Reviews for Balls Out Inn...
Hey, whatchoo smokin'? Got enough for me?" asks Honky in "Love to Smoke Your Weed," the opening salvo on its new platter. Fact is, we should be asking them this question. The trio, fronted by erstwhile Butthole Surfer J.D. Pinkus, is like ZZ Top without the cool exterior, unable to restrain themselves from jackhammering every "tush" in sight. This manic, turgid energy is Honky's essence, the ethanol-and-Gold Bond Medicated Powder fuel behind some of the sickest power-trio jams this side of anywhere. Guitarist Bobby Landgraf is working overtime on his Les Paul as he cranks out sick, speedy and soulful licks and smoldering slide work over Pinkus and drummer Kenny Wagner's likewise wild (but tight, natch) rhythmic playground. How anyone can maintain such intensity and musicality is beyond comprehension--and when it's combined with Pinkus' demented, perverted party poetry it reaches realms that can only be reached by getting a bit of what they're smokin'.
Randy HarwardMarch/April 2006harpmagazine.com
Small Stone puts another tick in the "win" column with the latest release from Honky, a band that manages to excel in an especially overcrowded genre. Heavy rock bands playing the role of Southern gentlemen are about as hard to find these days as spilled beer in a bar, and as so many of these bands reach only for the broadest visual stereotypes and expend even less elbow grease on developing a sound and decent material, the form also has one of the lowest success ratios around.
And yet Honky succeeds wildly. For one thing, Honky is a true Texas band, which is not necessarily a prerequisite for success when playing Southern rock, but it sure helps, especially when the music you're playing is so uniquely Texan. By building upon the demented foundations laid by Texas weirdos ZZ Top (a far stranger band than you might realize) and hints of less obvious influences like art-punkers the Dicks and brothers-by-buggery the Butthole Surfers and tossing generous hunks of classic, less geographically-specific kick-ass like Sammy-era Montrose (see "Gittin' It," which sounds like it could've come from the first Montrose LP sessions) into the kettle along with the band's surprisingly canny songwriting knack, what results is the great album Raging Slab should've made, but never did.
Of the 13 songs, many will demand repeated plays and your prolonged attention, but some of my personal favorites include "Walkin' on Moonshine," a stumbling drunk with a hint of Butthole Surfers dementia and a perfectly incongruous fiddle solo, the Skynyrd-esque "Broken Days," and the title track, which features another dead-on Montrose-era Sammy Hagar vocal impersonation. Put 'em on a stage with American Dog and you can damn near guarantee the bar a night of record-high beer sales.
Brian VarneyDecember, 2005
Texan gritty banjo plucking rock and roll. That should sum it up pretty well. A division between ˘Raging Slab÷ and label mates ˘Five Horse Johnson÷. This review could end up here really. ItĂs one of those albums that while offering nothing exactly new, they bring stale bread and musty cheese to all rock starving devotees. An acquired taste. Long beards, cowboy hats; imagery tends to remind me of some other band right now but just canĂt place it. But worry not; all this is well placed on just about the right content, while the players are far from newcomers mind you as them beards can testify. ItĂs all in the crust you know.
J.D. Pinkus of Butthole Surfers fame is the main muso responsible but expecting any similarities to the afore-mentioned band is simply misleading. What should be high on your list is a fluid delivery and an honest sense of heads down purpose. A carefree urge to have boisterous fun should come in handy as well. Tracks like the rocking ˘TrespassinĂ÷, the instrumental ˘Plugs, Mugs and Jugs÷ and the country infused blues number that is ˘Walkin on Moonshine÷ are a pleasure to your stereo. And got to admit that ˘Undertaker÷ puts a, toothless maybe, smile on that face.
Only grudge is that Small Stone has got us pretty much spoiled with high calibre ground breaking releases (see Halfway to Gone/Lord Sterling/The Glasspack) pushing the envelope as far as our expectations. This one serves more like a back to basics offering in boogie what it misses in twists. Still a cold beer and a spliff will settle the score for some down town brawl. So all is forgiven. Better not to be missed out.
