Howdy Cats and Kittens,
It’s me again. The Reverend Horton Heat. I love what I do, but it has it’s downsides. I used to love going out. When I was single, I went out almost every night of the week. It was a lot of fun. I remember walking into my favorite bars and everyone saying, “Hey Rev!” I would say back, “How’s it going?” The fun would start. Lots of laughs. Cute girls, funny guys and maybe a game of pool or thirty. Even after I wasn’t single, me and my wonderful girlfriend (who is now my wife) used to get in on some of the coolest events as well as just hanging out with a few friends and having some drinks.
Reverend Horton Heat was popular in a regional sort of way. We did very well in ticket sales nationally, but, we were still the underdogs. Everyone seemed interested in where we were touring and I was interested in their lives as well. What a time! What stories!
Then, slowly, as time went on, though the cool, nice and funny people were still there, creeping into the picture came the meanness. People who, for reasons I’ll speculate on later in this article, feel like they have to say something mean to me.
You know, if these people had always been there, I’d would probably be used to it. However, I remember all of those great years that people didn’t say mean stuff to me, so it’s something very noticeable now.
Don’t get me wrong. People who know me know that I’m not the type of person who has to have people fawn over me and tell me what a rock star I am. Just the opposite. I’m the working guy who managed to do this music thing. I’m proud of it, but, it’s embarrassing to me to have people kissing my ass. I just want be there with my friends and watch great bands. Sure, it’s nice that someone cares about Reverend Horton Heat – RHH is what I do. And it’s nice to go into a place where they take care of my girl and I. I appreciate all of that. But, beyond that, I want to be a regular nice guy.
However, whenever I go out now, without fail, someone has to start in with me. Insults. I could elaborate on some of the insults that I get when I go out, but honestly, I try to forget them. I can let those insults “roll off of my back”, but, sometimes, I just have to say something back. Sometimes, it verges on a fist-to-cuffs.
Fighting is not for me. I learned long ago that a simple bar room brawl can end my career. A career that not only feeds my family, but is the very make-up of my soul.
I live to play guitar. One little broken finger and that’s it for my art, my family and my responsibility to the careers of the people that have so selflessly worked with me.
The idiots who try to get me to fight don’t have nearly all of those wonderful things as well as responsibilities. They’re just little twits who are so poor emotionally, so child like in their irresponsibility, and so meaningless to the world in general that getting Reverend Horton Heat to fight them could be the best thing that ever happens to them. They can take the little pussy approach and sue me if they get their ass kicked, or, strut around the bar like a champion if they kick mine – though everyone will think they’re an even bigger idiot.
The mental midgets that try to start fights with me think they’re tough guys, but there is always someone else who can whip them. Maybe not me, but, my point is this – all tough guys are losers. There’s not one of them who can kick anybody’s ass. There’s always someone tougher. Why should I risk anything on those pussy losers. By the way, if you actually can kick anyone’s ass, but you ignore your responsibility to society, or ignore your family and/or your children, you are the biggest pussy of all and not a real man.
Anyway, if I take the fighting thing out of the picture, it just leaves the insults. I would glorify some of the idiotic statements that people have made to me, but…OK… here goes.
Once, after a show where the indoor temperature was over 100 degrees at least, I was drenched in sweat. I walked out of the back of the venue where there were two fats girls standing. (I wouldn’t have mentioned the fat part except for what they said).
They seemed nice enough at first, saying that they enjoyed the show. But, they got a little testy when I started saying that, since I was drenched in sweat that I wanted to go to the bus and get dry. They started to change. They started to get mean. The fattest one said, “Why do you sweat so much, you’re really not doing much of anything!” See what I’m saying? I was just trying to be nice and grateful or I wouldn’t have stopped at all. I was still nice enough not to say something back like, “It’s obvious by how fat you are that you have a lot of experience doing not much of anything except feeding your fat face.” But, as politely as I could, I let it slide and headed for the bus.
This is a very, very mild example. A lot of people are pretending to say something nice to me because they want something. They want their band to open up for us. They want to give us their CD. Or, literally anything. They want to sell us insurance. They want us to come to where they work so they can show us off like show and tell day at school.
They want to “just” hang out – meaning that they want something more than hanging out, but since they’re afraid that I may guess they want something, they clarify that they “just” want to hang out with me. The truth is they want to hang out with me and tell me about their brother’s band – or get me to do something for them.
I don’t mind all of that. It’s just that when I can’t hang out, a lot of people turn on a dime and get really mean.
It happens when we just go out for a night of fun too. But why? Really, really why?
I think it’s jealousy. I know that may sound pompous of me, but, I remember what it was like before the jealousy. When Rev. Horton Heat was popular but still the underdogs, this wasn’t happening as often and back then I was going out way more (all the time).
Then, as time went on, I noticed that just about every time I went out, someone started with the insults. Then, I noticed that, in between the good old nice people that I remembered, I was getting more and more into conversations that were geared toward insulting me.
Stuff like, “Well, I’ve never been a fan of yours!” Like I care. If your not a fan, fine. If I am a fan of somebody, I’ll tell them maybe, but, if I am not a fan of someone, I realize that telling them so is an insult.
So, what bothers me is not that you’re not a fan, it’s that for some reason (probably since I’m more famous now and have more fans) you feel the need to not treat me like a normal human being. To knock me off of my pedestal. (By the way, I don’t put myself on a pedestal, you shouldn’t either.)
Would you tell your mother that she’s looking way older now? Would you tell the bartender that the way he makes Martini’s isn’t near as good as the guy at blah-blah-blah? No. Why? Because it’s normal human decorum to not say anything at all. Just don’t buy his Martini’s. Or, just please tell your mother she’s still pretty.
The real reason for the insults is jealousy. Either they’re jealous because they’re trying to pretend that their local band of Rev. Horton Heat influenced wannabes are actually rock stars or they themselves are this, that, or the other.
Also, FYI, to us musicians (not just me), you really put yourself in an un-flattering light if your going to play music critic. Did you know that for the first almost decade of this band, every interview that I did with a music critic/writer (so-called experts) started off with the writer asking me, “So what is rockabilly?” Now they all feel they are in a position to tell me what rockabilly is. I’ve out-lasted a lot of those music critic/experts. What I’m getting at is that music critics are, for the large part, wannabes themselves. Trying to rise into their category is really like saying to me, “I’m pretending I’m not a complete idiot…which I am.”
All of this is why, as time went on, I had to limit going out more and more. I just didn’t enjoy getting insulted by wannabes and people picking fights with me. Ignoring these people or standing my ground just made matters worse. Like I said, I remember the good times, so, I can see the jealousy now.
I still go out, but, unfortunately, I enjoy it less now. The insults and the constant battle to avoid fights is the main reason, but I’ve got some other reasons that will be for another article. Those reasons are more about how sound men have ruined rock-and-roll.
I also want to clarify that, on very rare occasions, I’ll go out to see a band or out to dinner or drinks and the people just treat me like I’m a regular guy who deserves the normal considerations that they would give to any human being. I’m flattered if your a fan, but, be nice even if you’re not. Treat me like any human being and you may find out what a sincere person a sometimes sarcastic, crazy guy likes me can actually be. Even if you’re not a Rev. Horton Heat fan.
By the way, on gigs, after the show, I’ve discovered that instead of “just hanging out” with a few people, it’s better to play a long show for all of the people.
Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath