In the early 2000’s, there wasn’t much going on musically, at least for alternative rock and indie. Besides The White Stripes, it was a dry scene. I scoured Yahoo music, of all things, for hours looking for fresh music. Randomly I clicked on a band called Honky Toast, and they blew my skirt up! Headed out to the now mythical CD store and bought the album, “Whatcha Gonna Do Honky?”, and I devoured it. Then, nothing at all came from them again. Now I think it’s time to take another look at Honky Toast.
Honky Toast started off as a secondary project of the band Love Spit Love. The guys in the band are first rate, seasoned veterans: Eric Toast, Vocals (Honky Toast & Pisser), Frank Ferrer, Drums (Guns N’ Roses, Psychadelic Furs, Pisser), Richard Fortus, Guitar (Guns N’ Roses, Psychadelic Furs, The Compulsions), and bassist E.Z. Bake. They had one album only, “Whatcha Gonna Do Honky?” in 1999. Honky Toast was universally slammed by critics as being a joke and the album went nowhere. I believe that to write this band off as superficial and crappy does a disservice to the unaware listener. This is a quality band for those who like their music both rocking and playful.
The songs at first do make Honky Toast seem like a cartoon version of a rock band. They’re goofy, funny, irreverent parodies at first glance. ‘High School Burn Out’ and ‘I Wanna Be On Welfare” talk about the silliness of a cookie cutter band. However, go deeper and you’ll find so much more. ‘Alcoholic Mama’, ‘Wild-Eyed Girl’, ‘Don’t Try Cryin’, and ‘Love Bites’ are full of tales of woe and love. The blues is what ties it all together. ‘Hair In My Teeth Again’ has a sample from ‘House of the Rising Sun’. A sliding guitar that would make and blues band proud screams on ‘Shakin’ And A Bakin’. My first exposure to the band is still my favorite song on the album, ‘California’, and it was logically the choice for the single. Then, for pure batshit crazy, there’s ‘Scared Boy’ and ‘Rocks Off’. Together, the album is a good fit for people who don’t take their music seriously, or need to lighten up.
You can still find Honky Toast playing a random concert around New York. Maybe if you’re lucky you can catch them. Good luck.
“Whatcha Gonna Do Honky?” can still be found on all streaming and online music outlets.