by Fred Mills
It was real generous of Ted Nugent, upon hearing that Lance Bass had gotten his space-flight buzz unceremoniously shaved, to offer the ’NSyncer a primer in bow-hunting, critter-skinning and flesh-gnawing. At a mere $1 million, it’s a bargain compared to the $20 million Bass needed to ante up for the Russkies. Hell, the Nuge even said he’d throw in a few guitar lessons gratis — which, considering that Bass’ main gig is withering faster than you can say “strokeswhitestripeshives,” might not be a bad idea, kinda like a rapper studying up to get his GED between skits.
What, you ask, does this have to do with Pennsylvania’s dynamite monster-boogie kings Raging Slab? Well, the mental image of Nugent and his boy-band apprentice getting all sweat-lodgey is more than just a little unsettling (although it’d be neat to see Bass kitted out in a loin cloth and deer tail). Concentrate on the music, we advise, and there’s no better place for Bass to get his first-hand lesson, probably for a lot less than a million clams, than with the Slab. Like Nugent, they have their own farm tucked way out in the middle of nowhere where they can crank it to “11.” Unlike St. Ted, they’ve no doubt got barrels of Jack Daniel’s and bong bowls the size of Justin Timberlake’s pumpkin-shaped head. That farm is where they recorded their second Tee Pee album, their sixth overall (three of which were on majors) since 1987’s brilliant sci-fi/comix-themed debut Assmaster. This time around they’re proudly wearing their influences on their sleeves, including having cover art that’s a dead-on homage to the first Lynyrd Skynyrd album sleeve (hence the odd parenthetical title). The record kicks off with a thunderous cover of Todd Rundgren’s “Little Red Lights” (from Something/Anything), a thrilling 4-minutes’ worth of adeptly drawn riffage that at last makes the underlying connection with Todd’s proto-metal anthem “Black Maria” (also from S/A) explicit. Up next is some straight-up Grand Funk/ZZ Top-styled boogie titled, appropriately, “Boogalooser.” That’s followed soon enough by the Jim Dandy white-trash blooze of “Ruby” (dedicated to the late Black Oak Arkansas/Grey Ghost vixen Ruby Starr), a feral slice of Skynyrdesque tandem-axe rawk called “Chrome Won’t Get You Home” and a lumbering, monster marriage of Mountain and Humble Pie (“When The Cock Crows” — Greg Stryzempka doing his best Leslie West and Steve Marriott vocal impressions to boot). It’s a potent brew. In short, a crash-course in rock ’n’ roll 101.
And I betcha that if the Nuge ever needs a new backing band, a quick call to the Slab will do the trick. They have hair down to their butts and wear lots of leather and fur, and they’ve definitely got the chops. Not to mention the kind of broad-ranging appreciation for rock ’n’ roll’s so-called rich tapestry that extends backwards well past the first broadcast of “Total Request Live.” Are you listening, Mr. Bass?
E-mail Fred Mills at email@example.com.