CD Review: Reverend Horton Heat “REV”

Reverend Horton Heat
Victory Records
Tracks: 13

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The high octane psycho-billy rebels know as Reverend Horton Heat are back with their 11th studio album simply titled “REV”. Though it has been four years since the bands previous release “Laughin’ & Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat” the 3 piece band from Texas have not missed a beat. The album which is the band’s first since signing with Victory Records features 13 tracks which are very reminiscent of the bands early material.

Having been a fan of the Reverend since the early 90’s I was pretty excited when I started to hear grumblings that the band was working on a new album. Little did I know how surprised I was going to be when I was finally able to listen to it. Classic RHH all the way! The album wastes no kicking the tires and lighting the fires as it blasts right out of the gate with the instrumental track “Victory Lap” which showcases the always impressive instrumental skills of Jim “The Rev Heath”, Jimbo Wallace and Scott Churilla.

As the album progresses you hear everything from classic rockabilly to country and all stops in between. The song “Schizoid” is vintage RHH through and through from its subject matter to the Rev’s signature “yeahs”. The track “My Hat” is the perfect dance number for those looking to swing the night away while the album’s first single “Let Me Teach You How to Eat” goes straight for the throat in blazing style. Don’t let a four year gap between albums scare you away as “REV” is all killer and no filler. Even if you never thought about buying an RHH album in the past this one is a great starting place as it does a great job of capturing all of the bands style and sound.

Track Listing:
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

The Reverend Horton Heat’s Jim Heath talks about new album “Rev”

Jim “Rev” Heath is the lead vocalist/guitarist for the legendary Rockabilly/Punk band The Reverend Horton Heat. The band is set to release their 11th studio album titled “Rev” via Victory Records at the end of January and Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Jim recently about the creation of the album, the bands 30 years career and the trio’s tour plans for 2014.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on the band upcoming album “Rev”?
Jim Heath: This was a project that helped us get back to more of the aggressive sound that Reverend Horton Heat is known for. The album kind of harkens back to the sound of the band during the mid-nineties which was during a time when my writing had started to get a little more amped up.

AL: How did the creative process work out for this album being that you were returning to your roots in a way?
JH: One thing that was really fun and different about this record is that with the change in album sales and the music industry as a whole there aren’t a lot of those big budget recording options available like there were in the 90’s. A lot of bands have gone to recording themselves in home studios so I thought that would be something that could be fun. I have a decent collection of recording gear so I got together some sponsors and some high end pro audio gear to start doing this record. In the middle of things we signed with Victory Records which allowed us to go in to a commercial studio to do some bits and pieces of the album. By in large we recorded most of the record in our rehearsal studio in Dallas, TX.

AL: Were there any reservations signing to Victory Records being they predominately work with in the metal/hardcore genre?
JH: Not really. A lot of their marketing is probably aimed towards a different crowd than ours which I thought was kind of a good thing. What bands are on a label is not really as important as it’s more about how well the machinery behind everything works. I didn’t really know how big Victory was until we started talking with them and realizing what the label was. We were super impressed with what they have and how they have a bunch of departments which all work to help promote music in various ways. At the end of the day the solid machinery is what I need to help promote our music.

AL: When you are putting together songs what type of writing approach do you take?
JH: For the most part I tend to always start with lyrics. I will find some lyrics that I like and I will start bashing around to come up with some music or sound that evokes what the lyrics are about. From there I try to come up with the melody. Sometimes things come very quickly and sometimes it doesn’t. Other times a song may come together quickly but the polishing off or finishing can take quite a bit of time for me. There is just so much to think about when doing arrangements.

AL: Do think the large gap between this album and your previous will have an effect on how it is perceived by fans/listeners?
JH: We found out something a long time ago about that as we are a band that has a lot of cd’s out. We also tour a lot. When fans come to our shows they come wanting to hear certain songs so when you put out a new album it can be hard sometimes to get them to accept that new material. People remember the old stuff and that’s what they want to here. Frankly you never really can do that as you are always doing new material so there is going to be something different about them. That’s actually the desired thing as I don’t want to just keep re-writing or rearranging old songs and passing them off as something new. We were putting out an album every two years but it got to where our fans weren’t really accepting those new songs until about 2 years later just as we were about to put out another new album. It got to the point where new albums were almost pissing off our fans so putting out an album every two years got to be where it wasn’t working very well for us. I also find it really frustrating when you put out an album and then you don’t have enough time to go out and play it live as not only do you have to play all the old stuff people know but you only have time to throw in 2 or 3 new tracks. That’s just the nature of the beast not only for us but for a lot of bands.

