About Reverend Horton Heat
The Reverend Horton Heat is the stage name of American musician Jim Heath as well as the name of his Dallas, Texas-based psychobilly trio. Heath is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. A Prick magazine reviewer called Heath the "godfather of modern rockabilly and psychobilly".
The group formed in 1986, playing its first gigs in Dallas's Deep Ellum neighborhood. Its current members are Jim "Reverend Horton" Heath on guitar and lead vocals and Jimbo Wallace on the upright bass. The band signed to Victory Records on November 27, 2012, and released its 12th studio album, Whole New Life, on December 4, 2018.
The band describes itself as rock and roll that's influenced by 1950s country, surf, punk, big band, swing, and rockabilly standards. The band mixes these influences into loud, energetic songs with often-humorous lyrics. Video games, cartoons and commercials have used the band's songs, giving the Reverend Horton Heat mainstream exposure.
Heath's first band was 50s cover group called "Chantilly" featuring David McNair, C.A. Flores, David Flores and Sara Flores. However, Heath was more into blues and not really good enough to be in the band and was kicked out. So Heath went to practicing. Within a year, Heath played in a cover band called Southern Comfort with friends from W.B. Ray High School, David McNair, Jeff Nolte, Sam Reid, Steve Hall, before attending the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 1977. At UT, he often entertained friends and dormmates and was often found playing in the stairwells at Moore-Hill Dormitory late into the night. Heath left school in the spring to join up with a touring cover band by the name of Sweetbriar. Three years later, former dormmate David Livingston, now in his senior year of school and at home visiting family, saw a familiar face on stage and reunited with Heath.
Livingston told Heath stories of the punk music scene in Austin and the acts playing at venues such as Raul's and Club Foot. Once, while home on another visit, Livingston took Heath to a Dallas rock and roll venue, The Bijou, to see an act called The Cramps. After the show, a brawl between punks and rockers broke out in the parking lot. While Heath and Livingston escaped any involvement in the scuffle, Heath later claimed to have had an epiphany on that evening saying, "I didn't know anything about the Cramps. I thought it would be a punk rock show, and it was, except that they played "The Way I Walk" by Jack Scott and "Surfin' Bird" and I realized that the roots rock and rockabilly that I had grown up with was able to cross over into the punk thing. It gave me ideas." Always a fan of 50s, blues and honky tonk, Heath returned the favor by taking Livingston and his wife to see The Blasters in Dallas at the Hot Klub. Livingston would later manage the band and co-wrote, with Heath, the song "Liquor, Beer and Wine".
Heath had married a former bandmate from Sweetbriar, Jenny Turner, and together they had a child, Kendall; they decided that the rock-and-roll lifestyle was over and that it was time to have normal adult jobs. But in 1982, Ted Roddy and Heath started a mainly rockabilly group called Teddy and the Talltops with Phil Bennison aka "Homer Henderson" on bass and Jas Stephens on drums. Heath also moonlighted on some gigs with "The Hot House Tomato Boys" from Fayetteville, Arkansas. The band also included long time friend Tim Alexander.
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