Wammo gives the Asylum Street Spankers (one of the coolest roots bands around) their rougher, rocking edge. His new solo CD is, among other things, a very good rock album, with a worldview and sense of humor that will be familiar to Spankers fans but a sound that couldn’t be much more different.
Some of it is funny and clever (not unexpected if you know the Spankers). Some of it just plain rocks. Some songs, like “Success Pool” “Save Me,” and “Siren Scream” might lead you to imagine that the great 1990s era of hard alternative rock was still happening but with the lyric-writing taken over by a funny, bitter, drunken pervert (or Captain Beefheart). In some of the music one hears echoes of Bush, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Rolling Stones, with plenty of scratchy heavy-metal guitar and general wackiness. “Mulletica” is a great spoof of you can probably guess what. The title track is exactly the mash-up that went on in my teenage head during the late 1970s before mash-ups had been invented, and “Beer” is a Green Jellö-style remake of the Spankers’ classic ode to the quaff of the gods.
For a well-executed mix of goofball and straight-ahead rock, Wammo is hard to beat. This lyric from “Whiskey Love Song” sums up what one might call the Wammo Way pretty well:
Like a girl scout on a Harley
A superhero on the john
Like a Steinway in a dumpster
I’ll sing you my whiskey love song