Bikers Welcome Ladies Drink Free by Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters (13th Planet Records)
Hearing the new album from Al Jourgensen (here going by Buck Satan) reminds me of the Blues Brothers movie when the band ends up at the backwoods hick club where they play both kids of music: country and western. The band somehow pulls off satisfying the customers by playing the short list of songs that vaguely relate to country music. Now imagine industrial rock godfather Al Jourgensen, frontman of Ministry coming up to a few rock’n’roll friends and saying “I’d like to put a country band together.” Well, Al, I mean Buck, got his wish.
Bikers Welcome Ladies Drink Free is a title that sets the mood for a bunch of songs that go from sounding like a country version of Ministry to an honest to god honky tonk band. Buck recently had surgery on a longtime health concern, then went to rehab. He’s lived a long and hazardous life and the songs are all about drinking and drugs and screwing and having fun, the man knows what he’s singing about.
Buck sings in a slight twang about heroin and cocaine in opening song Quicker Than Liquour, Mike Scaccia plays a killer guitar solo. There’s some nice banjo picking at the beginning of What’s Wrong With Me and throughout, Buck growling about how he’s never fit into society. Drug Store Truck rides on a double time drum beat as Buck croons about the life of a trucker who must have the busiest life imaginable: the head of the KKK, a nighttime DJ, a firefighter, etc. There’s a wonderful bit of violin sawing in there too. The Only Time I’m Sober is When You’re Gone is a pitch-perfect swinging number with twangy vocals, twangy guitar and dirty violin that will put a smile on your face and a dance in your step. Cheap Wine Cheap Ramen is an anthem for poor musicians waiting for their royalties set to some amazing banjo and guitar playing, Buck bellowing about his record label woes. Friend of the Devil, while containing a stupid fast beat, contains smooth violin backing, well-placed guitar fills, banjo and a nostalgic feel like listening in on grandad’s favorite radio station. I Hate Every Bone in Your Body Except Mine is another song that wouldn’t sound out of place being played at the Palomino Club in the late 70’s, a slow rocker with gang-vocals and jokey lyrics that will have you downing your beer to get out on the dance floor.
Bikers Welcome Ladies Drink Free ends with Take Me Away, Buck sounding like he’s ready to go if the Big Guy says so. He’s died a few times and lived a full life, finally doing the album he’s wanted to do for a long time now. The 666 Shooters features guitarist Mike Scaccia (Ministry, Rigor Mortis), guitarist Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) and bassist Tony Campos (Static-X).
(Review by Bret Miller)