AL: With a career spanning almost 30 years now what do you feel has been the bands biggest change?
JH: For me the biggest change was the musical direction. This was something that happened early on. We started out as an authentic rockabilly band that played original songs. We were a little more 50’s sounding in the early goings. As time went on we got a little bit more turned up and aggressive. I think in the early 90’s when we decided to take that more turned up approach is what I think helped define our sound. With that said however we still have our rockabilly songs on every album along with some country songs. Sometimes things aren’t planned they just happen. I write songs not albums. I will write one song then a bunch more songs which all end up on an album. That’s just how I work and those things end up being something I never really thought of. I did an album titled “Spend a Night in the Box” which is a little more bluesy and with our last album “Laughin’ and Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat” things lean towards a country sound. Initially that album was going to be a straight country album rather than one that sort of leans towards that style.

AL: Thinking back a ways can you tell us about the bands appearance on “The Drew Carey Show” and how that opportunity came about?
JH: Working with those guys was really fun. Between Drew Carey, Ryan Styles and Diedrich Bader those guys are really funny. The people who worked around them and with them on the show were just hilarious. Just about all of them are stand-up comics. What was funny about that show was that they could barely get it done. It was an ultra-professional set up but then you had these guys all cracking jokes between takes. It made it hard to get everything done. (Laughs) I think how we ended up on the show was that Drew Carey is a big music fan. Drew and his manager took a cross country drive at one point and one of the cd’s they had was “It’s Martini Time”. They liked it and asked us to be on an HBO special called “Mr.Vegas All-Night Party”. We were on there with Wayne Newton, David Cassidy and a bunch of other great musicians and players. From there they asked us to be on the episode. I got to have a couple lines which was really fun.

AL: What other plans do you and the band have for 2014?
JH: We will be doing some more videos for a couple other songs off the new album. We have one out now for the song “Let Me Teach You How to Eat” and we are knocking around ideas for the others. We will be out on the road playing gigs throughout the year as well. We are also going to be a part of some really cool festivals. We always do festivals but we will be on some really high profile ones this year. We are going to be doing Coachella and Punk Rock Bowling so it’s going to be a fun year. I also have my own festival which I put on with my friend Oliver Peck. We are looking to do this year’s in June on the weekend of Friday the 13th. It’s called “The Elm St. Music and Tattoo Festival”. This will be our second year of putting this on and I am pretty excited for it as I think it is something that will continue to grow and be pretty cool.

Papa Roach’s Jerry Horton talks their tour “Carnival of Madness”

Jerry Horton is the guitarist for the multi-platinum rock group Papa Roach. The group’s latest release “The Connection” has been tearing up the rock charts and Media Mikes caught up with Jerry recently to discuss the bands career at the Big Flats, NY stop of the Carnival of Madness tour which along with Papa Roach features Skillet and Shinedown.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the bands decision to tour as a package as opposed to a solo headlining run?
Jerry Horton: I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that last year we were supposed to be part of a package tour however due to Jacoby’s vocal problem we had to cancel those shows. We were trying to figure out what to do this year tour wise and the guys from Shinedown hit us up. We have toured with them before and it’s always been a great time so that’s what we decided to do.

AL: Having not toured immediately upon the latest albums release how has the reception been towards the new material on this tour run?
JH: It’s been really good. We have had quite a few people up front just singing along to the new stuff. That’s not something we expect especially from say a Shinedown crowd. Not to say there isn’t cross pollination of our fans and Shinedown fans happening but with them being the headliner you don’t expect to see people singing along to some of our heaviest songs. Things have been great on the tour and each night we flip flop sets with Skillet so some nights we play earlier and other nights we have the later slot. The challenge of getting everyone up out of their seats is one we enjoy and we have had a lot of people up and dancing this time out.