With the new album from Texas-based trio HONKY, Small Stone Records delivers new stuff for all fans of southern-flavoured, 70's-inspired heavy blues rock. Formed by ex-Butthole Surfer J.D. Pinkus this is HONKY's third album but the first for Small Stone, and the band makes a good figure between other Small Stone artists like Five Horse Johnson, Dixie Witch or Halfway To Gone. "Balls Out Inn" makes you wanna grab a cold beer, and some good green, while delicious Mexican food is laying on the grill and a pretty hot girl is sitting beside you. I guess, she would start to shake her ass and boobies when you put your balls out... ?hhhh, noooo.... let's get serious here, of course when you play "Balls Out Inn"! About humour - HONKY have a lot, and the nasty lyrics are belonging to the best I've heard in this genre for awhile. In opposite to other heavy southern rock bands, HONKY have a much heavier sound that is comparable to the first Mountain album, when Leslie West was in best shape. Another big influence here is ZZ Top, and HONKY do not only quote from the first three albums, but also from the newer ones, which are in my opinion way better than the horrible 80's stuff. Famous US-Hardrock giants like Aerosmith or Ted Nugent have also left their traces in the band's sound and the result is a highly entertaining album, that contains some real good tunes as, for example, the heavy groovin' "Trespassin'", or "Walkin' On Moonshine, a relaxed song with additional slide-guitar. "Broken Days" is heavy blues as its best, with additional female background vocals and a hammond B3 organ, while "White Knuckle Pass" sounds like an outtake from the first Gluecifer mini-album. These are four outstanding songs, and even if not every track is a winner, it's always a pleasure for me to listen to "Balls Out Inn", because it ROCKZ!!!
Klaus KleinowskNovember, 2005cosmiclava.de
THE CUTTING EDGE
Last time Honky was in town singer/bassist Jeff (J.D.) Pinkus got so drunk that when he tried to pick a fight on stage, he fell completely off ű and still kept playing. Yeah, gotta love a band like that! With a since of humor clearly on their sleeve, the Texas trio return with their fourth effort - first with Michigan-based Small Stone Records. Outside of what is certainly the best ˘erection÷ cover since the Cactus debut, Balls Out Inn takes the bandĂs Nugent-inspired riffage, strips it down to core basics and mixes in some serious southern heat. Seasoned drummer Kenny Wagner (Sixty Watt Shaman, Halfway To Gone) fuses with Pinkus in their quest for a dirty stoner grind while six-stringer Bobby Landgraf melts the whole thing down with one memorable lick after another. ˘TrespassinĂ÷, ˘Plugs, Mugs and Jugs÷ and ˘White Knuckle Pass÷ side with the Nashville Pussy crowd while ˘Love To Smoke Your Weed÷, ˘WalkinĂ On Moonshine÷ and ˘Good Pipe÷ pull in that certain sweat-soaked retro Š70s a la Black Oak Arkansas.
Adding the likes of Gordie Johnson for slide guitar texture fills in the gaps bringing the record an air of sophistication and heightens their established robust sound. Defiantly a leap from their Attacked By Lesbians days yet still keeping a hint of Joe Walsh in the guitar. Somehow our office CD player keeps making its way back to the killer ˘Undertaker÷ and ˘Looking Green÷ both embrace the riff as the songĂs center point and settle into a great set of trademark Honky lyrics. Mixing in the Hammond B3 and Leslie on ˘Broken Days÷ (courtesy of Ezra Reynolds) takes a simple road song with its slow country-bass and creates an FM standard equally as good as SkynyrdĂs Simple Man or ZZ TopĂs ˘WhiskeyĂn Mama÷. A favorite is the line ˘looks like this whiteboyĂs turning blue.÷ The addition of all the flavored bits including the soul-drenched backup singers makes Balls Out Inn easily HonkyĂs best effort to date.
Todd SmithIssue #62 - October, 2005thecutting-edge.net
With songs like ˘Love to Smoke Your Weed,÷ ˘Good Pipe,÷ WalkinĂ on Moonshine,÷ ˘Plugs, Mugs, and Jugs,÷ and ˘Buckle Bunny,÷ and, you know, the fact that the band is called Honky, for ChristĂs sake, you pretty much know what youĂre gittinĂ here. What you may not know, though, is that Honky is the creation of ex-Butthole Surfers bass player, J.D. Pinkus. Pinkus has always had the South on his side, and wrangles the best and worst of it here with Honky, trading in the SurferĂs psychonaught acid rock freak for a more whiskey flowinĂ, shit-kickinĂ good olĂ boy country rock freak. Balls Out Inn contains the right amount sweet slide, sour mash, and fuzzy rock to get you up and swinginĂ, and you could shout out names like ZZ Top, Allman Brothers, Ironboss, Lamont, Antler, Dixie Witch, or, you know, any white trash, blue collar, grass roots rock nĂ roll band and IĂd be cool with that. ThereĂs definitely a Big Sugar influence here as well, which isnĂt surprising considering Gordie Johnson appears on three tracks. Anyway, if you find yourself at cockfight at three in the morning or an out-of-the-way dive where the band plays behind a chain link fence and all the redneck, um, honkies in the joint are splitting barstools over each otherĂs heads, then you know Pinkus and his band arenĂt far off.
