Garbage Truck of KISS Love

Suckface Benefit
with the Saddlesores, Jinn and the All-Star KISS Band
The Gate
Vancouver, B.C.
Thursday, November 27, 1997

Review by Darren Kerr

This shindig was held to benefit the production of Suckface, a homespun B-movie about a guy who gains supernatural strength by dressing up like Gene Simmons in order to find his missing mother. They showed us some clips from the film (featuring, incidently, a few members of Black Diamond, Todd Kerns from Age of Electric and Mik from Jinn), and it looks like it's gonna be a highly entertaining piece of low-budget cinema!

The All-Star KISS Band was equally entertaining. This was the way I like tribute bands: with fuckups, laughter and lots of heart. The band was anchored by Kurt and Benny from Black Diamond -- Vancouver's world-famous KISS cover band -- who were having a ball without all the heavy KISS costume trappings (I lost count of how many times Kurt cracked up during the set). It was good to see Benny wielding an Iceman guitar with the cracked mirror finish. I prayed for one of those for years.

Other All-Stars in the band included members of Brundlefly, Damn the Diva, Ten Days Late, as well as Todd and Kurt from Age of Electric. Jorj from the Cowards racked up all kinds of playing time in the Gene Simmons position, and except during a version of "I Love It Loud" (which was bloody hilarious), he performed this task very admirably.

The band played great renditions of "Deuce," "Parasite," "Shout It Out Loud" and "God of Thunder," as well as "Christine Sixteeen," which was jokingly declared "sacrilege." The finale was, of course, "Rock and Roll All Night," which saw the stage full of Suckface people.

You know, in California, musicians get together all the time to put on tribute nights -- Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick, the Misfits, Black Flag, you name it. It builds camaraderie and is a wonderful excuse for a booze-up. We need this kind of thing more often.

Back to the "real" bands. Jinn took the stage next to a computer-voiced intro tape. Rather than pick one cohesive stage image, the guys in Jinn decided to look like individual freaks. The guitarist wore a gargantuan black feathered boa, which complemented lipstick seemingly applied by Helen Keller. The keyboardist could have been one of the El Santos, as he was dressed like a luche livre wrestler. The singer meanwhile out-tufted Prodigy's Keith Flint with four patches of hair trying to escape his head. With all this gift-wrapping screaming out for mad props, they must've been great, right? Far from it.

Jinn were thick and meaty, but tasteless and hookless -- a tale of sound and fury signifying nothing. Nowhere songs were fueled by somewhere riffs and anchored by excellent pounding drum fills. The singer was having some kind of plasticene flashback, trying to reshape his face with one hand, while dicking around with effect pedals that really didn't feel like affecting anyone. The overall sound was a cross-pollination of Prodigy-like industrogrind and Perry Farrell helium prophet. They have the potential to be something powerful if they would concentrate on songwriting and drop the messiah act. The music world has too many bloody messiahs.

Yee-haw! I haven't heard a guitar storm like "Garbage Truck of Love" since witnessing the Gun Club plowing through "For the Love of Ivy." The band is the Saddlesores, and they are a rollicking ride through Trashabilly Junction with a corn liquor fed Johnny Cash gripping the reins. They've got the sharp-dressed cowboy thing down, with Nudie-ish shirts and the guitarist's fur jacket. They went from Rev. Horton Heat type rave-ups to George Jones-y ballads with ease. "Pioneer Song" was a clever reworking of Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," with the bombastic intro riff giving way to hoedown verses.

Sadly, I had to dash for the last Skytrain, so I missed the last half of the band's set. Excellent band, here, folks. Don't let the western tag scare y'all, now, y'hear!

First published in Drop-D Magazine on January 25, 1998

Index | Search | E-mail | Info | Copyright

Considering copying some of the images from this story?
Please read this first. Thanks.