AL: Having a career that is going on 20 years now what do you feel has been the
bands biggest progression over the course of that time?
JH: I would have to say that probably our biggest change happened just recently. We introduced some more electronic elements to our sound. We had a little bit here and there in the past like on “Getting Away with Murder” but it was never really as much in the forefront as it is on this record. We wanted to do that in a way that wouldn’t take away from the rock element of the band. When we write and record we will do the main guitar part and then layer over the top of that. With the electronic sounds we want those to help people differentiate between the various parts of the songs. There are a lot more textures going on in the newer material however I wanted the beats to resemble those from our earlier records.

AL: From a tonal stand point do you feel the band’s sound has changed at all?
JH: I wouldn’t say it has changed so much. We have used different amps from time to time but for our main sound whether I am using a Marshall, a Bogner or a Boogie I have a certain frequency range that I like my sound to sit in. Whatever amp I am using will generally fit in there. You can kind of hear some differences if you go back to the “Infest” album and compare it to “The Connection”. There is a little difference but I generally don’t get down to the freakishly specific settings. I go a lot by ear and how it meshes with the bass. Tobin acts like a second guitar player with his playing style so at times the tones have to be similar and distinct even while we are playing lines that may be similar.

AL: Over time has your live tone and recording tone started to mimic one another or have they stayed pretty separate?
JH: On the last record we used Bogner amps but live I am currently using the Axe Effects unit. I have a similar tone but it’s not exactly a Bogner amp. There are some concessions I am willing to make when it comes to touring and playing live. It’s not only a space issue but there are things like weight and shipping that we have to take in to consideration. The Axe unit comes within I would say between 90-95% of my studio sound. A tone purist would take a look at my whole rig and probably just shake his head in disappointment.

AL: Have there been any talks yet of starting work on a new album?
JH: We have started thinking about it. Ideas have started floating around but we don’t have specific songs finished just yet. I know Jacoby has lyric ideas and we have an idea as to how we want the album to sound. There are a lot of cool things that we are tossing around. I know Tobin has two or three songs in the works and we are really stoked about those. We are still just in the beginning stages. We will probably be in the studio around March.

AL: What other tour plans are in place for the remainder of this year?
JH: We finish the Carnival of Madness tour on September 15th. In October we are starting in the Pacific North West and going through Canada and down the east coast making our way to Florida. In November and December we head over to Europe for some shows and we finish there at the Brixton Academy in London. We have a few shows after that but we have most of the holiday season off.

Pamela Horton talks about being Playboy’s Miss October 2012

Pamela Horton is a model that was recently crowned Playboy’s Miss October 2012.  Besides modeling Pamela is also an avid gamer and a big fan of MMORPG games.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Pamela about being Miss October 2012 and her current favorite game.

Mike Gencarelli: Give us some background about yourself?
Pamela Horton: I was born and raised in LA. But I grew up as sort of a Tomboy. Playing in the mud, climbing trees, getting into trouble. I’ve always loves music and art and video games even at a young age.

MG: How did you end up as Playboy’s Miss October 2012?
PH: I had been modeling since I was 18, and a submitting photographer sought me out on Model Mayhem and asked if I would like to submit for Cyber Girl. He sent in my pics and they wanted to test me for playmate and here I am’

MG: Where you chosen or did you have to compete for it?
PH: I was chosen by Hugh Hefner himself!

MG: How did it feel to make the cover of magazine like Playboy?PH: It has been such a sincere honor! Not many playmates have had this privilege!

MG:Tell us about your photo shoot for the issue?
PH:It was unlike any I had done before. Every detail was looked at. The lighting had to be perfect. My positioning had to be perfect. It was hard work, but it paid off!

MG: I hear you are an avid gamer, specifically for RPG gaming and MMO?
PH: This is very true! I’ve been a gamer since my dad had me play Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on SNES! Although I own and adore all systems, I mostly play on my PC. League of Legends, WoW, Diablo 3, FFXI

MG: What is your favorite game currently?
PH: Currently I am loving the crap out of Theatrythm Final Fantasy. So much nostalgia in one game! And I was always a fan of guitar hero and rock band and to have that trigger interaction with final fantasy music is amazing.

MG: Now that you have been crowned Miss October 2012, what do you want to conquer next?
PH: Look out Riot Games, I plan on trying to work for you!