KenAugust 30th, 2005sleazegrinder.com
Brand new album from fucked up, Texan-uberpimps, blending scabby stoner grind and primal grooves to maxium effect.
Led by onetime Butthole Surfer Jeff Pinkus, Honky is the sonic culmination of all things Texan; think ZZ Top playing your favorite titty bar, think the Butthole Surfers wrecking big' ol cars in the desert, think the Rev. Horton Heat fucking up the blues.
On their first album for Detroit's Small Stone Records, called "Balls Out Inn" Honky is waiting for you to dig right in. From opener "Love To Smoke Your Weed", these Texan uberpimps go for the throat and don't let up. Their twisted take on scabby stoner rock grind will keep you in a stranglehold for the enitre album. Add to that the guest slide and acoustic guitars of Big Sugar's Gordie Johnson and Honky's leaving you messed up and worn out down in the Lone Star State after a good ol' shoot out! Hell yeah!!!
˘Balls Out Inn÷ is a striking introduction to this little Texas trio that could (not their first record, but first for Small Stone and first to these ears). This is the little Texas trio that could out rock most anything I have heard in a while. Guitarist/vocalist Bobby Ed Landgraf has enough shit-hot licks to make Billy Gibbons take notice and Stevie Ray turn a tad in his deadbox. Bassist/vocalist/producer Jeff Pinkus (ex BUTTHOLE SURFERS) conjures up enough evil low-end thunder from down under to put a spell on any and all of us four-stringed fools. Drummer Kenny Wagner plays all the right parts so perfectly that itĂs kinda scary. This record has the sound of a three guy band thanks in no small part to minimal guitar overdubbing (with a bassist like Pinkus there is not much of a need for that anyways). The vocals (or neckholes as these guys identify it) are definitely up to par with the riffs.
Make no doubt about it, this is high-energy stuff made by pro musicians. No amateur or barely intermediate indie idiots are using up any of the precious oxygen in the jam room that keeps HONKY members alive and alert. This is the real deal. The balls out opening cut ˘Love to Smoke Your Weed÷ is something I think most of us can relate to at one time or another. ˘GettingĂ It÷ and the title track remind me of early Hagar-era MONTROSE a tad. ˘TrespassinĂ ÷ totally pummels with a power hard to put into words. ˘Broken Days÷ is kind of on the ballad-like tip in a SKYNYRD sort of way. ˘Undertaker÷ and ˘LookinĂ Green÷ are like ˘Tejas÷ era ZZ Top on steroids hanginĂ with CLUTCH. ˘Plugs, Mugs and Jugs÷ is an instrumental that effortlessly pulverizes PELICAN in the first 20 seconds kinda like Mike Tyson did Larry Holmes in 1987. ˘I Like the Way You Have Fun÷ closes the proceedings with a footstompinĂ hoedown not unlike fellow Texans DOO RAG. Thirteen tunes that are all killer and no filler. Nice.
Death Metal DougmanAugust 9th, 2005peacedogman.com
Ladies and gentlemen, the fabulous Honky. Led by former Butthole Surfer Jeff Pinkus, this Austin-based power trio has been pulverizing eardrums and making inappropriate passes for nearly a decade now. As such, the band has honed its ZZ Top-fondling-Black Sabbath sound to a razor sheen on Balls Out Inn (cover featuring a landmark with which Austinites and touring bands will be quite familiar). With Pinkus' scratch-acid singing at the vanguard, "Undertaker," "Walkin' on Moonshine" and "Plugs, Mugs, and Jugs" are as polished as possible for such a dirty bunch. Bits of slide and acoustic guitars and fiddle break up any threat of monotony, and Pinkus' big rawk hooks hit hard and fast. Take a room at the Balls Out Inn and find out what Austin decadence is all about.
