Dash Rip Rock – Hee Haw Hell

Dash Rip Rock
Hee Haw Hell

There are bad albums that are all out bad. Bad in in every conceivable way; music, lyrics, packaging, intention. Then, there are bad albums that are good. Albums so purposely treacherous that it becomes good, if not great. Few bands dare to make entire albums, let alone careers with this trick but leave it to Louisiana’s Dash Rip Rock to try. So where does Hee Haw Hell fit? Well, somewhere in between.

Loosely based, and I do mean loosely based, on The Inferno, DRR has created a beast of an album relating the circles of Hell to southern living. Each song is introduced with a Tom Waits like spoken word piece setting up the next song. At 13 songs, (surely that was intentional) this trick gets tiresome but in this digital music age that’s no longer a problem.

As concept albums go it also features appearances from Jello Biafra, Mojo Nixon, and the Upper Crust. Each play an appropriate role in this tale of debauchery but it goes to show how far Biafra has fallen from being an outspoken left wing punk legend to not only signing DRR to his label but appearing on their albums. Almost like Puff Daddy but far more original.

For the songs themselves, well, that’s where things get kind of confusing. It’s difficult to tell if DRR is trying to be as juvenile as possible or if they really just write songs like this. “MOAF,” which in case you’re really wondering, stands for “mother of all fuckers,” is just all out embarrassing; a 7th grader wet dream masked as a song writing composition. “Chariots Of Hellfire” is another bad one, relating tales of bestiality and incest; again it isn’t clever, just embarrassing.

What does work is the fact that the songs are the perfect blend of punk recklessness and an homage to southern rock. “Southern Rain” is one of the more memorable numbers and “Punk Rock Never Happened” name checks the punk greats from The Ramones to The Sex Pistols, even mentioning Wendy O. Williams for the 2nd time. Clearly their minds are in the right places even though it’s not always the part of the body that writes the songs. Perhaps it’s “Fall Down Go Boom” that best encapsulates the album; drinkin’, druggin’, party till you puke. Hee Haw Hell works best when you’re in the midst of all 3 and have no plans to stop.

As a whole it’s a fairly entertaining work with occasional moments of utter stupidity but I’ll give Dash Rip Rock the benefit of the doubt and say they know how bad of an album it is and met every ridiculous goal they set for themselves. Which is what makes it good.