Rev up your hot rod, Rev. Horton Heat is back
Unless you're from Dallas, Reverend Horton Heat isn't from your hometown. But there was a time when a dozen cities might have mistakenly thought frontman Jim Heath and his trio were a local band. At its peak, the band would play 275 shows a year, which meant hitting many markets several times.
In recent years the psychobilly band has scaled things down to "only" 120 shows a year. Part of the cut was Heath and other band members wanting to spend time with their families, but part of it was the band didn't want to get mistaken for locals in every city.
"We were playing so much that people started taking us for granted," Heath said during a phone interview. "To this day I'll run into people in cities who ask where I live in the area and when I tell them Dallas they say 'Oh, I thought you were a local band.'"
Last year Reverend Horton Heat released its 11th album, "Rev." a return to a rockabilly/psychobilly focus following the more country western flavored "Laughin' & Cryin' with Reverend Horton Heat." Those are the only two albums Heat has released since 2005. Heath said that's partly due to to the diminished album sales every act has experienced.
But Heath said that as his band's discography has expanded it gets tougher to work the new songs into live shows, and fans are sometimes slow to embrace them. Everyone wants to hear "Psychobilly Freakout" and "400 Bucks," but newer material needs some time to grow on fans.
"For so long we were on a schedule of a new album every two years, and it just seemed like we go to a point where we were pissing fans off more than having them accept a new album, so we decided to hold back a little bit," Heath said.
Despite the diminished recording in recent years, Reverend Horton Heat hasn't been without a record label in the last 25 years. Oftentimes they've been the odd man out on their label, like when they were signed to Sub Pop alongside acts like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Currently they call Victory Records home, which is known for more metal and hard rock.
Reverend Horton Heat has always found a way to fit in, despite the musical differences.
"We have morphed from night to night for our whole career," Heath said. "In the early days, even though our stomping grounds were a lot of punk clubs, we would go to a country venue one night and a blues places the next. Or a restaurant, wherever they'd pay us, we'd play. We wouldn't do a completely different set, but we would reform ourselves to be a little more country. To this day we mostly play country western places in Texas."
And they'll keep playing. When asked what his plans are when the current tour is done, Heath kept it short and simple.
"When we're done touring, we're going to go on tour. That's what we do."
Reverend Horton Heat
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Wooly's, 504 E. Locust St.
Cost: $18 in advance, $20 at the door