reverend Horton Heat! Your music is like gospel' and I thought it was pretty ridiculous. So I'm up there playing and after the first few songs, people are saying, 'Yeah, Reverend!' What's really funny is that this guy gave up the bar business, and actually became a preacher! Now he comes to our shows and says, 'Jim, you really should drop this whole Reverend thing.'"
It's been an almost 20-year journey for Heath, whose country-flavored punkabilly and onstage antics have brought him and his band a strikingly diverse fan base and a devoted cult following, not to mention the respect of fellow musicians worldwide. Revival, the band's first release for Yep Roc Records, is a return to Heath's roots - musical and geographical.
"I got this lick called the 'hurricane,' and I call back on the hurricane on this album for the sake of keeping things really rockin," he says. (The "hurricane" is a trademark lick where The Rev plays lead and rhythm guitar simultaneously to give the trio its full live sound.) He's also got a top-secret lick he'll introduce on this disc. It's so top secret that he won't even divulge the name, but listen up for it! Lyrically, the album's themes run "from death to silliness," says The Rev. "I'd been going through so much stuff, losing my mom so quickly, new baby, touring, getting back and having to work," he says of making the album. Revival finds the Rev dealing with these issues and more: The track "Someone in Heaven" is written for his mother, while "Indigo Friends" deals with a friend's heroin addiction. But the album's themes aren't only dark and/or serious: "Calling in Twisted" is about calling in sick to work and "using the fake cough," "Rumble Strip" is a drivin song and "If it Ain't got Rhythm", "that's a really fun one to play," says the Rev "it is classic RHH. And "Party Mad" is pretty self-explanatory.
Dale Watson isn't one to uphold the music industry's status quo. He's moving forward on his own terms and true to his own convictions. Even with frequent proclamations declaring him one of country music's last authentic voices (like that in Crazy Again--a recent documentary on Watson's life--when a fan declares, "son, you play country like country was when country was country"), Watson is done with the "C" word and what it's come to represent in modern times. So much so that he's created his own genre, simply called Ameripolitan.
Two Tons of Steel
Before there was Americana, before there was Texas Country, Two Tons of Steel front man Kevin Geil and his original band, "Dead Crickets," rocked a sound that blended the best of musical worlds and pushed the envelope of "Texas" sound with a signature brand of high-energy country meets raw punk.
The San Antonio-based group packed the small bars and local hangouts and quickly became the Alamo City's most-loved band, earning them a spot on the cover of Billboard Magazine in 1996. It was the beginning of a twenty year journey for Geil and the 4-piece ensemble.
Releasing "Two Tons Of Steel" in 1994 and "Crazy For My Baby" in 1995 on Blue Fire Records, a sponsorship deal with Lone Star Beer quickly followed. Dead Crickets, renamed Two Tons of Steel in 1996 began traveling outside of Texas, including stops at the Grand Ole' Opry in Nashville, Tenn., the National Theater in Havana, Cuba, and European tours, to greet fans who had embraced their Texas-born sound. In 1996 they released "Oh No!" on their independent label, "Big Bellied Records." They followed up the passion project with a live recording at the legendary Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas, taped during a Two Ton Tuesday Show 1998.
In 2013, the band marks 18 years of "Two Ton Tuesday Live from Gruene Hall." The summer-long event drew 13,000 fans in 2012 and more than 150,000 fans since it began its annual run in 1995.
The popular concert series was captured in "Two Ton Tuesday Live," a DVD-CD combo released on Palo Duro Records in 2006. Also that year, the band's first national release, "Vegas," produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Lloyd Maines on the Palo Duro label, took them to No. 7 on the Americana Music Charts and was one of the top 20 releases of 2006. Two Tons released "Not That Lucky" in 2009. The album peaked at No. 4 on the Americana Music Charts and has made Two Tons of Steel a band to watch in 2013.
Along the way, the band has collected a number of awards. To date, Two Tons has cleaned up at home, winning "Band of the Year" on 12 separate occasions and "Album of the Year" for its self-titled debut. Two Tons has also been named "Best Country Band" by the San Antonio Current ten times. Geil also has nabbed 'Best Male Vocal' honors four times.
Two Tons of Steel's reach extends beyond their live gigs. In 2003, the band was filmed during a "Two Ton Tuesday" gig for the IMAX film, "Texas: The Big Picture," which can be seen daily at the IMAX Theatre in the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin and has been seen as far away as Japan. The band also has been featured as supporting characters in award-winning author Karen Kendall's romance novel, "First Date."
Two Tons Of Steel, Kevin Geil, Jake "Sidecar" Marchese on Upright Bass, Brian Duarte on Lead Guitar and Paul Ward on Drums continues to push the line between country and punk with its next project "Unraveled" produced by Lloyd Maines, due out July 2, 2013.