Sing praise for the unholy trinity |

Sing praise for the unholy trinity

Special to the DailyReverend Horton Heat doesn't just worship one god - his rockabilly encompasses punk, metal, surfer guitar and blasphemous gospel.

BRECKENRIDGE – Dearly beloved, we gather together for a revival – a revival led by none other than Reverend Horton Heat, the chosen one – chosen to spread the wildfire of rockabilly far and wide.The Reverend Horton Heat (Jim Heath) built his congregation of rockabilly worshippers on a stage presence that can only be described as a spectacle.One of the main idols to resurrect from the revival of rockabilly in the 1990s, the Reverend lives by the commandment: “Thou shalt honor rockabilly by rocking the hell out of it.”He began his following in the late ’80s in Texas with an unholy trinity made up of Heath on vocals and guitar, Jimbo Wallace on bass and Patrick Bentley on drums. The trio became one body of red-hot rockin’ sound by merging punk and heavy metal aggression with the hop-a-long sounds of rockabilly and country.

Sub Pop Records signed the band in the early ’90s and released “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em” in 1991 and “The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat” in 1993. Suddenly, gutterpunks, skatekids, metalheads, rockabilly scenesters and guitar geeks genuflected to the Reverend’s good words.The albums caught Interscope Records’ attention, which led to the release of three albums. In the mid-90s, Scott Churilla replaced drummer Bentley. By the new millennium, rockabilly fervor remained high for a sizeable collection of the Reverend’s devotees. The trio spoke in country/boogie/swing tongues with its release of “Spend A Night in the Box.””Lucky 7,” released by Artemis in 2002, preached car tunes, party tunes, tales of rejection, instrumentals, and, in true reverend form, inspirational messages from the pulpit. The Daytona 500 race used its single, “Like a Rocket” for its 2002 race.

With the publicity, Heat signed with Yep Roc the following year and released “Revival,” along with a live DVD.Before Heath became a reverend of sorts, he was more like a little devil. He started out as a guitar-playing orphan, pool shark and an Eastern Juvenile Correction Facility inmate.His holy name came from a club owner in Deep Ellum, Texas, who used to call him “Horton-my-last-name-is-Heath.””This guy hired me, and right before the show he goes, ‘Your stage name should be Reverend Horton Heat,” Heath said in his biography. “‘Your music is like gospel’ – and I thought it was pretty ridiculous.

“So I’m up there playing, and after the first few songs, people are saying, ‘Yeah, Reverend!’ What’s really funny is that this guy gave up the bar business and actually became a preacher. Now he comes to our shows and says, ‘Jim, you really should drop this whole Reverend thing.'” But once religious fervor takes hold, it’s a sin to stop worshipping.Reverend Horton Heat plays at Sherpa & Yeti’s in Breckenridge Wednesday at 10 p.m. Tickets are $20.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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