The Reverend Horton Heat!!
An interview by Darla Kitt
First off, I need the names of the members and who plays what.
REV: I'm Jim and I sing and play guitar, Jimbo plays our stand
up bass and Scott's on drums.
EAD: Where are you guys from and how long have you been playing
REV: Good old Dallas Texas. Me and Jimbo have been playing for
about 9 1/2 years, Scott's been with us about 3 1/2. But I started Reverend
Horton Heat as a solo thing around 1985.
EAD: How would you describe your sound to someone who's never
heard you play?
REV: A psychobilly super group! No, no...Europe has the real
psychobilly scene...like the Meteors. Uh, a fun band.
EAD: Who are some of your influences?
REV: God, there's so many. Rockabilly really changed my life.
Like Johnny Burnett in the late 70's early 80's. Oh, and the Cramps in
'79 or '80. After seeing that show it just gelled what I wanted to do.
I knew I wanted to do the rockabilly thing, but after seeing how these
wild shock rock girls were playing this old style guitar, with the punk
rock it just fused it all together. Like surf punk and rockabilly could
be hooked together. And then I knew that that was it. It was a great show,
there was this riot, a bunch of heavy metal redneck kids were beating the
hell out of the punk kids and I started fighting the heavy metal kids and
realized how I almost could've become one of those heavy metal rednecks,
I was this close. Years later I was talking to the Cramps about that show
and they said that they were escorted out of Dallas afterwards. "We don't
want none of that punk rock in our town."
EAD: Why do you think rockabilly is regaining such popularity?
REV: It's the original punk rock. It started out on indie labels,
where the bands could do what they wanted. Once you get signed to a big
label, it all changes. I mean Sun Records started as a blues label, and
then it got Elvis and he did all sorts of new stuff, then they sold him
for, like, $30,000. That was unprecedented back then. It was the beginnings
of punk. Sonny Burgess' band all dyed their hair red and played matching
red guitars. People thought they were Satan.
EAD: How often do you tour?
REV: All the time. Even if we're not out on a big tour we'll
go out for 3 day weekend tours. We usually only have about 1 or 2 months
off a year total. I love it, but it's hard. You can't take it for granted.
EAD: Do you ever take your girlfriends on tour with you?
REV: Not usually. It's hard. Long hours on the bus, stopping
at Burger King for a fast sandwich, "Hurry up, we gotta GO!" The woman's
always like, "They're gonna have Beanie Babies, we have to wait."
EAD: Do you have lots of groupies?
REV: Oh, lots. Tons. We're hot.
EAD: And who do the girls like best?
REV: Scott definately.
EAD: Has Jimbo ever fallen off his bass?
REV: Oh, hell yes. We have hundreds of bass accident stories!
His feet went through it, my feet went through it. One time we were onstage
and I hear this BANG! I look over an Jimbo's gone, I still hear him playing
but I can't see him. I look out into the crowd and they're lookin' back
at me, but no Jimbo. So I walk over to the edge of the stage and there
he was on the floor below the stage on his back with the bass on top of
him and he was STILL playing! Another time he threw it up in the air but
the cord was too short so it was spinning around like a helicopter, it
was like Vietnam, all of us ducking and running before it hit the stage.
He beats the hell out of 'em. He'll bust one up one night and the next
day bring out the wood glue and clamps and fix that baby right up to play
it that night, or the next day.
EAD: Do you have any tattoos?
REV: I have one really, really bad Bettie Page. But I guess
tattoos aren't really cool unless they're bad.
EAD: What do you think of the new "punk" styles out there, like
those huge pants?
REV: They don't really bother me. I mean everyone goes through
that. Not the same styles, but the trend thing. In the '80's I had the
greased hair and the WayFarer sunglasses, every job I went to it was "Hey
Elvis". Now I look nothing like Elvis but because of the pompadour and
WayFarers it was "Hey, Elvis" everywhere I went. I'm blond! At one of my
office jobs all the ladies would get on me about the hair and I'd tell
them that someday all their husbands would be cutting their hair short
and wearing the sunglasses, too. They'd tell me "I'd never let my husband
do that to his hair!" I bet they're all wondering what happened to that
"kid with the hair" now.
EAD: Speaking of hair, what are your favorite hair products?
REV: Vitalis, or Murray's. Dax isn't good on my hair, it's too
EAD: Would Elvis still have been cool if he had a normal name
REV: Ooh, maybe not. Honestly it was his talent that made him
cool. He had to overcompensate for a silly name. He was a great singer,
I listen to his real early Sun Record stuff a lot. People who hear it ask
me who that great rockabilly singer is. Elvis Presley. He was a great guy,
a really good person, nice to everybody. Then he died and those guys that
worked for him trashed him in those books they wrote. I hate those guys.
They would've been workin' in a factory their whole lives if Elvis hadn't
taken them in and given them a good life.
EAD: Do you swing dance?
REV: Yeah, I'm not real good at it, but I've been doing it my
whole life. It made me quite popular with the ladies. But it's not really
about how good you are, it's how you connect with your partner. I could
dance with any girl and look cool even though I wasn't ever that good because
I could connect. The only girls I couldn't lead were those who were used
to leading other girls. They'd try to swing me around and I'd be like,
"Whoa, I'm the one leading here. What the hell are you doing?"
EAD: Who is your favorite pin-up or starlet?
REV: Oh, Bettie Page, I like Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Doris
EAD: Are you a religious man?
REV: In my own way. Reverend Horton Heat provides laughs, not
morality. I just have fun with it.
EAD: Are there any other stories you'd like to share with our
REV: Not about us, there is one I love about Johnny Cash though.
I was talking to Carl Perkins and I just wanted to ask him about everyone.
I heard this story about Johnny Cash and asked him if it was true. It goes
that one time on the road he tied together two m80's and blew out the hotel's
entire water system, blowing some guy right off the toilet. And Carl said
that it was absolutely true! He also told me that Johnny wanted to raise
chickens while on tour to make extra money. They were farm boys, that's
all they knew. They did it for 6 months, and the car smelled like chicken
shit and their clothes smelled like chicken shit and almost all the chickens
died anyway. But the idea was that they could keep them in the dresser
drawers in their hotel rooms.
EAD: Thank you so much for your time Reverend, you have some