David Lee Beowülf
Mark my words: four bands are going to save rock and roll from a harsh extinction: REO Speedealer, Nashville Pussy, Snuka, and Zeke. First, we must consider why rock and roll would become extinct. Well, considering that the “alternative music” flooding the radios at present is so lame, unenergetic, and down-right boring, what makes new music relevant? If you’re in the vicinity of a good college radio station, you have a better than 50-50 chance of hearing the same crap they’re playing on the “top 40” stations. Therefore, why bother listening to new music? Let’s just keep listening to the same rock and roll bands we were listening to ten and twenty years ago! Hell, Mötörhead sounds just as crank now as it did then! Ditto: in ten years, they’ll still sound just as crank! Never mind that Lemmy will be pushing 70!
Thanks to the four bands I mentioned earlier, though, rock and roll has a chance to remain raw, crisp, violent, and able to capture the spirit of a rebellious, insane youth. Which is what we could use these days, everyone’s too serious and unhappy. Pick up a copy of the REO Speedealer debut on Royalty and see if you don’t want to smack some idiot upside the head for elevating someone like Tori Amos to the same level as the Ramones.
REO Speedealer, along with the others of their ilk, aren’t interested in breaking new ground or experimenting with new sounds, they’re more into breaking new heads to find out if all skulls sound the same when they’re split! Their music simply picks up where Mötörhead left off and meshes it with a bit of Texas craziness, and that’s what should be moving you lazy 15-year-old, schoolmate-murdering slackoffs! Listen to this!
This just in: REO Speedealer was prohibited from playing the Life Cafe in Greenwich Village — at their album release party on June 3! — for their apparent non-PC views!
REO SPEEDEALER RECORD RELEASE PARTY CANCELED IN REVERSE DISCRIMINATION INCIDENT
(NYC) – After performing a successful show at Squeezebox two weeks ago (in spite of a minor verbal scuffle with drag hostess Jackie Beat), Royalty Records artistes REO SPEEDEALER were set to star in a media-heavy show at LIFE on June 3rd, only to have the plug pulled less than a week before the gig, because promoter MICHAEL SCHMIDT claims that the use of the words “fag” and “nigger” were overheard in the band’s dressing room, by “extensions of himself”.
First, I must credit Drew Id with bringing REO Speedealer to my attention in 1996. He first saw the light. So, with that, let’s check out what Mike and Jeff, the band’s guitarists and vocalists, are up to before their show at New York City’s Continental. Mike and Jeff don’t have last names and it doesn’t really matter who said what, you figure it out for yourself!
Where’d you come up with the kick-ass name for your band?
James Balls came up with the name. He’s a little midget dude, four-foot eleven or five feet, and he came up with the name, he comes up with a lot of good band names. It’s a good and bad band name.
Have you been sued yet?
I can’t wait till they do so we can drop the REO. I’m counting down the days until they do. People either refer to us as Speedealer or `dealer but never REO.
Kevin Cronin’s going to knock on your door one day and scream in a gay falsetto `hey, you stole our name…’
He knows about us already.
Do they think it’s funny?
We’re not making money yet, so it’s a joke. Once we start making money, they’ll sue us.
He’d probably start crying if you threatened him with physical violence.
Yeah, but his lawyers would kick our asses.
What do you think of the great feedback you’ve received from people who like your music?
I think they’re stupid. The songs weren’t recorded too well.
Will you think the same way when this new CD comes out? [At the time of the interview (May 18) the album had not yet been released.]
I don’t know. I hope not.
Do any of the songs on your 1996 record show up on this new album?
Yeah, “Cocaine Dave,” which is about our singer who had to leave the band. He had a cocaine problem.
Did that have a lot of influence on the band?
Not really. I thought that was the best song, though.
I’m interested in “Götterdämmerung,” a song on the new album.
That’s from Nietzsche.
Are you Nietzsche fans?
Would he like your music?
It’s not very life-affirming.
Was Nietzsche life-affirming?
Well, he actually really was. `Coz we have to celebrate the right now; our music is pretty ugly.
Your music is ugly?
Wouldn’t you say so?
Well, I think there’s beauty in everything. When I first saw you at Coney Island High, I was impressed that you looked like a bunch of truck drivers who blasted your music out. That’s life-affirming.
I don’t think Zig Ziglier would think so.
I’m interested in “Götterdämerung,” what are the lyrics? I can’t really understand the growling and abusive yelling.
What it’s about I really can’t say because it would get someone close to me upset.
Who is “Pig Fucker” about?
It’s about the little guy who titled the band! It’s a long story. He had a party at his house and he drove a 1970 Toyota truck and flipped it over. Someone spray-painted “pig fucker” on his truck. He was naked, and drunk, people took pictures. This happened 5 years ago.
What about “Glitterbahn”?
That’s “waterpark” in German.
You have a song called “Crank Bait,” are you bass fishermen?
That’s more about little gutter-trash punk kids. It’s kinda like about a certain person I know who likes to pick up those little gutter punk girls.
Okaaaay… Since you’re from Texas, have you ever met Robert Tilton?
Mike or Jeff: My step-dad kicked his ass in the early ’70s, before he became what he is now. He was hitting on his girl.
Jeff or Mike: I met him in the Best Buy. He was buying home stereo shit. He’s in Oklahoma now. He can’t broadcast from Texas any more.
So, who writes the songs? Who writes the music?
Everyone writes the music. You just bring a riff in and we go. I might say, “here’s how it goes and…” You basically get a vocal pattern and you go with it, the lyrics are stupid. We’re not playing college mope-rock.
Are you trying to achieve a sound like an 18-wheeler driving down the highway?
Jeff or Mike: That’s what we like.
Mike or Jeff: I pretty much write the songs in the shower. I have no idea where they come from, stupid words…
Have you played Florida yet?
Florida sucks. We played somewhere in Pensacola, and at the Cow Haus at Tallahassee, with a Hare Krishna band. Harely Krishna, they’re insane. We had a good time, but Florida is a shitty state. It’s a big fuckin’ swamp. It’s New Jersey with heat!
Are your songs about violence?
Not at all. There’s no message; it’s just stupid music.
Ok… So what do you guys want to do when you grow up?
Well, I don’t know, were’ all like 28 years old and older. I learned out to play guitar in tenth grade from Richard Kmicicek. Hot Rod didn’t start playing bass until he was 24. We’ve pretty much pissed our lives away already.
How’s life on the road?
A lot of stupid shit. We’re staying wherever we can, we stayed with Snuka last night. We found a place on the floor next to their rabbits. We did a west coast tour with them recently.
What’s your set going to be like tonight?
Our set might be five minutes if there’s no one here, usually twenty-five to thirty minutes with a couple of breaks.
OK, so their set went exactly twenty-five minutes, but no breaks and everyone in the club was sweating like pigs in August! REO Speedealer are so great, so powerful, so insane… Yet, these dudes were all laid back, indifferent ex-truckers… Curious, isn’t it?