Michael TolandAugust 7th, 2005highbias.com
DAREDEVIL MAGAZINE (Germany)
Yeeeehaw... This is the first time I hear of Honky and also the first time I listen to their music... Honky just f**ing rocks. I thought after bands like Five Horse Johnson, Halfway To Gone and White Cowbell Oklahoma... "ok, that?s it!", but I was wrong. Honky goes in the same vein like the named bands just with more dirt in their music. I really dig the vocals of J.D.... awesome... really groovy, laid back, but also damn rough and whiskeysoaked. Here and there they?ve packed some female backround vocals in their tunes and it sounds so good... a bit like White Cowbell Oklahoma... This is Wild-West Country Heavy-Metal at it?s best and if you dig the before named bands you defnetly dig Honky with their countrydelic sound. Check it out... these guys rock your balls out!!!
Honky is a band of intelligent, sleazed-out, crazed practitioners of 70s-inspired, southern scabies rock, the kind that sings of weed, booze, and demented sex, punctuated with bucketloads of riffs and lovely distortion. They come by that 70s inspiration honestly; far be it from them to crib from CD reissues or worn vinyl records from their parent's collection, nossir! These dudes are old enough to remember the real thing, back when cigarette lighters were raised in salute through clouds of sweet smoke to applaud the original Skynyrd lineup on another rendition of 'Free Bird.'
Well, a couple of them are old enough anyway. The band is led by ex-Butthole Surfer J.D. Pinkus, complemented by Bobby Ed Landgraf and tub-beater Kenny Wagner, late of southern-fried stoners Halfway to Gone and 60 Watt Shaman. Their music is a twisted update on classic southern tuneage such as ZZ Top, Molly Hatchet, Marshall Tucker, and (gasp!) early 90s Butts. You'll hear more contemporary sounds as well, including...uh...ZZ Top, Iron Boss, Raging Slab, and Taildragger. This is big, brawling, straightforward music for women to shake their butts to while their boyfriends down another draw. Album highlights include the ZZ Top-ish 'Good Pipe, the old school - and demented - Texas blues of 'I Like the Way you Have Fun,' and the album's best tune, 'Walkin' on Moonshine,' also included as a video. Guests such as Big Sugar's slide guitarist Gordie Johnson provide lots of musical spice.
It's easy to picture these guys as perpetually hung over, crusty and grinning. Fortunately, there's enough experience and chops between 'em to elevate this disc above the level of musical booze and poo jokes to which it could so easily sink. They've got the experience and know-how to serve up a mess of solid tuneage, and they don't hesitate to do so. Imagine if Led Zeppelin had a sense of humor about themselves! Now you've got a pawty!!
Kevin McHughJuly, 18th 2005Hellridemusic.com
˘Hey what you smoking? Got enough for me?÷
So goes the greasy, filthy ˘Love to Smoke Your Weed,÷ the lead track from TexasĂ Honky. Balls Out Inn, their third release, is 130 proof rock of the ugliest order, distilled from sleaze and hard living.
At itĂs strongest, such as on the first three tracks, ˘Undertaker,÷ ˘LookinĂ Green,÷ and ˘White Knuckle Pass,÷ itĂs southern stomp hillbilly rock, the type of shit that just swings and grooves. The trio - ex-Butthole Surfer J.D. Pinkus (bass, vocals), Bobby Ed Landgraf (guitar) and Halfway to GoneĂs Kenny Wagner (drums) - bust out warped country-blues-punk-rock, a sort of degenerate nephew to ZZ Top. TheyĂve got a talent for both full throttle and low key, as with the ˘on the road÷ themed ˘Broken Days.÷ With that song, they augment the guitar, bass, and drums with some stellar female backing vocals. Elsewhere thereĂs some fiddlinĂ and Hammond organ (a prerequisite for any good record, it seems).
ThereĂs really only one sour note. ˘TresspassinĂ,÷ for all of its surly attitude, doesnĂt go anywhere, and in the end comes off as a laundry list of things Pinkus wants you to avoid (yard, world, girl, etc).
HonkyĂs Balls Out Inn is some mighty fine shit kicker rock. Above and beyond the usual, and well worth your time.
John PegoraroJuly, 2005StonerRock.com