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Reverend Horton Heat’s new video ‘Mad Mad Heart,’ a Dangerous Minds exclusive
07:12 am


Reverend Horton Heat

When his 1990 debut Smoke Em If You Got Em arrived on Sub Pop records, Jim “The Reverend Horton Heat” Heath forged an unlikely audience comprised of tat-sleeved rockabilly fans, people on the front guard of the nascent swing revival, and fans of heavy rock. The tours for the subsequent Full Custom Gospel and Liquor in the Front cemented Heat’s rep for amazing live shows, and he’s been a favorite racket-kicker-upper of the pomade brigade ever since. He functions as a kind of mischievous evil twin to Brian Setzer—like the ex-Stray Cat, Heat draws inspiration from rockabilly, country, surf-rock, and the swing/big-band era, but he’s decidedly and unapologetically less NPR-friendly about it, preferring a raucous, humorous presentation that’s derived as much from punk as honky-tonk. Heat rocks out hard, and is just a metric shitload of fun.

Heat’s new LP, REV, was released in January to become his highest charting release yet in 25 years, and has been getting generally favorable press, including from Dangerous Minds. His latest video from the album is “Mad Mad Heart,” and we’re pleased to be the first to show it to you.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
We have Pat Boone to thank for the most psychotic and deranged rockabilly record of all time!

Marty Lott aka Jerry Lott aka “The Phantom” was born near Mobile, Alabama in 1938 and moved to Leakesville, Mississippi during infancy. He played country music on stage at school which progressed to playing country and western at Paynas Furniture Store in Lucedale, Mississippi. Jerry started entering and winning local performing contests which led him to start touring. It all changed in 1956 for Marty and so many others, when Elvis Presley came along, opened his eyes and charged his soul with rock and roll.

“Love Me” was written in ten minutes and recorded in Mobile at Gulf Coast Studio in the summer of 1958. It is one of those rare, lust-filled, psychotic explosions that, in one minute and twenty nine seconds, packs more punch than most punk records did and is considered by many to be the wildest rock and roll song ever recorded. It had to wait until the new decade to see a release.

Lott told Derek Glenister:

“I’d worked three months on the other side of the record. Somebody said, ‘what you gonna put on the flip-side’ I hadn’t even thought about it. Someone suggested I wrote something like Elvis ‘cause he was just a little on the wane and everybody was beginning to turn against rock ‘n’ roll. They said, ‘See if you spark rock ‘n’ roll a little bit’... so that’s when I put all the fire and fury I could utter into it. I was satisfied with the first take, but everybody said, ‘let’s try it one more time’. I didn’t yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall.”

“I’m telling ya, “it was wild. The drummer lost one of his sticks, the piano player screamed and knocked his stool over, the guitar player’s glasses were hanging sideways over his eyes.

Lott, known at this time as The Gulf Coast Fireball left Mobile for Los Angeles to shop his master tape around. On a truly bizarre impulse he followed Pat Boone to church one Sunday morning and convinced him to give the tape a listen. It was Boone’s idea to rename Lott The Phantom, even agreeing to issue the record on his own Cooga Mooga label. Eventually Lott signed a contract with Boone’s management but the single of “Love Me” b/w “Whisper Your Love” was released on the label Boone recorded for—Dot Records in 1960, packaged in a nifty picture sleeve, normally reserved only for the really big stars here in the States.


“Aahh, uhh, let’s go! Uhh
Press your lips to mine
And whisper I love you
Gotta have chance that lasts
To do the things we wanna do
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me
You set my soul on fire
Every muscle in my body’s burning with desire
Baby kiss me do
Make me know you’re mine
Love me with desire
Oh honey, this is fine
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me
I want you to be my bride
My heart’s a runnin’ wild
Got to make you mine
If just for a little while
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me, love me, love me, love me…”

Sadly in 1965, Jerry’s wife took her own life, and shortly thereafter, in 1966, while still attempting to tour, The Phantom was involved in a near fatal auto accident in York, South Carolina. After his car tumbled 600 feet down a mountainside he was left paralyzed below the neck. Lott continued to write songs, but never recorded again. He passed away on September 4th,1983 at the age of 45.
Ever the rock ‘n’ roll purists The Cramps chose the song to be one of the first ones they learned, going so far as to make a flyer that they put up around New York City before they ever even played their first gig proclaiming “LOVE ME” featuring the baleful gaze of Cramps guitarist Bryan Gregory.

The Cramps play “Love Me” at the Napa State Mental Hospital in 1978

A new generation was introduced to the likes of The Phantom in the late 70’s/early 80’s through this and many European (i.e. bootleg) rockabilly compilation LPs. Fanzines like Kicks, which later morphed into Norton Records and Kicks Books were the first in America to dig deep and write about The Phantom.

