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xmag.com : January 2003: The Reverend Horton Heat

Everything I know about the Reverend Horton Heat I learned from strippers. He seems to be universally adored by naked girls. Perhaps it's his devotion to Liquor, Beer and Wine, or maybe it's cuz he's as close as we're gonna get to Dean Martin. Or maybe it's cuz the Reverend Horton Heat puts on the greatest show on Earth! Anyway I always imagined a sorta Baptist revival tent guy in a western shirt with a bolo tie around his clerical collar, putting his hands on women's tits and telling them they'd be saved. By him. After the show. Then he'd suck long and hard on a bottle of whiskey and launch into another Cramps-y rock-a-billy song about fancier stuff like martinis. Two hours later he'd stage dive and pass out in mid-air.


Imagine my surprise when I found the Rev alone in bed in a fancy Denver hotel, wearing nothing but mustard-yellow boxers with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on 'em! He was struggling through a hangover haze but too cozy beneath the sheets to get up and mix himself a bloody mary from the wet bar. I got a little star struck and started right in with what for me passes as small talk.


VIVA: Have you ever been to Portland's titty bars?

Heat: Portland, Texas? Portland, Maine?

VIVA: OREGON! We have the most titty bars per capita here, worldwide!

Heat: Really? I thought Dallas did.

VIVA: No. We do. We have like fifty or sixty or...I have no idea, really. There's this chick downtown at Mary's Club named Meara. She dances almost exclusively to the Reverend Horton Heat, along with a little Dean Martin and the Clash and, uh, Danzig, and lots of other stuff, too. She's to die for. You have to see her! Ryan Adams said that being in Portland is like being in the movie Grease. It's all old cars and slick dudes and retro chicks and booze...it's a total Reverend Horton Heat town, man! It's like you christened it.

Heat: Well, we've had some really great shows there, Portland is one of our best cities. We love it. But I've never noticed that it was like the movie Grease.

VIVA: Well, when you're in town, I'm gonna make sure you see Mary's Club. It's very Grease-y. You gotta see this Meara chick! Now, for the ladies, please tell me What's Sexy. What's the sexiest thing you've done so far this morning?

Heat: Well, I scratched my balls.

VIVA: What's the sexiest thing about waking up in a hotel room?

Heat: Gosh, I can't think of anything.

VIVA: It's not the stranger lying next to you in bed?

Heat: [laughs] Well, I've had a few of those episodes before where I've woken up scared...I slept really late today. I guess I needed it.

VIVA: It's superluxe to do an interview from bed. Did you play last night?

Heat: Yeah. We're doing this tour that I've always wanted to do. Instead of going to all the major cities and playing just one big show and one set, I thought it'd be fun if we went for four days and played smaller clubs. I'm selling just as many or more tickets, but I'm here for four days and we have to change the set list every night. So we're having fun, you know, it's challenging. I was a little off on some of the songs last night because we had to work up thirty-five extra songs. That's a lot!

VIVA: That's insane. Is it true you play 150 shows a year?

Heat: I think we've been averaging 200 shows a year. We've had years where we play 250 to 275. That's what I do. My whole thing, my art form, is playing music, it's not being a recording artist. I like recording, it's fun to do, but it's not my main thing. I think so many musicians wrongly focus their career on being a recording artist, and that's a lot less valid of an art form than just being a musician.

VIVA: I suppose it's easier, though. Do you have a family? Or a girl? How do you do it? Are you a dad?

Heat: Oh, yeah, I'm a dad, I've got girls. It's great. That's the thing: I might be gone two hundred days out of the year, but the other hundred I'm just there the whole time.

VIVA: Are you actually a Reverend?

Heat: No no no. Not like the Universal Life Church or anything like that...What would that give me the power to do? Conduct marriages? Funerals? Those things are at the bottom of my list of things I want to do.

VIVA: What's the most rock-a-billy town you've ever been to?

Heat: L.A.

VIVA: What's the sexiest town?

Heat: Probably Las Vegas.

VIVA: Really? I've never been. What's the sexiest drink?

Heat: A vodka martini.

VIVA: What's the sexiest thing you've ever done onstage?

Heat: Well, back when we were smaller we used to do all sorts of antics...Play up on the bar, out on the dance floor, and there was some pretty silly stuff that happened when I did that.

VIVA: Like what? Did you sing with your face between a woman's butt cheeks like Johnny Legend?

Heat: Yeah, yeah, I've done stuff like that.

VIVA: What's the sexiest thing you've ever seen onstage?

Heat: There used to be this band in Dallas called Billy Goat, and they had this girl percussionist/singer, and she used to just get naked. Completely naked.

VIVA: And percuss? And sing?

Heat: Yeah, yeah! And then stage dive...she had fun. And she didn't ruin any clothing! I used to do this thing where I'd get down on my knees and I'd hump my guitar...I had this tremolo bar on my guitar and I was actually able to manipulate it with my crotch. It would go woo-ooo-woo-ooo-wooo-ooo...

VIVA: And why have you stopped?

Heat: Because I kept ruining my clothes! I'd wear the knees out of my pants. I guess I'd have to eighty-six the pants. That'd be pretty risqué, because I don't where any underwear onstage.

VIVA: What's the best titty bar in the country? Taking into consideration that you haven't been to any of ours...

Heat: Well, I used to have a lot of fun at this place called Star Garden in North Hollywood. It's a real dump. If that strip bar were in Texas, all the girls would be over forty and about thirty pounds overweight. But since it's in Hollywood, all the girls are just incredibly beautiful.

VIVA: What's the sexiest guitar you've ever played?

Heat: Well, I really like my '54 Gibson 175.

VIVA: Sexiest song of all time?

Heat: Oh gosh, that's a hard one. How about "In So Many Ways" by Brooke Benton. Or "Santa Baby!" The Eartha Kitt version. Della Rees, too, has a lot of really cool, sexy songs.

And "Why Don't You Do Right" by Peggy Lee. In fact, there's a girl that sings in Portland that's awesome. Her name is Erin and they call her Miss B. Haven. She's super sexy.

VIVA: Do you have a favorite Pretenders song?

Heat: I think "Middle of the Road" is super hot. That's a great, great rock-n-roll song.

VIVA: Favorite Stones' record?

Heat: Exile on Main Street.

VIVA: What's sexy about Texas?

Heat: We're really friendly.

VIVA: What's sexy about Colorado?

Heat: Colorado? I don't know... Snowboarding?

VIVA: I know, I always try to avoid Colorado. Finally, the old Cramps standard, what color panties are you wearing and how long have you been wearing them?

Heat: Well, they're kinda yellow--no, mustard--and they've got Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on them. A fat caricature of Rudolph. He looks really happy though. I'm really into funny boxer shorts. I used to have Ren and Stimpy ones. And of course the hearts. You gotta have the hearts. Dollar signs. Funny stuff. These Rudolph ones are great, because he's kinda fat. His nose is fatter, too. It's not a cute little red nose, it's kind of a big fat wide red nose.

VIVA: An alcoholic Rudolph! Now that's the Christmas spirit. Well, Reverend, I can't wait to take you to Mary's. It's my personal mission that you see this girl Meara.

Heat: The rockabilly chick? That's great. Does she have a dark tan?

VIVA: No, she's very fair. Redhead, natural tits, very curvy....

Heat: Good, good.

VIVA: Yeah, those big-titted supertan girls don't do it for me. They look like turkeys fresh outta the oven.

Heat: [laughing] I never thought of that.

VIVA: Yeah, well, I better strike that from the record. This is a stripper magazine, after all.





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