MAD TRUCKER GONE MAD – Born to be a Trucker
(2009 Crustacean Records)
Mad Trucker Gone Mad’s longevity is somewhat surprising. The psychobilly band always seemed on the verge of spontaneously combusting during their incendiary shows back in the days of O’Cayz Corral, yet they accounted for many of Crustacean Records’ initial releases. Their first seven years as a band were a “Behind the Music” worthy blur of lineup changes, substance abuse and infighting. When they flamed out in 2001, the surprising thing wasn’t that they broke up, but that they made it as long as they did. The band re-formed in 2005 with frontman Isaac Schulze (aka Del Monte Carlo) backed by the former American Death rhythm section, drummer Dave Muehlbauer (5 Card Jack) and bassist Chris Langkamp (the Legendary Billy Gas, also Crustacean’s founder and co-owner). Their new release, Born to be a Trucker, which comes ten years after their debut, finds them still getting drunk and raising hell.
There’s no shortage of liquor-soaked lyrics on Born; nearly half of the record’s ten tracks reference alcohol in the title: “Boxa’ Wine,” “Drink Till I Die,” “Drunken Soul.” Unsurprisingly, the same number of tracks wouldn’t get past the FCC. “Drink Till I Die” is an especially unnerving display of alcohol abuse. It doesn’t get any more self-explanatory, or self-abusive, than, “I just keep drinking and I don’t know why, tonight is the night that I drink till I die.” Yikes. Effectively a part two, the next track, “Drunken Soul,” poses that timeless question, “When a drunk man dies where does he go, is it way up in the sky or down below?” And follows it up with this wisdom, “Some people say it’s a sin to live your life drinking whiskey, wine and gin, don’t ask me I’m too drunk to know, bartender pour me one more.” Hmm, maybe someone should consider an intervention.
I can tell you right now that “someone” won’t be me, because when they aren’t drunk, they’re angry. “Land of the Fee” is a rant against payday loans, second mortgages and the American way of overextending your credit. Sure Schulze laughs at his pun, but it’s an evil, evil laugh. Pretty much all you need to know about “OFS … Ain’t Life a Bitch” is that the acronym stands for “Oh Fucking Shit.” The closest they get to a tender moment is “That’s That,” with its matter-of-fact chorus of “I want you, you want me, and that’s that,” while the title track is as much a mission statement as it is a song. The final track, “The Legend of Billy Gas,” a bizarre amalgamation of “Juke Box Hero” and “Phantom 309,” tells the barstool myth of “how a little blond nurse with some hot bass licks brought him from damned to blessed.”
Sure it’s all a little over the top, but the Pat Moriarity cover art of a trucker flipping off the world should have told you that even before you put the disc in your CD player. Essentially Mad Trucker Gone Mad is the Reverend Horton Heat without a theology degree. If you’re looking for something other than a pedal-to-the-metal road race to hell and back, you should put Born to be a Trucker back on the shelf.