WRITE YOUR OWN REVIEW
Originally released in 1996 on Tar Hut Records, this
is the album that introduced the world to Angry Johnny & The Killbillies,
America's greatest BLOODGRASS band!
STEREO REVIEW 1997
Calling all stalkers, serial killers, and fans of the musically different:
Have I got a record for you! From its cover drawing of a disintered stitched-up
Hank Williams to its rude, crude subject matter and delivery. Angry Johnny
and The Killbillies' "Hankenstein" is not your basic country-punk
effort. A sort of theme album, it explores every self-destructive, sadistic,
and masochistic act and thought, all because of one tragic event: Johnny's
girlfriend dumped him. And yes, he's angry. So angry that in the opening
song, Life,Love, Death and the Meter Man, he slices and dices the guy
from the electric company, mistaking him for his ex's new lover. Wether
you consider this parody (and I'm assured that Johnny is the real deal,
that all this comes straight from his twisted heart) or just stuff designed
to make Jesse Helms fall to his knees, it's well done. Written with humor
aand aplomb, the material staggers between country, blues, and garage
rock. It;ll sure hold your attention. And it's got the best chainsaw effects
of any record in recent memory. A.N.
MAGNET, July/August 1997
Legend has it that at one Angry Johnny gig, during a song's pause, a befuddled
concert goer remarked, "He really is angry, isn't he?" However,
thanks to the cover painting of Hank Williams crossed with Frankenstein
(Hankenstein - get it?) and a generally scary-on-the-surface demeanor,
Angry Johnny and the boys have occasionally been branded as something
of a novelty act. I don't buy it; Angry storytelling, often painfully
told in a Waits-esque croak, is way too vivid to be so cavalierly dismissed.
Has he really lived tales such as "Life, Love, Death and the Meter
Man" ("so he fired up that chainsaw and he laid that sucker
low") and "Brand New Girl" ("I'm gonna skin you alive/And
make a suit of your hide")? Certainly not, but his heartfelt brand
of traditional country/inspirational rock surely rings true. Hankenstein
may not be everyone's plate of roadkill, but if you listen to it and see
this band play, you shouldn't be scared shitless so much as bowled over
by Angry's integrity and intensity. If not, perhaps he's got a chainsaw
with your name on it. -- Matt Hickey
OPTION, January-February 1997
ANGRY JOHNNY & THE KILLBILLIES "Hankenstein"
The caricature on the front cover depicts a big-Stetsoned, rotting-green,
stitched-up Hand Sr.; talk about wearing one's influences on the sleeve.
Although the less said of the grotesque, lawsuit-beckoning inside photo
(let's just say it would make Ed Gein proud) the better. So if you'll
be expecting a sleazy, hoisting-many-pitchers, roots-rock twang and drang
set, you'll be rewarded. This Boston combo kicks things off with a tender
tale of chainsaw dismemberment on the Pogues-like "Life, Love, Death
And The Meter Man." From there they take you through yet more tales
of life (a catchy harmonica-fed pop sing-along called "Racing The
Train" that brings to mind the Jacobites), love ( a Social Distortionesque
"Big Bang", death (the hair-raising acoustic rocker "Mr.
Undertaker") and more dismemberment ("Brand New Girl,"
bearing sweet lyrics like "I'm gonna skin you alive and make a suit
out of your hide"). The final track is the kind of thing Charlie
Daniels would've written if he'd grown up listening to the Gun Club instead
of Bill Monroe: "Drag Racing The Devil," with its Eldorado-versus-VW
Microbus soul-duel motif, fuzz guitars and train-a-comin' beat, is just
about perfect. -- Fred Mills