Looking Out for #1

Bad Wizard's non–stoner rock.

Bad Wizard's name comes from a mush-mouthed liquor-store clerk's transliteration of Budweiser—a phonic rupture coincidentally approximating the difference between the band's music and name- and label-inferred stoner rock. It's as if a band called themselves Los Narcotrafficantes Renegados de Sinaloa then did odes to la migra. More House of Pain than Cypress Hill, Bad Wizard do for Urge Overkill what AC/DC did for the Rolling Stones. If they used the empties to start chasing dragons, I might be more qualified to review them, because I'm scared of real-life working-class people, who generally prefer beer.

On the new #1 Tonight (TeePee), "Get Up and Move" features a Powerage-type verse and a Flick of the Switch–type chorus; it also reminded me of Keel a bit. "Teachin' Blues" is a Bob Seger cover like "Her Strut" by the Hellacopters, that band where the lead singer sounded like Paul Stanley. (Their albums sounded like his solo album.) Kiss were on Casablanca, the greatest label of its day. Appropriately, BW's "Helpin' Hand" has congas; it sounds like the stuff on side two of Kiss' Unmasked. (People hate that album, but it's got some good Gene songs on it. "Talk to Me" is the best Ace song there, but the best Paul song is by Gerard MacMahon. Imagine if Unmasked had included an Eric Carr song just to fuck with people.)

"Helpin' Hand" is also like late-'70s Candido except that Curtis Brown, BW's lead singer, is better at doing ballads. "Wizard of Shackles" would have made Simple Minds' Sparkle in the Rain an even better record if it had replaced "Shake Off the Ghost." It wouldn't have fit as well on New Gold Dream, though. Simple Minds had wicked cool instrumentals. "WoS" is like if they had "Theme for Great Cities"–type music over "The American"–type rhythm. I'm gonna have to try getting stoned to a Simple Minds record. Except that'll have to wait until I get one of those ventilator devices, because for the purposes of doing research for this review, I bought a sack of grow-op bud and moved into my parents' basement to smoke it for three months and the smell really pisses them off enough for them to threaten to evict me, and now I find out Bad Wizard aren't even a stoner band! The best song on #1 Tonight is the title song, because it features a steal from "When Electricity Came to Arkansas," except it doesn't sound as much like the Happy Mondays.


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