Reverend Horton Heat (Jim Heath)Guitar, lead vocals
"Swingin'" Jack BartonBass1985-1989
Jimbo WallaceBass, backing vocals1989-
Patrick "Taz" BentleyDrums1989-1994
Formed in 1985, this Texas trio has recorded ten studio albums and one live album from 1990 through 2009. The group has sold about one million albums. Originally signed by the indie label Sub Pop, they later moved to Victory Records. The band can be described as some combination of Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Swing, Punk, Blues, Jazz, and even traditional Country.
In Reverend Horton's Songfacts interview he was asked if he was content with the Psychobilly label. "Not really, no. We're really not psychobilly," he replied. He added: "Artists don't want to be pigeonholed, but I would rather be pigeonholed into Rockabilly, because that was really my thing, just being a band that tried to be an ultimate '50's type of thing, which currently is what Psychobilly is."
Reverend Horton Heat has a passion for 1950s greaser memorabilia and nostalgia, including Flame-drenched hot rods and muscle cars, pinups, even button beanies. Think Jughead and Goober Pyle. He writes about his button beanies passion in his "Rant Update" on his website: "I have been obsessed with something for a while (20 years or more). As a fifties enthusiast, I'm always interested in things from that era. Something missing from the new retro explosion is the button beanie. To me, it's a cool retro look." Heat sports one with a RHH patch.
The name, or title if you will, Reverend Horton Heat, was placed on Jim Heath by a club owner. Heat had developed a style of "preaching" while on stage. Over time "The Rev" felt that might be compromising the band's real talent, diminishing their credibility. The preaching has been toned down, but, he has received requests to officiate weddings. All of which he declines.
Reverend Horton Heat has worked with Gretsch Guitars in the development of his signature guitar, the Gretsch 6120RHH hollow body electric guitar. In a video demonstration Heat made with Premier Guitars he explains he wanted a guitar with more stability and one that would allow for easier changing of strings. "The Rev" made another change in his gear, parting ways with his beloved 1978 Fender Super Reverb amplifier to a Gretsch Executive Combo. Not a move taken lightly for any accomplished musician. The Gretsch Executive Amps offered him more clarity in the higher notes.
Heat explained to Guitar Player magazine: "It doesn't matter what guitar you play, it's how you play it. It's what comes out of the heart."