As usual, rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form is always discovered 50 years too late by those who wish to use the music to sell stuff. I got an email requesting the cover of the “Love Me” single last week from a music supervisor working for an advertising agency. He couldn’t tell me who, but “Love Me” by The Phantom was going to be used in a huge ad campaign and they needed the artwork for the iTunes download that they will be making available in conjunction with the ad. It was just announced that the song would be used in the latest Southern Comfort campaign. More money will be earned, hopefully by a family member of Lott’s (though I highly doubt it), by the use of this song in this ad than Jerry Lott probably made in his entire music career. It just seems odd the way they used it, like I’m watching TV with the sound down and listening to a record.

I think I need a drink.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Who was that masked man? ORION: The Man Who Would Be King

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
No one did ‘juvenile delinquent greaser Americana’ in the 50s and 60s quite like the Swiss
08:53 am


Karlheinz Weinberger

rebel youth
Classic American fashion is a beautiful medium. And while the original uniform of the teenage rock and roll dirtbag was a fairly austere, masculine style, it was as an export that the look exploded. British and Japanese rockabillies are the most obvious examples, but it’s the Swiss kids of Karlheinz Weinberger’s photography that really blow me away. The photos are from the 50s and early 60s, but I could see sporting the women’s looks today. Classic, surreal, and dangerous.

Fun fact: John Waters gives the forward for Weinberger’s coffee-table book, Rebel Youth—you can totally see some influence in Cry-Baby, no?
rebel youth
rebel youth
rebel youth
More Swiss greasers and rockabillies are the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Really Rosie: Rockabilly’s hidden treasure, Rosie Flores

For every one glossy guitar magazine’s Orianthi cover, rockabilly goddess Rosie Flores should be featured on ten.

Rockabilly singer-songwriter and guitarist Rosie Flores started out in the L.A. punk scene in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. She came from a Mexican-American family in San Antonio, Texas and started playing guitar at sixteen (“I thought I was really cool playing the guitar because no other chicks were doing it.”) having fallen in love with Jeff Beck. She played in an all-girl psychedelic country band, Penelope’s Children, as an acoustic solo performer, part of a duo, and several variations of Rosie and the (fill in the blank). Then she joined the all-female cowpunk/rockabilly band ¡The Screamin’ Sirens! with frontwoman Pleasant Gehman in L.A. in the early ‘80s. Members of the Sirens had brief cameos in The Vendetta and Reform School Girls and appeared in Runnin’ Kind.

Flores was part of the Americana roots music revival, with musicians like the Alvin brothers from The Blasters, X side project The Knitters, and Mike Ness from Social Distortion delving into original American country and folk music, acoustic instruments, and older recording techniques. It was musical fundamentalism, going back to the original sources. Flores, already an accomplished guitarist, started a rockabilly solo career in the mid-1980’s, releasing her first solo album in 1987. She has recorded with fellow rockabilly guitarist and singer Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin. Last year she released her thirteenth album, the magnificent Working Girl’s Guitar.

Despite the resurgence of female singers in country music throughout the ‘90s, Flores had little in common with performers like Shania Twain and Faith Hill.  She told No Depression in 1999:

I don’t want to say I complain, except to my close friends, but it does feel like the record industry has become more about how young and pretty you are than what you have to offer. Why does it have to be all about how you look? And I’m talking about the guys, too. To me, Lucinda Williams is one of the most gorgeous people I’ve ever seen. Her personality is so great; why can’t that be what she’s judged for? Why do people have to look like models?

Flores was inducted into her new hometown Austin’s Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Last year Venuszine named her one of the Top 75 Best Female Guitarists of All Time.

Rosie playing at NAMM 2008 in Anaheim, California, celebrating 65 years of Fender guitars, below:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Jet black leather machine: the wild wild world of Vince Taylor
10:32 pm

Pop Culture

Vince Taylor

I first discovered Brit rockabilly wildman Vince Taylor when I saw him and his band in some French Scopitones. I was blown away by his over-the-top stage moves and fetishy black leather outfit. The cat was ultra-cool in a synthetic sort of way, a simulacrum composed of bits and pieces of Elvis, Gene Vincent and interstellar tonup boy. Vince had a string of hits and was a mega-star in France. But, LSD, alcohol, and being absolutely convinced he was Jesus, brought Taylor’s musical life to a loopy end.

Vince Taylor may have lost it (or found IT), but before he flamed out he managed to record two of the best rockabilly songs ever recorded, Jet Black Machine and Brand New Cadillac (later covered by The Clash). He was the inspiration for David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona and provided the fashion proto-type for Elvis circa 1968. He opened for the Rolling Stones, copped his first hit of acid at a party for Bob Dylan and slept with Brigitte Bardot. Morrissey used footage of Taylor dancing as a visual backdrop during his 2007 tour.

Vince’s moment of fame may have been brief but it was action-packed and he left an indelible jet black impression.

In this fascinating BBC documentary, Taylor’s story is told by his former drummer (the wonderfully animated Bobbie Clarke), David Bowie and people who helped guide his brief but amazing career. Enjoy.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment