Everyone our age (under 40) has to have a soft spot for Spaghetti Westerns.
When I was a kid, I don’t think I let a single lazy summer Saturday afternoon pass without tuning into A Fistful of Dollars or The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly or some other Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood shoot-’em-up. Not like we had a choice, though, right? Was there ever a sunny day when Clint was not squinting back at us from the tube? (Other B-flicks that seemed to be on all the time in the ’70s were The Frogs, Duel, Hell House, Deliverance, and the unforgettable Nazi-zombies fright Shock Waves. Sweeeeet.) Our nostalgia for Sergio’s precise and mostly inaccurate replications of the Old West is manifest mightily in the stuff that we watch, wear, and read today. Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino deserve a majority of the credit/blame for the resurgence. But film is an easy medium for capturing yesteryear.
Something as metaphorical as music, though, doesn’t lend itself too well to conjuring the past, specifically an era like the Old West, which seems to be largely defined by its strong, unmistakable imagery (cowboys, Indians, guns, gunplay, ramshackle storefronts, tumbleweeds, horses, etc.). Give Ghoultown props then for being able to serve up Mercyful Fate-meets-From Dusk ’Til Dawn. The semi-local band (some members are from Bedford) has been doing its self-described “hellbilly” rock ’n’ roll for almost 10 years but still seems to be an underground phenomenon here. That’s probably because, like a lot of other bands that call Fort Worth home but have fans well beyond the city limits, Ghoultown doesn’t rely solely on constant gigging and CD sales to survive. (They probably also don’t want or need to.) Their music has popped up in a bunch of flicks, mostly of the horror variety, but still: Any band that knows its audience and also has a unique style is going to do well.
As for the music, “hellbilly” doesn’t really do it justice. While there are indeed elements of high-octane slappin’ and pickin’, the tuneage also attempts bits of thrash, mariachi, good ol’ fashioned monster-rock, Tijuana brass, and surf guitar. In the end, the Ghoulies always end up sounding — and looking — like themselves and nobody else. All of the band-members — singer/guitarist Count Lyle, guitarist Jake Middlefinger, singer/guitarist Lizard Lazario, bassist and backup singer Santi, drummer Dalton Black, and trumpeter Randy Grimm — dress like Satanic zombie cowboys: black boots, jeans, shirts, and 10-gallon lids. (Count Lyle also typically sports a vest of bullets.) Check ’em out for yourself this Friday at The Wreck Room (3208 W. 7th St., FW; 817-348-8303), when they celebrate the release of their new seven-song album, Bury Them Deep (Zoviet Records). For more, visit MySpace.com/Ghoultown or Ghoultown.com.
… Another show you’d do well to catch is Spoonfed Tribe on Saturday at the Ridglea Theater (6025 Camp Bowie Blvd., FW; 817-738-9500). A few guests will join the spacey funk-rockers, including The Feds and Tribe guitarist Sho’ Nuff’s new side project, The End of the World Parade, a type of performance-art drum circle whose stage will be, well, the entire Ridglea Theater. For more, visit MySpace.com/SpoonfedTribe or SpoonfedTribe.com.
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