Posted by:on June 13th, 2000
Rolling Stone passed judgement on “Whatcha Gonna Do Honky?” in a recent issue, but seeing as how Britney Spears was on the freaking cover for christ’s sake, this is the re-trial. Speaking of kangaroo courts, when’s the last time Rolling Stone had it’s finger on the pulse of anything that wasn’t already dead on arrival?
Exhibit one: Eric J. is indeed a honky who is trying to talk ghetto like on “I Wanna Be on Welfare.” Objection Your Honor! When Eric J. says “I can’t afford to eat unless the whole damned band is on welfare,” he speaks from experience. He grew up in a southern Illinois family with over 8 (adopted) kids. School lunches rejected by state programs make a kid grow up hungry.
Exhibit Two: “Richard Croissant mimics Johnny Thunders protopunk guitar down to the opiated solos.” Mimic schmimmic. Objection! Steve Jones was one of the biggest Thunders would-be imitators to make his own mark. Whether or not Croissant mimics has nothing to do with the end results. The moments of deja-vu work well within the overall scheme of things. The boy is a juke box hero.
Rather than refute every claim made by the district attorney, it’s in the defense’s best interest to skip to closing arguments. “Whatcha Gonna Do Honky?” is the first release for Honky Toast, and like many first efforts, it has it’s rough spots. Honky Toast has got a slight learning curve. It’s a major label release, and it suffers from overproduction to be sure. It’s super clean where a little more grit would definitely have helped. If you’re not familiar with the main players, it could be a tough one to swallow. There is “attitude” here that at times can seem a bit forced. WYGDH? starts out a little silly, but when it crawls out of the swamp it’s here to stay. “Shakin’ and a Bakin'” is the first single that is being pushed towards the hard rock stations. “Free as a Bird” seems like it could easily be the next MTV shove-it-down-your-throat clip. It’s the most pop/accessible song on the album, but the way the decision making powers at MTV work is Dog’s own little mystery, so who knows. The press has made AC/DC comparisons, but let’s not be hasty. The Heartbreakers meet old Aerosmith. The subject matter on some of the songs may seem a bit cliche, but suffice it to say that it’s all from experience, and not from severe Keith Richards hero worship. Many of the tracks have existed for quite a while and have been reworked over time. “California” is a clever turn on a gut wrenching personal tragedy. Resist the urge to view Honky Toast as a cartoon band by playing it a couple of times before passing judgement. A reviewer once wrote “The Ramones don’t waste their time, they waste yours.” The same kind of people who passed on the Heartbreakers or didn’t get the Ramones are likely to be the same ones that won’t give Honky Toast a chance.
Whatcha Gonna Do Honky?: B
Online Action: honkytoast.com
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