Cheater Slicks

Whiskey (NEW LINK)

One of America’s most unsung rock n’ roll bands, the Cheater Slicks have flown under most folks’ radar during their twenty years of existence. Sure, they garnered some attention when Jon Spencer produced and contributed to their Don’t Like You album, but only garage rock aficionados have been their “largest” supporters. Don’t Like You wasn’t even close to their best effort, but Whiskey, their debut for In the Red, should’ve been the one that opened more eyes to the raw power of their music. Many of Whiskey’s songs make it clear that the band was enamoured with the Sonics, Stooges and the the great singles compiled on the Nuggets, Back From the Grave and Killed by Death series. They weren’t down with the fruity “Incense and Peppermints” style of psych, but the primal hate and aggression of “The Witch.”

Before their signing to In the Red, the band’s music was fairly great if you were in the mood for sloppy, aggressive punk, but lacked a certain je nai se quois, but they sure found their goddamn quois on this one. Prior to Whiskey, their ranks included GG Allin’s brother Merle, who wore dresses during live performances. However, the addition of Dana Hatch, a friend of Half Japanese and one-time member of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy’s live unit, solidified their ranks and pushed them into more experimental territory.

Even if the rest of this album was a hunk of schlocky schtick, it would still remain a classic for one song. By the way, the whole thing is pretty essential. “Thinkin’ Some More” is a twenty-seven minute tour de force that deserves to stand alongside the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray” for sheer rock n’ roll brilliance as it begins as a straightforward garage punk shitstorm and coalesces into a fecal typhoon. The word “jam” seems like an oxymoron when applied to punk, but this is one hell of a punk jam session where all members play the holy hell out of their instruments and become psychedelic masters on par with Hawkwind, Major Stars and other heavy lifters. One of the best rock albums of the 90s.