H. Perry Horton talks about writing “Shark Week” & “2-Headed Shark Attack” with The Asylum

Perry Horton is the writer of two recent films from The Asylum, “Shark Week” & “2-Headed Shark Attack”.  Media Mikes had a chance with Perry about how he got started working with The Asylum and about his upcoming films.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got involved working with The Asylum?
H. Perry Horton: In August 2010 I started my blog, Committed, dedicated entirely to Asylum films – news and reviews, interviews and profiles et cetera, as well as my own personal pitches. Basically, it was a shameless ploy to get their attention, and somehow it worked; in January 2011 they added me to their pool of writers. Three months after that, I was working on A Haunting in Salem.

MG: What was your biggest challenge working on “2-Headed Shark Attack”?
HPH: The sheer number of characters. I inherited the concept and basic set-up from the very talented Edward DeRuiter (3 Musketeers), and in my head, a semester-at-sea couldn’t just be 8 or 10 characters, there had to be enough people to justify the program, so I added a bunch more. Too many, perhaps, for development across the board, but on the bright side, it does yield possibly the highest death count in all of shark cinema history, at 26, I think.

MG: You work with sharks again with “Shark Week” also from The Asylum, tell us about working on this project?
HPH: The Asylum came to me with the concept, a sort of Hunger Games for the shark set. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and instantly wanted to get my hands on it. As far as the process went, it was quick – very, veryquick – and as such sort of a blur in my memory. I just remember throwing myself into it, wanting to satisfy what I think of as the two sides of being a shark fan – wanting to marvel at the sheer evolutionary superiority of the creatures, the genetic adaptations and instincts that make them such exceptional predators, and wanting to see them rip shit up. There are a lot of different species in the film, and I wanted to highlight each’s nefarious advantages, give each a different perilous personality.

MG: You are quite the shark expert, what do you enjoy most about working within that genre?
HPH: I don’t know that I’d consider myself a shark expert – maybe a shark-movie aficionado – I’ve just always been simultaneously fascinated and terrified by them. When I was a kid, eight or nine, I was surf fishing with an older friend in North Carolina, back where I’m from, and he got a bite on his line, big one, and started trying to reel it in but it was giving him trouble. When he tugged hard on the line, a hammerhead breached the surface not ten feet off shore. My buddy dropped the pole right there and it disappeared into the waves. Since then, I’ve been hooked (pardon the awful pun). Sharks are the pinnacle of evolution, the absolute fulfillment of biology’s potential, they’re consumption machines, it’s all they do, and they are well-equipped for the task. I can’t think of a more primal creature on the planet. And then there’s the sea: I could be making this up, but we know more about our solar system than we do the sea. It covers 3/4th of the planet and contains such a wide variety of hazards they’re practically innumerable. You put those elements together – a singled-minded killing machine with zero natural predators and the most unexplored and hostile environment on Earth – you’re gonna come up a winner every time.

MG: Tell us about why you created Committed, a fanblog about The Asylum?
HPH: I’m a fan, first and foremost, I just love whatthey do. I’ve always been a B-movie guy, and for my money, they’re making the best ones out there. I started the blog because I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one already, and because I wanted people to share in my enthusiasm for Asylum films. For all the general crap people may sling just because of the type of films they make, how inexpensively or quickly they make them or who’s in them or whatever, there’s at least twice as much to love about every single one of their films, and I wanted to share those things. And also I really, really wanted to write for them.

MG: What is your all-time favorite film from The Asylum and why?
HPH: Anything that reads “Screenplay by H. Perry Horton.” Other than that, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus is the film that really ignited my love for The Asylum. But I come at the question from a couple different angles. As a fan, I dig the Mega Shark movies, the found-footage stuff like Alien Origin, certainly the sex comedies like Bikini Spring Break; while as a writer I’m drawn to stuff like Paul Bales’ Nazis at the Center of the Earth and Sherlock Holmes, Geoff Meed’s I Am Omega and 6 Guns, Jose Prendes’ Haunting of Whaley House and Jared Cohn’s Born Bad – I could go on for paragraphs – but basically stuff that I’ve been not only impressed by, but humbled. So I guess the short answer is, all of them?

MG: What do you have planned next?
HPH: “Shark Week” premieres on SyFy Saturday, August 4th at 9 p.m. then bows on DVD a few weeks later on the 28th. I have a disaster film that’s in production at the moment, water-based, and an iron or two in the fire beyond that. I’m a superstitious sort of writer in that I don’t like to discuss projects before they’re in production. I’m a big believer in jinxes.