The Reverend Horton Heat was the brainchild of Jim Heath, the name being originally his stage name and that of his Psychobilly Trio band, based in Dallas Texas. Jim Heath has been called the ‘Godfather of Modern Psychobilly and Rockabilly’. The band’s name was derived when one night Jim Heath had been goaded into getting up to play by one Russell Hobbs who while Jim was playing a rendering of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ howled and shouted continually ‘Go Reverend’. This decided Jim to form the band and as an ode to Johnny Horton decided on the name Reverend Horton Heat. The members of the group formed in 1985 are Jim ‘Reverend Horton’ Heath (guitar), Jimbo Wallace (double bass/upright bass) and Scot Churilla (drums). They describe themselves as ‘Country –fed Punkabilly’. Their music is a combination of Surf, Punk, Country, Rockabilly, Swing and Big Band, the lyrics are often hilarious, executed in an energetic and loud manner. The band has experienced triumph within the genre and even experienced success within the conventional USA music field of video games and commercials.
In 1989 Reverend Horton Heat’s Heath met and became friends with Charlie Ray (Charles F Reid Jnr.) and he became their manager/booking agent in that year. The band toured the West Coast and the Midwest constantly and soon everywhere that the band played they had sell-out performances. A bidding war developed between Seattle’s Sub Pop Records and Hollywood’s XXX Records. Barry Simons (Attorney) and Charlie Ray signed two records deals for the band and an option for three more with Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman and Bruce Pavitt. Their debut album was: ‘Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em’ and then came ‘The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat’. In 1992 Charlie Ray was fired and their new manager was appointed when Heath hired Scott Weiss as booking agent/manager, a capacity he still holds.
In 2012 the band signed up with Victory Records and their album ‘Rev’ was recorded and released in January 2014. YouTube released a single ‘Let Me Teach You How To Eat’ in November 2013. Various songs published were used in commercials for Buell American Motorcycles – ‘Psychobilly Freakout’, Film tracks such as Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground – ‘Baddest of the Bad’ and video games such as Guitar Hero II – ‘Psychobilly Freakout’ slightly altered version, Guitar Hero Smash Hits – ‘Psychobilly Freakout’ slightly altered version and Redneck Rampage – ‘Wiggle Stick’ and ‘Nuture my Pig!’, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 – ‘I Can’t Surf’, Motorstorm – ‘Big Red Rocket of Love’ and Hot Wheels Turbo Racing – ‘Pride of San Jacinto’. A slightly altered version of ‘Big Red Rocket of Love’ also featured in the Mazda Miata commercial.
Their album releases were: 1990 ‘Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em’ released by Sub Pop; 1993 ‘The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat’ released by Sub Pop; 1994 ‘Liquor in the Front’ released by Sub Pop/ Interscope Records; 1996 ‘It’s Martini Time’ released by Interscope Records; 1998 ‘Space Heater’ released by Interscope Records; 2000 ‘Spend a Night in the Box’ released by Time Bomb Recordings; 2002 ‘Lucky 7’released by Artemis Records; 2004 ‘Revival’ released by Yep Roc Records; 2005 ‘We Three Kings’ released by Yep Roc Records; 2009 ‘Laughin’ and Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat’ released by Yep Roc Records; 2014 ‘Rev’ released by Victory Records. Several Music Videos, DVD and Singles were also released.