releases albums — nine of them since 1992, including a holiday effort, “We Three Kings,” in 2005. But group leader James C. Heath says that’s far from the most important thing the Texas trio does.
“I don’t think that being a recording artist is as valid an art from as being a musician and playing live,” Heath explains. “I think that making an album is not really an art form; it’s more like making an advertisement. It’s the means to an end — the end being a performance to entertain people and make people feel good.”
There’s no question Heath and his bandmates have been doing that since launching the band in Corpus Christi and fusing rockabilly, blues and punk influences into a cheerfully unhinged style dubbed psychobilly. It’s as edgy as it is entertaining, and Heath’s choice of producers over the years — including Ministry’s Al Jourgensen and members of the Butthole Surfers — indicates just how out there the band is willing to go.
However, Heath no longer feels he has to take the group into the recording studio with any regularity.
“We were releasing an album every two years, which kinda got to be a little bit of a hamster wheel,” he says. “Every two years, to go into a sterile environment for 10 days and kick out a new album to just have something a little different ... that stopped making sense.”
So even though he is writing new songs, Heath says his new philosophy is “to get off that cycle and just write and play music and not really worry about it. I mean, OK, (recording) is an art form, but it’s just not as valid as being a musician. I’d rather just get out and play.”
Reverend Horton Heat, the Tossers and Murder By Death perform Saturday and Sunday (March 10 and 11) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www. majesticdetroit.com.