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A brief chat with Reverend Horton Heat


Rockabilly-punk vets the Reverend Horton Heat plays Riot Fest this year, so we chatted with the Reverend himself, Jim Heath.R

Yellow Scene: REV came out last January – is there any sign of a follow-up?

Jim Heath: I’m working at it, but it’s very challenging. We play so many gigs that it’s just so hard to get in the studio and kick stuff out. I’d really like to do that. I think I like it more now than I did when I was younger. At the same time, I’m enjoying playing gigs more than I did when I was younger. I’m in my studio right now, a little stinky place – I’ve got a little project. When I was younger, it was a lot of fun to play gigs of course, and we played a lot of them, but there was always that pressure. Like, we’d better get this crowd going or the club owner will never have us back. All that stuff. The pressure is really off as far as that, and for me it’s been way more liberating musically. I just want to go out there and kick ass every night and not even worry about anything, just have a good time and encourage the people to have a good time. It’s really all good. I play better – I’m more relaxed and all that stuff.

YS: Do you still enjoy playing festivals like Riot Fest?

JH: Oh yeah. The festivals. That’s another thing – the festivals didn’t come around so much when the band was really young. We had some big one, some good ones, and that was nerve-wracking. Now, we can do festivals like they’re nothing, as far as the nerve issue. I want to smile, kick ass on guitar, I want my band to shine, and I want the people to have fun. It’s just way more fun now than it was. The one thing I don’t like now is the travel. That got really like it’s gonna make me crazy. But it’s what you gotta do.

YS: Do you like playing Colorado?

JH: Yes, Colorado is very beautiful. I love the Rocky Mountains. The music scene in Denver is really special. It’s gonna be a cool Riot Fest for us this time.

YS: What can we expect from the set?

JH: I dunno, maybe sacrificial lambs, go-go dancers – no, it’s just gonna be the three of us ripping it out, having a good time. Standing on the bass, throwing the bass in the air – having a good time in general. Quite a few songs off our newest album are making the set. We still have to go back and play old songs. The people pay to hear us play certain songs, they want to hear them, so we do that.

YS: When Riot Fest is over, what’s next?

JH: Well, I’ve got two festivals that I’m partners in. One of them’s called Horton’s Hayride. That is on August 22 in San Pedro, California. I’ve got another one, a tattoo and music festival, I’m doing with Oliver Peck, a famous tattoo artist. That going to be in Dallas around November, Friday 13. We’re doing Ink N Iron in Nashville too. I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed. We’re doing a tour with an old punk rock band called the Adicts. They have a funny stage show. They dress up like Clockwork Orange. They have good songs too. They really make a mess of the place, so it’s pretty cool. That’ll be fun.

Reverend Horton Heat plays Denver Riot Fest; August 28-30; riotfest.org/denver.


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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